Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alfred Peterson - Short Biography

Alfred Peterson of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

A young Alfred Petersen
Alfred Peterson (who also shows up in some records as Albert) was born on March 29, 1882 in the Town of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. His parents were Ole Peterson and Martha Breisnes. Ole had come to America in 1862 and settled in Blue Mounds where he first farmed 80 acres on section 10 and then over 200 acres on section 11 at the western edge of the fledgling community of Mount Horeb. About a year after Alfred’s birth, his mother would die from complications of childbirth. This would leave Ole to care for a large family, including a number of young children. It is likely that Alfred, his brother Olaus and perhaps some other children went to live with a women named Betsy Peterson. She was a widow and had a farm near the Ole Peterson farm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Frederick Roth II - Short Biography

Frederick Roth - Monroe and Chicago

Frederick Roth II was born on October 20, 1885. He was the oldest child and only son of Frederick Roth I and Mary Zweifel of Monroe, Wisconsin. His father had immigrated from Switzerland around 1880 and settled in Monroe where he operated the Monroe House and later a tavern near the Illinois Central train station. Mary (or Maria) Zweifel was the daughter of Fridolin Zweifel and Regula Oswald (or Oswalt). Fridolin, along with five brothers, came to New Glarus form “old” Glarus, Switzerland in the 1850’s. He settled just south of New Glarus where he farmed 200 acres on sections 4, 8 and 9 in the Town of Washington.

You can read more about the Zweifel family in a three part report here.

The Roth family of Monroe, Wisconsin around 1900, Frederick I,
daughter Rose, son Frederick II and Maria Zweifel

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wilderman Family (3) - Colonists and Pioneers

Part 3 - From Frontier to Settled Territory
Find Part 2 of the Story Here . . .
Find Part 1 of the Story Here . . .

Note, this post has been revised. The original 2-Part Wilderman Family series has been updated and more information has been added. The series has been expanded to 3 Parts with most of the new information in this part.

Jacob Wilderman and Johann Meyer left their small village in Baden, Germany and came to Colonial America in 1751. Jacob would marry Elizabetha Meyer and make his home in Maryland. There he would raise a family, farm, fight in the revolution and live out his live. After the Revolution, his son George would marry and head to western Pennsylvania to live in the company of other Pennsylvania Dutch settlers. Later he would pick-up once more and venture into the frontier of the Northwest Territory and settle just east of the Mississippi in what is now Illinois.

The Wilderman family would thrive in Saint Clair County. A number of sons would operate large farms of their own. Later generations would continue to farm but some family members would seek other callings including one of George's grandsons, Alonzo, who would become a Circuit Court Judge. Many descendants still live in the area and the family history is well documented.

The Wilderman Cemetery in the countryside on Section 8 in the Town of Freeburg.
James Wilderman, Sarah Jarvis and a number of their children are buried here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Years of Blogging about Genealogy

Before I started leaning about
my Genealogy, I had never
heard of Granby, Connecticut.
Now I know that it played an
important role in my own
family history.
My Other Blog - Family History and Genealogy" celebrated its 2nd anniversary, yesterday September 30, 2012. On that same day in 2010, the very first post, just under 400 words and titled “Yet Another Blog” was published.

At the time, I wasn’t sure exactly what this blog was going to focus on but writing about my ancestry was certainly one of the options I was entertaining. The decision to move in that direction didn't take long, however. The next two posts, both in October of 2010 were about my family history quest and once I started down the road toward genealogy, I never looked back.

With a total of 36 posts (including this one) the website has grown at a slow but steady pace. In addition to the output that comes out of this blog (writing and posting), there has also been some worthwhile input. I have received more than a handful of connections to distant cousins. Prior to being contacted, I did not know any of them and they have contributed a lot of great information about my family history. Hopefully, I have also been able to provide them with some good information as well.
9/30/10 - 9/30/12: Two Years of Blogging About My Family History - 36 posts, 10,000 visitors and some great new connections.
In addition to the two year anniversary, another milestone . . . 10,000 visitors . . . was also reached in September. This is a small blog, very focused and with no marketing or advertising so I do not expect much traffic. I now receive anywhere from 600 - 900 visitors per month which has far exceeded my expectations. Here are some highlights of the first two years:
Right now, I am in the middle of writing about the Holcombe Family, the ancestry that first got me really excited about my own genealogy. I have two articles published with a couple more to go. I look forward to continuing with the blog and sharing my information with others for some time to come.

Related Reading:
History Page Added
The Flow of Information
The Genealogy Mother Load



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Holcombe Family (2) - Colonial Generations

Part 2 - Nathaniel Holcombe of Salmon Brook

Thomas Holcombe would arrive in New England sometime between 1630 and 1633. A few short years later, he would be living on the outskirts of Connecticut's first settlement, Windsor. There, he and his wife, Elizabeth would raise a large family and prosper. Their youngest son, Nathaniel would be only nine years old when Thomas died. After that time, Nathaniel's stepfather, James Enno and his older brothers would probably have a great influence on him as he grew to manhood in the wilderness at Poquonock.

If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .


The original settlers at the remote outpost at Poquonock, circa 1640. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Holcombe Family (1) - Colonial Generations

Note: Thomas Holcombe of Windsor, Connecticut and his descendants are well documented in both written text and on the Internet. This report presents a narrative of the early generations in my personal family line and is not meant to be a full and complete history of Thomas Holcombe or the Holcombe family.

Part 1 - Thomas Holcombe in the New World

It is unclear exactly when Thomas Holcombe arrived in New England. It could have been as early as 1630 on the Ship Mary & John or as late as 1633 on the Ship Thunder. As passenger lists for many of the Puritan voyages did not exist, the actual date that he first stepped foot on New England soil will probably never be known. Regardless, his arrive about 20 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth puts him in the company of the first few hundred or few thousand white men to live in North America.

Drawing of the Mary and John. While it is unclear if Thomas Holcombe came
to the New World on this particular ship, it represents the type of vessel that
was plying the Atlantic Ocean between England and America in the 1630's.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ole Peterson & the Peterson Family (3)

Part Three - Olaus and the Next Generation
If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .
If you missed Part 2 of the story, go here . . .

The family of Peter Olsen Moe and Anna Augundsdatter Lad came to Wisconsin from Norway in 1864 and eventually settled in the Town of Blue Mounds. Their eldest child Ole, who went by the name Ole Peterson had come over a couple of years earlier. After a brief stint in the Union Army, he would set down roots in Blue Mounds and would be a founding father of the Village of Mount Horeb. By the turn of the century, large parts of his farm would be absorbed into village limits. After his death, Ole would leave a large family in the Blue Mounds / Mount Horeb area to carry on. One of children, Olaus would build a house just a few doors down from the Peterson farmhouse, operate his own business and raise his family.

Present-day north-central Mount Horeb showing the heart of the former Ole
Peterson farm with the farmhouse (toward the top). Also note Ole's Main
Street house, the Olaus Peterson house and Peterson Plumbing and Heating.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ole Peterson & the Peterson Family (2)

Part Two - The Petersons, a First Family of Mount Horeb
If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .

The family of Peter Olsen Moe and Anna Augundsdatter Lad were farmers from the fiord's of Norway. They would leave their home and venture to America between 1862 and 1864, settling in the Town of Blue Mounds in south-central Wisconsin. Son Ole came first, but he was not an early settler to Blue Mounds. The first settlers had come as early as the 1830's and were mostly "easterners" that were heading west after America's independence. Later, starting in the 1840's and accelerating in the 1850's and 1860's, European immigrants from Germany, Switzerland, Norway and other places began to populate the Blue Mounds area.

When Ole Peterson purchased 200 acres at, what is now, the western third of the Village of Mount Horeb, the area was just fields with a small cluster of buildings about 1/2 mile to the east. As the years went on, Ole and his family would put their imprint on the emerging community.


The Peterson farmhouse; built in the late 1870's or early 1880's. It still
stands today on what is now Grove Street in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ole Peterson & the Peterson Family (1)

Part One - Before there was Peterson, there was Moe

The Peterson family, their descendants and allied families have lived in the Town of Blue Mounds, the Village of Mount Horeb and other surrounding communities for about six generations. Ole Peterson, who arrived in 1862 would have a large family and thus the Peterson name would be fairly prominent in the area during the later half of the 19th Century and for much of the 20th Century. In the telling of family history, Ole is often sited as the starting point . . . the immigrant who came to America and started a family in this new place.

Ole may be the beginning of the "Peterson" story but the family does not start with him. It might be better to start the story with his father, Peter Olsen Moe who also came to America about the same time. The reason Ole and Peter had different last names was a result of the way Norwegians named themselves and the changes in that naming process as they became American. The Norwegian tradition of naming children after fathers and often adding a place of residence to the end of a name meant that virtually every generation had a different name. For a more detailed discussion on the naming system in Norway, read the post titled, Peterson - Moe, What's in a Name?

Sogn Fjord and Hafslo are located in west-central Norway. This
is the ancestral home of Peter Olsen Moe and Ole Peterson

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

History Page Added - More Stuff

I've been thinking about ways to add more information to this website; specifically, more photos and some of the many documents that reside in my archive. The goal was to add a page (or pages) to display these images. I also wanted to do it in a way that was not too difficult and would not require too much serious HTML work. Blogger can be a powerful tool but when it comes to plugins and widgets, it is not as well developed as Word Press or some other platforms (not that I am complaining). I like things "out of the box" and am not really interested in changing the template; so I needed to look around for some help. Specifically, I was interested in creating a "thumbnail page" that would show many images at a glance. This would contrast with the slideshows that reside at the bottom of the page. After looking around a bit, and reading a lot of "how to" topics, I finally found a way to add a table - of sorts - in a new page. The method looked like something I could handle and the page appearance was "good enough" at least for now.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Francis O'Neil, Short Biography

Francis O'Neil, Ireland, Scotland, Wisconsin, Iowa

Francis was born in 1812 in Armagh County in northern Ireland. He is reported to be the son of James O'Neil (b.1785, d.1817) and Nancy (?). Not much is known about his parents but when Francis was about five years old, his father died, and he and his mother moved to Scotland. As a young man, he worked as a potter while living in Scotland. At some point, he may have gone back to Ireland. In 1834 he married Rosa Hoy (b.1812, d.1854). Once again, records are unclear but he seems to have married her in Ireland and census records indicate that she was from Ireland. After their marriage, they may have lived in both England and Scotland in the 1840's (some of their children were born in Scotland).


Francis O'Neil and Elizabeth Nevin, date unknown.

Friday, March 30, 2012

1940 Census - Once in a Lifetime

Something is about to take place that only happens once and takes 72 years, truly a "once in a lifetime event." In just a few days, on April 2nd of 2012, the individual family records of the 1940 census will be unveiled and made available to the public. It will also be the first census to go almost immediately into digital format.

Genealogists spend a lot of time gathering vital records about our ancestors. This includes census data which often forms a foundation of knowledge about our family history. In some cases, the only records we have are from the census. Census data, though not actually a vital record, offers a great deal of insite into an individual's situation. In addition to the usual information, such as where they lived and the names and ages of those that made up that household, census records can also tell us about immigration dates, military service, occupation and land ownership. The census record also has its limitations. It is a snapshot and is only taken once every 10 years. Since a lot can happen in 10 years, its value must be put in that context.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reuben Holcomb I - Short Biography

Reuben T. Holcomb - Wisconsin Pioneer

I find Reuben Holcomb to be one of the more interesting of my ancestors. This might be in part because there is some good information available about him but I think it is also because of the times he lived in and the pioneering path he chose. Reuben was born May 16, 1816 on the western frontier in Monroe County, New York. He was the third born of five known children of Apollas Holcombe (b.1791, d.1823) and Mehitable Bunnell (b.1793, d.1853). Apollas was born in Granby, Connecticut and had come west to Bloomfield, New York with his parents after the American Revolution. Apollas was a veteran of the War of 1812, where he was wounded at the burning of Buffalo in 1814. He would die in 1823 at the age of 32 and leave Mehitable to raise their five young children. Mehitable was the daughter of Jonathan Bunnell (b.1741) and Mehitable Morse (b.1743). The Bunnell family came west from Blandford, Massachusetts and settled near the Holcombe family in Bloomfield.


Rural Green County has changed little since first settled by
Reuben Holcomb and others in the 1840's and 1850's.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

David Hermann - Arrived 1862 (2)


Part 2 - A Life in Wisconsin
If you missed part one of the story, go here . . .

Note, this post has been revised. The original David Hermann article has been updated and more information has been added. Because of its length, it has also been split into two parts with most of the new information in this part.

David Hermann was born in 1838 near the Baltic Sea in the Principality of Mecklenburg. His family and ancestors were of the peasant class and of very modest means. Life was probably very hard for them and advancement in that society was unlikely. In 1860, he married Anna Rohde and two years later, the two of them, along with their first born child, boarded a ship and sailed for America. They would travel from New York to Wisconsin and settle in the south-central part of the state.


Farm buildings from the Hermann farm in the Town of Verona, Wisconsin;
they are no longer in use but still standing in this 2011 photo.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Flow of Information

A little over a year ago, in a post titled New Discoveries are Delightful, I wrote the following: "my genealogy research is pretty casual these days." I went on to say how I was running out of information and was content to sit back and take it slow. I also acknowledged that "new stuff shows-up." Those thoughts were all pretty genuine but what I did not realize was that just around the corner, a massive amount of family history was waiting for me. First, some background information,

Green County Historical Society
When I wrote that post, in January of 2011, this blog was only about three months old and I had yet to write any posts on individual family members. It would not be until February of 2011 that I would write my first post on one of those family members - the Goldner Family.  That was followed a couple of months later with a post on the Peterson / Moe Family. Both of those two talked as much about the process as the families themselves.

Friday, February 3, 2012

David Hollister & the Hollister Family (3)

Part Three - The Next Generations
If you missed Part 2 of the story, go here . . .
If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .

By the 1880's David Hollister, along with a number of his grown children where living in western Iowa, near the Nebraska border. There were also a few children who stayed back in Wisconsin. Some farmed and some had other occupations and a few moved on to other places. The Hollister clan would grow and multiply in Iowa and David would live out his life with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren nearby.

Thomas Jefferson Hollister, the son of David is buried
at Mount Hope Cemetery in Monona County, Iowa

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

David Hollister & the Hollister Family (2)

Part Two - Across the Midwest
If you missed Part 1 of the story, go here . . .

David Hollister was born in newly settled western New York in 1802. His parents might have been John Hollister and Elizabeth Van Scoter. He first married Celinda Giddings, the widow of his brother Abraham. They lived in Pennsylvania and Indiana but Celinda would die around 1841. In those days, death was common and almost expected. The living would carry on and as a matter of survival, most widowed spouses would remarry. David was in his 40's with a family in-tow, but as you will read below, there would be another beginning as he had not even reached the halfway point of his long life.

Wisconsin Territory about the time the Hollisters came to the state.
Settlement was limited to the south and along Lake Michigan.
Indian tribes still occupied areas north of the Wisconsin River.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

David Hollister & the Hollister Family (1)

Part One - Connecticut and New York

David Hollister's lifespan encompassed most of the 19th century. He was born about 1802 in New York and died 101 years later in 1903 in western Iowa. He spent a good part of his life on the move, pioneering, in New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and finally Iowa. David's life is fairly well documented but up until now, his exact ancestry has been illusive. There are at least 40 Hollister families in New York in the 1810 census and since children's names are not given, it is hard to tell who David might belong too. In addition, the Hollister lineage in Colonial America is well known but David does not show-up in that body of work either. Recently, an on-line source has provided a possible ancestral line and I will list that here but, beware, it has yet to be verified.

Captain John Hollister built this house in Glastonbury in 1649. It has been noted
that he lived across the river in Wethersfield and probably rented out this house.
Later Hollisters would claim it as their ancestral home and live in it for generations.