30 Years Ago Today

On May 15, 1983, thirty years ago today, my 2nd great grandmother, Lois Beatrice (Agee) Wellin (1897-1983) died at the age of 86 in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon.

Funeral Card of Lois (Agee) Wellin
Funeral Card of Lois (Agee) Wellin

Following her death, Lois was buried on May 20, 1983 in Skyline Memorial Gardens in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. She was buried next to her husband Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977), whom she married in 1914.

Headstone of Wilhelm & Lois Wellin
Headstone of Wilhelm & Lois Wellin

Lois and her husband Wilhelm had four children together, one of which was my paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985). Alice first married Theodore Alexander Lapham (1910-1955), with whom she had three daughters, one of which is my paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-2004).

Fearless Females Challenge: March 23 – Create a Timeline

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines.com. Post an image of it or a link.

For this challenge, I chose to create a timeline for Anna Elizabeth (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918), my 3rd great grandmother.

Anna’s life has always been interesting to me. At a young age her mother died and her father remarried. As a teenager, she ran away from home, ending up in Göteborg, where she had two children outside of marriage. Oral family tradition states that Anna was a maid in Göteborg, where she met and conceived at least one child, my 2nd great grandfather Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977), with “the King of Sweden” (possibly Gustav V). My research into Swedish records show that she was indeed a maid in Göteborg, which was a city that the Swedish Royal Family at the time frequently vacationed in. Of course, there is no evidence of a relationship between her and any member of the Swedish Royal Family. I discussed this family history mystery in a prior post, “Genealogy Challenge: Who Is Your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor?

Timeline for Anna (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918)
Timeline for Anna (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918)

The above timeline for Anna was captured from Family Tree Maker 2009, which I currently use. I own Family Tree Maker 2012, but have not yet made the switch. I have read online articles that state that FTM12 has the ability to create timeline reports, which FTM09 does not. The timeline, moreover, shows the major events in Anna’s life (in green), as well as major family events, including the births of spouses and children (in pink).

Fearless Females Challenge: March 18 – Shining Star

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

Although I have not yet found any female ancestor who was famous for her talents, I do have many women in my ancestry that were talented. Many of my female ancestors were very talented cooks, with many of their recipes being handed down for generations. This is particularly true for my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. My maternal grandmother, Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton (LIVING), her mother, Irene (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006), and her mother, Julia (Molnar) Balla (1885-1962) were all accomplished cooks, making all kinds of Hungarian dishes and desserts. This seems to have run in the family, given the fact that Julia’s sister, Elizabeth, was a professional chief in New York.

In addition to cooking, I have some female ancestors with artistic leanings. My paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-2004), was a talented artist. She enjoyed painting, particularly murals. In my grandparents home in California before they sold it, there was a large willow tree mural my grandmother painted. Sadly, no photos appear to exist of this. She also enjoyed drawing. I recall my father telling me that she drew portraits of several members of her family, including her mother. Additionally, several female ancestors were also talented in knitting, crocheting, and quilt/afghan making. My maternal great grandmother, Irene (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006), made many doilies, quilts or afghans, and other items. I have a few of them, including a pillow she made me.

I am not certain how many female ancestors in my ancestry were musically talented, but I do have at least one. My 2nd great grandmother, Lois Beatrice (Agee) Wellin (1897-1983), was talented at playing the piano, particularly the organ. She enjoyed playing for her family and guests at parties at their home in Portland, Oregon. I am told she loved to play songs like “Alley Cat” during these parties. 🙂

Although I already mentioned it in a previous post in this challenge, another talent of a female ancestor I uncovered is writing poetry. My 2nd great grandmother, Anna Margaret (Leishman) Lapham (1875-1951), wrote numerous Christian themed poems.

Fearless Females Challenge: March 17 – Social Butterfly?

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

While researching my family history, I have uncovered male ancestors involved in various social organizations, such as the Masons, the Elks, the Odd Fellows, etc. I have, however, found few female ancestors with records of involvement. I have had some that were involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution, though I am uncertain if they participated in any meetings. Apart from this, I do have some that were heavily involved in their churches. Apart from these. the closest I have found for my female ancestors include my paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), and my maternal grandmother, Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton (LIVING).

My paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), was employed during WWII as a welder for the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. In addition to this, she was a member of the International Brotherhood of Boiler Makers, Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America, which is a trade-union. Alice was initiated on October 1, 1943, and regularly payed her dues. While going through some items that belonged to her following the death of her daughter Marla, her membership and dues book was discovered. Presently, I do not know how actively involved Alice was apart from paying her dues, which was likely a required part of her employment as a welder.

Alice (Wellin-Lapham) Graber's International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers of America Membership and Dues Book
Alice (Wellin-Lapham) Graber’s International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers of America Membership and Dues Book

As for my maternal grandmother, Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton (LIVING), she was involved for many years with the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem, a Masonic social organization that was founded in 1893 and comprises both men and women. She joined this organization around the time her husband, Lee Hamilton, became a member of the Masons. Throughout her involvement with the organization, she served in the offices of Worthy Guide and Worthy Shepherdess in her local chapter.

Logo of The Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem
Logo of The Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem

 

Fearless Females Challenge: March 16 – Let’s Do Lunch!

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

For me, this challenge is a difficult one because I think that I would not mind having lunch with each of my female ancestors, if I could. I can only imagine the information and stories that they could share. However, I suppose I could answer this prompt in one of two ways.

First of all, I think I would like to have lunch with my female ancestors that passed away in my lifetime. This would particularly include my paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-), and my great grandmothers, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992), Pauline Katherine (Rains-Rowlands) Kernan (1913-1997), Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), Goldia “Goldie” Mae (Worthington) Hamilton (1912-2006), Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006). This luncheon would also include my only 2nd great grandmother that passed away in my lifetime, Lois Beatrice (Agee) Wellin (1897-1983).

An alternative luncheon would involve my immigrant female ancestors from my Kernan, Lapham, Hamilton, and Sebok lines, or the earliest known female I have in those lines if the immigrant ancestor is unknown. This would include Martha Rose (Sheridan) Kiernan (1797-?), Mary (Mann) Lapham (1640-1712), Jennie M. (Lightcap) Heldman (1872-1905), and Roza Mari (Peto) Sebok (1871-1937). It might also include other female immigrant/earliest ancestors, such as Anna Eliza (Backer-Stearns) Tice (1854-1919), Rebecca (Gibson) Stearns (1635-1698), Sarah (Spinney) Davis (1746-?), Mary Ann (Wys) Beeney (ca. 1784-1857), Ann (Forsyth) Leishman (1828-1896), Anna Elizabeth (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918), Anna Elizabeth (UNKNOWN) Lightcap (?-?), Alice (Taylor) Worthington (1662-1729), Elizabeth (Grant) Gifford (1615-1683), Eszter (Szabó) Balla (1857-1925), and Julia (Molnar) Balla (1885-1962).

In either set up, I don’t think we would go anywhere in particular. I think it would be at my parent’s home. I would want each of them to prepare their signature dish (the women in my family all love to cook); and we would have a party-type luncheon similar to the Christmas parties my grandmother had when I was a kid. Lots of food and lots of talking. I think that would be the ideal luncheon for me with any of my female ancestors.

Fearless Females Challenge: March 9 – Family Documents

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

The following is the record for my 4th great grandmother Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg (1841-1870) birth in 1841:

Birth Record of Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg
Birth Record of Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg

The following is the marriage record for Kerstin’s marriage to Lars Magnus Nilsson Stålberg (1842-?) in 1863:

Marriage Record of Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg
Marriage Record of Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg

The following is the record for Kerstin’s death in 1870:

Death Record of Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg
Death Record of Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg

Kerstin Nilsdotter (1841-1870) was born on September 26, 1841 in Svineberg Otternäset, Sunne Parish, Värmland Co., Värmland Province, Sweden the daugher of Nils Nilsson (1815-?) and Ingeborg Persdotter (1814-?). On April 24, 1863 Kerstin married Lars Magnus Nilsson Stålberg (1842-?) on Sunne Parish, with whom she had five children, twins Inga and Kristina, Emma, Hilma, and Anna Elizabeth Stålberg (1869-1918), my 3rd great grandmother. At some point between the birth of her fourth and fifth child, the family moved to Söderhamn Parish, Gävleborg Co., Hälsingland Province, Sweden. On November 29, 1870, nearly one year and ten months after the birth of her fifth child, Kerstin died in Söderhamn Parish from peritonitis puerperalis (or inflamation of the peritoneum).

Fearless Females Challenge: March 2 – Photograph

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

Although I don’t have as many family photos of my ancestors as some do, I do have some good ones, particularly of my female ancestors. There are two photos that stand out the most in my family when I think of female ancestors. The first photo (shown below) is of my 6th great grandmother, Sally (Todd) Thornton (1793-1891). Although I am not sure when the photo was taken, it seems likely it was taken towards the end of her life in 1891. I selected this photo because it is the only photo I have for a 6th great grandparent. I like this photo because it is amazing to see an ancestor of mine that was born five years after the ratification of the United States Constitution.

Sally (Todd) Thornton
Sally (Todd) Thornton

The second photo is one I featured on my blog nearly a year ago. Taken in 1965, this photo (show below) is a unique photograph in my family’s collection, as it consists of six generations of women in one photograph. The photo features women in my family born between 1873 and 1965. In the front row of the photo, from right to left, is Crystal (Graber) Friederich (1950-2011), Tirzah Olive (Stephens-Agee) Martin (1873-1967), and Gloria Lois (Lapham) Graber (1933-2008), who is holding Tracy Lynn Friederich (LIVING). In the back row of the photo, from right to left, is Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985) and Lois Beatrice (Agee) Wellin (1897-1983). I selected this photo because it features three of my female ancestors, Alice, my great grandmother, Lois, my 2nd great grandmother, and Tirzah, my 3rd great grandmother. For me it is amazing to see that many generations in my family tree in one photo.

Six Generations of First Daughters
Six Generations of First Daughters

94 Years Ago Today

On November 13, 1918, ninety-four years ago today, Anna Elizabeth (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918), my 2nd great grandmother, died in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. According to her death certificate, Anna died from bronchial pneumonia, which developed from influenza.

Anna Lowenburg’s Death Certificate

Anna was buried on November 16, 1918 in Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery in Milwaukie, Clackamas Co., Oregon.

Anna Lowenburg’s Headstone

At the time of her death, Anna was married to her second (possibly third) husband, Emil Conrad Lowenburg (1875-1930), whom she married in about 1901 in Sweden. With Emil, she had five children. Prior to her marriage to Emil, she was married to Nils Johan Larsson Spolander (1872-1900), with whom she had a daughter before his death. Prior to her marriage to Nils, Anna had two sons out of wedlock, one son who died young and my 2nd great grandfather, Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977). Anna, Emil, and their children (including Wilhelm) immigrated to the United States in 1906.

Family History Through the Alphabet – W is for Weddings and Wedding Anniversaries

This week’s Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge features the letter W.  Noteworthy W’s I have run across while researching my ancestry are weddings and wedding anniversaries.

W is for Weddings:

Weddings are an important and joyous event in anyone’s life, and no less so for the generations that came before us. Although I have records for marriages throughout my ancestry, I have few photographic, oral, or written accounts of the weddings that took place. The following are some of the ones that I have uncovered in the course of researching my ancestry.

My paternal grandparents, William Kernan (LIVING) and Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004), were married on June 28, 1952 in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. The wedding took place at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and the service was conducted by Rev. Patrick J. Dooley. The service was reported in The Milwaukie Review, a local paper in Oregon. The following newspaper clippings provide some details, such as a description of my grandmother’s wedding dress, the names of those who attended and the roles they played during the service, in addition to the only surviving photos from their wedding.

 

My paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia (Wellin) Lapham (1916-1985), married Willard Pershing Graber (1918-1988), her second husband, on December 13, 1947 in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. Although I have few details of their wedding, I do know, from their wedding book that contains their certificate of marriage, that they were married in a Methodist church, and the services was officiated by Rev. Henry E. DuVall. The witnesses were Willard’s brother, Noel Graber, and Alice’s aunt, Althea (Agee) Morgan. Apart from these facts, I have some nice photographs from their wedding.

 

Perhaps the oldest image I have run across for a wedding in my ancestry is for that of my 9th great grandparents, John Bigelow (or Biglo) (1617-1703) and Mary Warren (1624-1691). John and Mary were married by a Mr. Nowell on August 30, 1642 in Watertown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. The following painting is said to be of John and Mary dancing at their wedding party (unverified by me).

Although I have no photographs for their wedding, I have an oral family history account regarding the wedding of my 2nd great grandparents, Alexander Balla (1886-1950) and Julia Molnar (1885-1962). According to this account, Alexander and Julia, who were from the same village in Hungary (Eszény) immigrated to the United States separately, with Julia coming to the United States first (1902), as she was offered a job working in the same household as her sister, Elizabeth, in Manhattan, New York. This family, whose name has unfortunately been lost to time, was fairly well off financially—they could afford to have a personal cook (Elizabeth) and at least one maid (Julia). Julia and Alexander were eventually reunited at a Hungarian Church social, which sparked a relationship that resulted in a marriage proposal in 1907. When the family Julia had been working for since her arrival in 1902 learned of this, they offered to pay for the wedding because they had grown very fond of her over the years. Alexander and Julia’s wedding took place on September 9, 1907, at which Julia is said to have been given away by the head of the household she worked in.

 

W is for Wedding Anniversaries:

Related to weddings are, of course, wedding anniversaries, milestones of which are often important events in the lives of our ancestors, as well for us today.

My 2nd great grandparents, Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977) and Lois Beatrice Agee (1897-1983), were married on December 2, 1914 in Vancouver, Clark Co., Washington. On December 2, 1964, Wilhelm and Lois celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, for which they had a family gathering and open house. This milestone in their marriage is recorded in the newspaper clipping below. By the time their marriage vow of “until death do us part” was realized in 1977, Wilhelm and Lois were married for nearly sixty-three years.

Kit Carson Graber (1875-1962) and Iva Mae McKeehan (1879-1950), the parents of Willard Pershing Graber (1918-1988), the second husband of my great grandmother Alice Lucretia (Wellin) Lapham (1916-1985), were married on February 27, 1893 in Mount Pleasant, Henry Co., Iowa. By the time their marriage parted in death in 1950, Kit and Iva were married for nearly fifty-seven years. The photograph below was taken on the occasion of their fifty-fourth wedding anniversary.

 

The following is a table of some of those in my ancestry that celebrated the milestone of making it to their 50th wedding anniversary:

Husband Wife Years
Wilhelm Percy Wellin Louis Beatrice Agee 1914-1977
Isaac Agee Cordelia Thornton 1831-1893
Kit Carson Graber Iva Mae McKeehan 1893-1950
Thomas McLaughlin Margaret Wilson 1833-1891
William Phylitis Davis Mary Magdelene Williams 1906-1960
Jesse Beeney Mary An Wys 1803-1857
Jacob Worthington Elmina Couch 1865-1920
Boyd Ferguson Seely Rebecca Allen 1857-1909
William Kernan (LIVING) Margaret Ann Lapham 1952-2004

Click here to learn more about Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge (Clicking this link will take you to another site.)

220 Years Ago Today

Headstone of William H. Thornton

On October 8, 1792, two hundred and twenty years ago today, William H. Thornton (1792-1858), my 6th great grandfather, was born in North Carolina the son of William Thornton (1766-1843) and Martha Ann “Patsy” Owen (1765-?).

William H. Thornton (1792-1858) married Sally Todd (1793-1891). William and Sally were the grandparents of Mary Elizabeth Thornton (1847-1920), who married John Agee (1839-1912). Mary and John were the grandparents of Lois Beatrice Agee (1897-1983), the wife of Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977), and mother of Alice Lucretia Wellin (1916-1985), who married Theodore “Ted” Alexander Lapham (1910-1955).

In a previous post, I discussed more of William’s life. Click here to view this post.