Might they be cousins?

Many years ago I was hanging around in the Navy barracks at Treasure Island and was chatting with another sailor. I mentioned I was from Minnesota and he said he had many relatives in northern Minnesota. I said, “Where ‘bouts.” And he said, “The Motley-Pillager area.” I said, “Really, that’s where my family is from.” Sure enough, after a bit more discussion, we learned that his mother was my grandfather’s youngest sister. We were first cousins, once removed.

A couple years ago my half-sister, who lives in Oregon, started dating a guy who was also from Oregon. In their discussions, they learned that he had family from Pillager, Minnesota, also. They laughed about it and started calling each other “cousin.” Not that they thought they were actually related, but they figured if both their families were in Pillager during the same years, it is likely that they must have known each other. The town only has 469 people, according to the 2010 census. Back in 1910, it only had 252 people,[i] so it is easy to suspect that someone in one family married someone in the other. So she asked me the obvious question – are she (a Brown) and her new beau (a Haywood) related?

The family of interest is George Edgar Heywood (or Haywood) and his wife Christina Catherine Hull. It appears that George and Christina came to Minnesota from Wisconsin about 1875 and had all 10 of their children in Minnesota. Several were born in Kandiyohi County, but most were born in Cass County in Township 133 (May Township (S)). Christina died in 1901 and it appears that the family moved out to Idaho shortly thereafter. In the 1900 census, George’s sister, Delia, shows in the as a schoolteacher. In the 1905 Minnesota census, she still shows up in Pillager, but by 1910 she and, apparently, the rest of the family had moved on. Most of the Heywood family moved to Idaho, but some moved to other places.

Family locations by year.

Kandiyohi Co., MN
Kandiyohi Co., MN
North Dakota
Pillager, Cass Co., MN
Cass Co. MN
Sylvan Township, Cass Co. MN
Note: Pillager is in Sylvan Township,
Pillager, Cass Co., MN
   next to May Township.
Pillager, Cass Co., MN
May Township, Cass Co. MN
Pequot Lakes, Crow Wing Co., MN
Note: about 25 miles
Pequot Lakes, Crow Wing Co., MN
North Dakota
Pillager, Cass Co., MN
Note: Delia only (Other gone).
Montana (Marian)
Texas (Delia)
Backus, Cass Co., MN
Sylvan Township, Cass Co., MN
The Browns moved from Cass county to North Dakota about 1896 and then back to Cass County about 1897. They then moved to Crow Wing County by 1901 and back to North Dakota by 1902. They moved back to Cass County, again, about 1916.Anyway, it appears that the Philips and Brown families were both in the Pillager area from about 1892 until about 1897.

It will take a while to go through all of the descendants of George and Christina and their siblings that lived in the area to see if there were any marriages between the families; however, it doesn’t look that way. I’m fairly certain my sister and her beau are much farther apart then that sailor I encountered so many years ago are.


[i] United States. Bureau of the Census – Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Population by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions 1910, 1900, 1890. Page 252 – https://books.google.com/books?id=T9HrAAAAMAAJ
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Bazsika: In the house of the pansy flower

by Jenne M. – Guest Blogger
My great-grandfather Ferenz Bazsika was born in Kerkatótfalu in Zala County, Hungary, although at the time it was part of the great Austria-Hungarian empire. According to family lore, he was scheduled to cross the Atlantic on the Titanic – but overslept. Instead, he emigrated on the President Lincoln, leaving from Hamburg on April 4, 1912. He was, according to passenger lists, a day laborer and a farmer. He had only $25 in his pocket and was described as 5 foot 6 with blond hair and gray eyes – a description that fits me quite closely, I might add, although my hair has darkened since my move up north, and I’m an inch taller.

Ferenz Bazsika 

His wife Mary and daughters Mary and Erzsebet followed a year later on the Saxonia, leaving from Fiume in Croatia. All had listed their last place of residence as Budapest. Elizabeth, as she was known in Perth Amboy, only lived in her new home for a few years before being struck by a cement truck at the age of 9. I’ve seen her grave, although it’s not listed on the Find A Grave website.

In pictures, Ferenz was tall, burly and fair – perhaps giving a hint as to his mixed heritage. His father, Joseph Bazsika, had married a woman of German/Austrian extraction, Agnes Hermann, a not unlikely scenario in a polyglot empire. They were likely farmers. Kerkatótfalu was itself a merged village, and called Teske in Croatian; it was only a few miles from the intersection of Hungary, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia, although the national borders have changed dramatically through time. Interestingly, Tótfalu means “Slovakville” in Magyar. The residents of the area likely would have been a mix of Slavs, Magyars and Germans.

As their surname implies, the Bazsikas weren’t originally from Kerkatótfalu; they would have been from Bazsi, located some miles above the northern shore of Lake Balaton. Bazsi, in the county of Veszprém, derives its name from the Slavic boža, or “peony.” It’s located in the hills of Bakony, and at the start of the Zala lowlands where the Bazsikas eventually moved – likely to farm. The village itself dates back to the 1700s.

Ferenz Bazsika and his wife, Mary or Maria, ran a candy store; he is listed in census reports as a confectioner. They had many daughters (Mary and Elizabeth, who traveled from Hungary, as well as Matilda and Eleanor) and two sons – the first, who bore an Americanized version of his father’s name, became my ill-starred grandfather.

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 Discover yourself at 23andMe 

Angley Project – Sarah Jones’ mother’s maiden name was Thomas

Today’s goal was a simple one — determine Sarah Jones’ mother’s surname as a part of my Angley Project.

I started with very little information. Sarah was born in October 1899 to James E and Catherine Jones. They lived in Edwardsville, Luzerne County, PA for many years.

The first step was to begin searching the 1900 Census. I really like the 1900 Census because it shows the month and year for the individual’s birth as well the number of years of the present marriage.  Two important identifying items.

Using Ancestry.com, I quickly found the couple in Edwardsville loving on Slocum Street. Not only did the record show daughter Sarah but also three other siblings, James E (who would be proven to be a Junior in the 1910 Census), Annie and Mary. The census showed James & Catherine were born in November 1869 and June 1872 respectively. It also showed they had been married for 10 years. So now, I had their birthdates and Marriage date.

Marriage Record – James E Jones
& Catherine Thomas – [ii]

Hoping for the easy look, I searched Ancestry.com and didn’t find a record fitting the criteria I had. I then went to Family Search and there they were. James was born on 2 November 1869 and Catherine was born on 22 June 1872. They were married on 21 October 1890[i]. All the pieces fit the and the goal was realized because the marriage record indicated her maiden name was Thomas.

As something of a side note, I noticed that the reverend W. D. Thomas married them. I wonder if there is a relationship there. Further research will tell.

The ultimate reason for this project is to find a common ancestor between two people’s trees who share a large segment of DNA. The comparison tree doesn’t have a Catherine Thomas in it, so we don’t have a match, yet. That said, the comparison tree does have other Thomas surnames living in Pennsylvania about 100 miles away at the same time. Therefore, the Thomas surname is definitely an area for further research.


[i] Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950, Family Search, James E Jones – Catherine Thomas. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VF4W-DB7.
[ii] Ibid.

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Jump Hunting and the Maine Register


Painting by Henry Thomas Alken
[Public domain]
My foster father, Duane Olson, took me hunting when I was in high school. He liked to “jump-shoot” ducks. He knew places where there were likely to be ducks. We would then stalk the ducks at those locations. Once we got close, we would “jump” the ducks into the air. We’d get a couple birds most every time.Often my genealogical efforts use the same method. First, it helps to know where the information might be. Then, I stalk the places and “bag” my information.

I was recently at a genealogical conference and saw a copy of the Maine Register. I was immediately struck with how useful the book could be. After I got home, I looked to see if there were on-line copies of the book. There were. I found three editions on Archive.Org:

Maine Register, State Year-Book and Legislative Manual

1887-1888 – https://archive.org/details/maineregisteror00donhgoog
1891-1892 – https://archive.org/details/maineregisteror01donhgoog
1912 – https://archive.org/details/maineregistersta00port

Maine Register #43 (1912)
Page opposite of 889

I don’t have many trees that have Maine roots, but I thought I’d take a quick and see if the Maine Register would shed light onto the families that I do have. I pulled up the 1912 edition to see what I could find. Sure enough – there were over twenty entries on a “Bickford” search and nearly as many for “Whitten.” Briefly looking at the search results, I saw noticed several known ancestors in the findings. I also found an interesting company, the Swan-Whitten-Bickford Co., wholesale grocers in Belfast[i]. I would speculate there must be some kind of connection between that company and the Whitten-Bickford marriage twenty-five years later.

Thanks to the Maine Register, I’ve jump-shot the ducks. Next, I need to clean them, and then cook them. (Document and interpret the findings.)

If you use the Maine Register, great! If you aren’t using it yet, I highly recommend adding it to your list of important sources to “jump shoot” when you are hunting for information on your Maine ancestors.

I’ll bet other states have them too.  If you know of a similar book for another state, please let me know by posting a comment below.

[i] Maine Register, State Year-Book and Legislative Manual – No. 43 – July 1912, Published by Grenville M. Donham, Portland, Maine, 1912. Accessed via Archive.org. (https://archive.org/details/maineregistersta00port)
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Donna – A “Cabaret Girl” in Panama.

We know that Grandpa Dick (Clifford/Richard Brown/Durand) was in the Army in the late 1920s and early 1930s and was stationed in Panama where he and Donna met. We don’t know exactly when Donna and her husband Sammy Amsterdam went to Panama, but we do know they left Panama and headed for the States in April of 1930. We are also fairly certain that they were estranged at the time. Donna and her three-year-old son, Russell, indicate their address was her mother’s in Detroit, while Sammy indicated that his address was his mother’s address in Brooklyn[i]. Family oral history has long held that Dick and Donna met in Panama and that Sammy and Donna split up because of Dick.
Donna Montran Darling
on Right
While I was researching Dick’s activity in Panama I encountered An American Legacy in Panama: a brief history of the Department of Defense installations and properties, the former Panama Canal Zone, Republic of Panama by Suzanne P Johnson; United States; Department of Defense; Legacy Resources Management Program; U.S. Army Garrison (Panama)[ii]. In An American Legacy… there is a photo of two “Cabaret Girls,” one of whom looks just like Donna. I talked with Russell and he agrees, it looks like Donna to him. The photo is also from the correct time and place that Donna would have been in Panama, and finally, it shows here in a bathing suit, something that Donna started being photographed in when she was eighteen. She also starred in several Bathing Suit Revues over the ensuing years (See Donna Montran).  
Family oral history also says that when Dick saw Donna in Panama, he told an army buddy that he was, “going to marry that girl.” Dick and Donna never married but they did have a child in January 1932. In any event, I consider this another photo of Donna. When I have a chance to visit the National Archives, I’ll do some more searching and see what additional information they may have about the “Cabaret Girls” of Panama

[i] Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.Original data – Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, R), iOS Application, http://www.iOS Application, Year: 1930; Arrival: , ; Microfilm serial: T715; Microfilm roll: T715_4710; Line: 1; List number:.
[ii] University of Florida Digital Collections; http::///uffdca.uflL.edu/i/AA00022175/00001

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