Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Engeline Christine Petersen

(This week's entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Engeline was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on 9 March 1855.  The next nineteen years of Engeline's life are a complete mystery to me.  On 30 May, 1874 Engeline married Niels Christian Nielsen by Rev. Julius Bauch at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor, Ottawa, Ohio.

Very soon after their marriage Engeline and Niels moved west.  Their daughter, Katherine, was born in Mt. Eden, Alameda, California in November of 1875.  Another daughter, Caroline, was born in 1879.

At the time of the 1880 US Census, the family was still in Mt. Eden where Niels worked as a laborer.  The following year Caroline died.  Two months after Caroline's death, Engeline had another daughter, also named Caroline or Carolyn.  Four years later, daughter Lillian completed the family.

29 February 1932, Oakland Tribune
At the time of the 1900 US Census, the family is still in Eden with Niels farming.  It is the first time where Engeline mentions her year of arrival in the US, 1871 (the is also the year she gives in the 1910 US Census).

By 1910 the family had left Eden for the city of Alameda, where they lived at 2702 Central Ave.  Niels is no longer in farming, instead he is a foreman for the salt works.  In 1918, Engeline's daughter Katherine, died.

The family is still in Alameda for the 1920 US Census, living at 1508 Alameda Ave.  Niels is a laborer for the city by now.

The 1930 US Census would be Engeline's last.  They were living at 1626 Versailles Ave. in Alameda.  Engeline died two years later.

I've actually done a good amount of research on Engeline but don't have much to show for it.  I'd love to know who her parents were, where she was from, when exactly she did come to the US, why she went to Ohio, why she went to California, and any other piece of information I can gather.  It isn't as if Engeline's paper trail didn't leave me a lot of clues.  I just haven't been able to do much with those clues, which are:
  • Engeline's obituary mentions two sister, Celia Catharina Petersen Claussen and Christina Patrina Petersen Strauss.  I have researched them in depth.  They also went to Ottawa County, Ohio before moving to Alameda Co., California.  However, they arrived at later times than Engeline.
  • When Celia and her family arrived their last residence is given as Dageb├╝ll.
  • Both Oak Harbor/Benton Twp. and Mt. Eden had thriving Danish communities at the time.  It is likely that Engeline and Niels had relatives in both place.  However, I have researched some of the Petersen families in Ottawa Co., Ohio and found no connection to Engeline or her sisters.
  • The cemeteries for the various family members seem to have been popular with the Scandinavian community but I haven't been able to connect any of them to Engeline or her family.
Engeline was my third great-grandmother through her daughter, Katherine.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Elizabeth Asay Shinn

Another Elizabeth I know very little about is Elizabeth Asay Shinn.  Her parents were reportedly John Asay and Jane Shreve.  I've also seen the name spelled Easy or Esay.

Elizabeth was born around 1785 in New Jersey.  I've seen her birth location given as Springfield Twp. or Mansfield Twp., in any case she was probably born in Burlington County.

Elizabeth and John Shinn married on 1 November 1809 in Monmouth Co.  The following year their first child, John Irick, was born.  Elizabeth and John would go on to have nine known children in all: John Irick, Mary Anne, Charlotte, Jane, Sarah, Hannah, John R., Edith and Jacob Asay.

In 1840, Elizabeth's husband died.  Elizabeth, who seems to have spent her married life (at least) in Mansfield Twp., was enumerated in the household of her daughter Hannah in Chesterfield in the 1850 US Census.  By the 1860 US Census, Elizabeth was back in Mansfield living with daughter Sarah (daughter Edith lived next door).  She died there in July of 1863.

Elizabeth is buried in the Upper Springfield Friends Burying Ground in Wrightstown, Burlington, New Jersey.

There is a lot about Elizabeth I don't know (obviously) but I'd love to learn more.  One thing in particular I've always wondered about is whether she kept in touch with her son, John R., after he went to California during the Gold Rush.  It seems likely that they didn't because the only mention of John R. in the book The History of the Shinn Family in Europe and America is that he "moved to California."

Elizabeth was my 4th great-grandmother through her son, John R. Shinn.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Elizabeth Clemens Allen

(My entry in this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

This sketch will be short indeed because I know so little about the subject.  What I do know is that Elizabeth was born in Ireland (probably Northern Ireland) some time between 1827 and 1832.  Her parents were James and Mary and she had at least two siblings, Jane and John, and likely a third, Mary.

The ship Pioneer arrived in Philadelphia from Londonderry, Ireland in May of 1847.  On board, I believe, were Elizabeth's family, minus her and James.  In any case, the family was in the US by 1850 and Elizabeth was married to Joseph Allen.

The Clemens/Allen family in the
1850 US Census
They resided in the Shenango Twp. area of Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania where Elizabeth's father was a "watchman" and her husband a teamster.

Also in 1850, Elizabeth and Joseph had their first known child, James.  Two year later they had another son, Joseph T.

In 1855, daughter Mary C. was born.  Mary gave Pittsburgh as her birth place.  I do not know if the family did indeed relocate to Pittsburgh or if this is an error and she was born in Lawrence Co. like the her older siblings.  I tend to think this is wrong as Mary's brother, Robert, was born in New Castle, Lawrence, Pennsylvania in 1857.

By 1860, the family had moved to Weathersfield, Trumbull, Ohio.  Joseph worked as a farm laborer and might also have owned land (albeit briefly) in Weathersfield.  Daughter Catherine was born that same year, followed by daughter Elizabeth five years later.

In 1866, Catherine died and son John Grant Allen was born three years later.  The 1870 US Census is the last record Elizabeth appears in, still in Weathersfield with her family.


When Elizabeth died I do not know.  Her family was still in Weathersfield by 1880, so it is likely she died there some time before then.  He daughter, Elizabeth, died in 1877.

Elizabeth was my third great-grandmother through her son, John Grant Allen.

(Elizabeth's maiden name was also spelled Clements, Cleymonds, and Clemmens.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: James Tock

James Tock was born in Alkborough, Lincolnshire, England on 12 July, 1818 to William and Elizabeth Tock.  He was the third of their six children and the only one of their three sons to reach adulthood.  James would grow up in Alkborough, where his family farmed.

On 14 June 1848 in nearby Burton-Upon-Stather, James married Martha Wadd.  The following year their first child, Mary Elizabeth Tock, was born, also in Burton-Upon-Stather.

On 2 June 1853, James, Martha and Mary arrived in Portland, Maine on the ship Gypsey.  They settled in Calais, Washington, Maine but also spent a lot of time across the river in St. Stephen, New Brunswick where they supposedly had family (a legend I have yet to confirm or debunk).  Daughters Martha Anne (1854), Sarah Jane "Sally" (1857) and Emma Sophia (1859) completed James and Martha's family.

When Emma was about two, her mother Martha died.  This left James to raise his four daughters alone.  Martha and Sarah were sent to live with a family in St. Stephen.  I do not yet know what happened with Mary and Emma during this time.

James remarried to Margaret Mowatt around 1865.  Two years later their son James Samuel Tock was born.  James and Margaret seem to have been separated by the 1871 Census of Canada, with Margaret and little James Samuel enumerated with Margaret's family and James no where to be found.  In any case, James and his daughters left Maine for California the following year.  He supposedly asked Margaret to come also but she refused so he left without her and their son.  Margaret and James Samuel would stay in the Calais/St. Stephen area but changed their name to Tuck.

James and his girls settled in San Joaquin Co., California.  Each of James' daughters married in the first few years of their arrival.  Daughter Martha Anne died in 1875 following the birth of her only child.

On 20 May, 1891 in San Joaquin Co., James died.  James' daughter, Emma Sophia, was my great-great-grandmother.