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

One of a series of short biographies of individual ancestors. These are undertaken, from time-to-time, when enough information becomes available about an individual.

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.