Mom’s Memories 2

I was recently reading one of my favorite blogs, Marian’s Roots and Rambles. Her article was about “Any Sailors in the Family.”  I was a sailor, did 10 years active duty in the US Navy, but more interesting, I learned recently that my mother was a sailor as well.  She mentioned that somewhere or another she had gotten “seaman’s papers.” (I’ll have to look and see if I can figure out how to get a copy of them.)  She worked on a ferry boat on the Great Lakes.  In the early 1950’s she cooked aboard the SS Milwaukee Clipper. The ‘Clipper was an auto/train car (and passenger) ferry that ran between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She cooked and baked in the breads department and lived shipboard a season.  Of course, I was astonished and amazed.  It provided her with a place to stay (albeit cramped), meals, and money to send back to her mother to support me.  I had no idea.

By Boston Public Library [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

I went on to find out that the S. S. Milwaukee Clipper is still in existence. The ‘Clipper is a National Historic Landmark and dockside in Muskegon, Michigan. Their website explains a lot about the ship and its history. Built in 1904 as the Junita she was sold and completely overhauled in 1940, where a new steel superstructure was installed, she was fireproofed, had AC installed to the staterooms, and other comforts were added. I am sure that the crew quarters were tight.

Anyway, it was a fascinating side trip into a bit of my mother’s history that I had no idea about.

Webinar Review: Your Civil War Ancestors

I’ve been enjoying the free webinars put on
by Legacy Family Tree.  Last week I
watched my third one and was quite pleased. 
Michael Hait’s webinar was, “Your Civil War Ancestors:
Beginning Your Research.” I thought I knew quite about my civil war ancestors,
but Michael’s webinar added some new areas of research for me.  Of course I knew about the indexes of the
Civil War Pension indexes, but I had no idea of the depth of information that
might be available when a pensioner applied. 
Although ordering the information may be expensive, the wealth of
information surpasses what I might have thought possible. 
Certainly Mr. Hait
reminded me of the vast number of photos and drawings available at the Library of Congress Civil War site. Adding photos of related events can and will
make some of the boring bits of story come alive. His talk also reminded me
that Google has a vast number of books that are indexed and searchable.  Many of those books include detailed
descriptions of specific Civil War Regiments. 
My wife’s G-Grandfather fought with Lee’s Army from near the beginning
of the war through to Appomattox and my side fought for both the Union and the
Confederates in Kentucky regiments.
He did mention a site
that I hadn’t thought of for civil war records, the National Park Service Civil War Records.  Certainly
an excellent source for information on various regiments, battles, and letters.
Mr. Hait’s delivery style was a bit uninspiring but his material and his understanding of the material was excellent.  Would I buy the CD? Maybe
not at $12.95 (regular price), but certainly I would love to see it combined in
a package with some other Webinars.  I
highly recommend listening to the webinar before the 5th  of November (while it is still free). The Legacy Family Tree Webinars are well worth following and keeping an eye out for topics that fit your needs.  I’ve even put a couple of their items onto my Yuletide wish list, so, hopefully, I’ll be getting some of them.

Mom’s Memories

Sometimes talking with elderly family members can yield lots of information that is confusing and difficult to figure out.  There are nuggets of really interesting information that can make the family history interesting; but, places or times aren’t quite right.

I was talking with my mother some time ago and she mentioned that back in the early 50’s she worked at “Kreskee’s” at 5th and Marquette in Minneapolis. A little bit of searching and some memory work of my own,  and I figured out she worked at S. S. Kresge’s which was at 6th and Nicollet (2 blocks away).  Kresge’s was known for it’s “donut counter” which is where my mother worked. At the time I was an infant staying with my grandmother up at Little Rock Lake. My mother would hitch-hike to the city about 80 miles away. Work in the city during the week and then return on the weekends.

 

S.S. Kresge about 1958.  Office Depot resides in the same location today.
I can’t tell if it is the same building with a total facelift or if it is a new building.  I suspect it is the same building with a major facelift. I found it really interesting to learn that S.S. Kresge was the predecessor of K-Mart. Some of the Kresge stores became “Jupiter Discount Stores” and others converted to K-Mart. I guess I had thought Kresge had just vanished.     
She also worked at a Woolworth’s in St. Cloud (which apparently no longer exists). I need to do some more research on it.
She mentioned working at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. She remembered that it was a long and deep restaurant next door on the right of movie theater. She said she couldn’t remember the name of either the theater or the restaurant.  In follow-up discussions with her, she recalled that the theater was on the left as you headed towards the river, was at about 4th and Hennepin.  A bit of research and I figured that it must have been the Palace Theater. I found a photo of the Palace Theater but can’t quite make out the name of the restaurant. It appears that the theater and the restaurant were torn down about 1953, “to make way for a parking lot.” 
The Palace Theater – About 1929 and Today
Surprisingly the Brass Rail is still there and the parking lot is there today.  
Beyond it you can see the “Gay 90’s.”  I mentioned it as potentially being the restaurant she worked at but she indicated that wasn’t it.  
She didn’t work at Kresge’s or that restaurant long but she did worked to earn money to support me, even if it meant being absent for a while. I am really proud of her and the efforts she took.

The Life and Travels of Peter Howell by Himself

This week I began research on the Howell Family Tree (my wife’s).  I had very little on her grandfather, a bit more on his father (who was in the Civil War) and very little about his father Peter Howell.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, her grandfather, went by his initials most of the time. I knew he was a Baptist preacher in North Carolina. So I started searching Baptist records in North Carolina just searching for “Howell” and not his first name, nor his initials, just “Howell.”  Suddenly a WOW!  Up popped a book, “The Life and Travels of Peter Howell”.  My wife’s great and her 2nd great grandfathers were both named Peter Howell.  Could this be the same Peter Howell.  Found the book was at a library in Raleigh reference section.  I then searched around for the title elsewhere and found it at archive.org, which is a must site for your searches.  I downloaded the files and began to read.  It was the right one, born 1805, married to Caroline Pankey, lived in Virginia…. it was the right Peter Howell.

The first page was a bit of a disappointment, he mentions his birthdate (which we didn’t have before) but not his parent’s names.  He spent his adult life as an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town preaching in people’s homes, at court houses, at Methodist and Baptist churches, even on occasion at quaker meeting halls, masonic temples and a Catholic Church. He walked almost everywhere putting on over two thousand miles walking in one year preaching at hundreds of places.  He describes town, buildings, such as the Virginia and North Carolina State Houses, as well as places like Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.  He mentions churches,  and most importantly people throughout his travels. Sadly, he mentions very little about his personal life or his family, but the book does provide a wonderful insight into the life of a itinerate preacher of the 1840’s.

He seldom ever mentions his two daughters.  He does correct one name Lousianna (I had Laurana previously) but never mentions the name of his second son nor his second daughter. He confirmed the name of his first son and, in the book, corrects the name I had for his youngest child.  More importantly, he provides county information for his parents, marriage information for a sister, and the names and living locations for a couple brothers that I had no information about.

It took many hours to go through the book, determine genealogically interesting information, and incorporate them and the source references into my tree.  

Of course one of the greatest finds in the book was a drawing of the author, Peter Howell (b. 1805).

Y-DNA – Post2: The Test, Results, & Roberts Connection

I
was really excited to get the test. I did the cheek swabs and sent it back the
following day.  Then the long wait – It
seemed like months, but was probably only a few weeks.  I don’t recall when I sent the swab in, but
in November, 2008, I receive the results. 
They determined I am haplogroup R1b – who Ancestry calls “The
Artisans”.  Basically, they are the folks
from what is now the British Isles, France, and the Iberian Peninsula.  No surprise there, I always figured I was of
Northern European decent as I my skin is quite light, I was blond as a kid, and
had a lot of red in my beard as a young man. (It is grey now.)
Then
the click to see matches.  My closest
match was a person with whom I shared a common ancestor 10 generations ago. His
last name was “Roberts.”  Assuming there
weren’t any sideways name changes (like mine), it might be that I was fathered
by someone with the surname of Roberts. 
Now, I could tie my ancestry to a possible name.  Of course, in my excitement of finding a
possible connection I didn’t realize that over 10 generations there were likely
thousands of male offspring.  Although he
had 11 generations of male ancestors in his tree, if I started at that tenth
generation ancestor and each generation had two boys, then there would be over
2000 potential father candidates, assuming I could follow each of the
lines.  It became dejecting but I hoped
to persevere in the long rum.  I
connected with Mr. Roberts and exchange trees with him to this day.  Ancestry has updated their database and he
now shows as sharing a common ancestor with me 14 generations ago.
Another
two men with the surname Roberts have shown up as sharing a common ancestor
within 10 generations.  I haven’t
contacted them yet but probably will do so in the near future.    
Then
the most amazing thing occurred.  A
person popped into the DNA matches with whom our MRCA (most recent common
ancestor) is only 3 generations away. 
Wow!  He too is a Roberts.  Finally someone who’s tree I can work with to
determine a possible father.  I contacted
him and he agreed to share trees with me. Of course, Ancestry’s MRCA
determination isn’t quite a clean as you might think.  It is really complicated, but basically there
is a 50% chance that this person and I share a common ancestor within 3
generations.  I looked at his tree
closely, nothing jumped out at me, no one lived in the right city at the right
time.  More importantly, none of his
three ancestor generations could be candidates nor any of their offspring.  So, based upon his known tree, I’ve begun a
Roberts Notional tree wherein I’m going back to his fourth, fifth, and sixth
ancestral generations then following each of the male offspring looking for
someone who might be the right Roberts at the right place and time.  I’m afraid I might need to wait another 10
years until the 1950 census comes out to find out the answer.  Certainly, the family tree can wait a few
more years.
Next – My Brother-in-law’s DNA Test & Results