Archive for December, 2014

#52Ancestors – No. 52 – Miranda Jane Guynn – More Triple In-Laws

This is the last post in the series of the #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

I can’t believe a year has gone by since starting this endeavor. The goal of #52 Ancestors was to create a habit of writing more frequently on our blogs.  There is some interest in continuing the series, but I am not sure if I will participate.  I will continue to blog about my ancestors and those of my clients (with permission).

Miranda Jane Guynn

Miranda Guynn (b. 1827 – d. 1903) is the wife of my fourth great uncle.  She is the daughter Richard Guynn and Eliza Gaines Fisher.  Richard came from Rockingham, Virginia to Cadiz, Kentucky. Eventually the family settled in Muhlenberg County, KY.  I haven’t found the sources yet to verify the right Guynn line.  There are trees that have the Guynn line going back to Wales.

Miranda married into the Pittman family.  Her husband, Buris Eskridge Pittman (b. 1806 – d. 1879)  carries the name of a family friend, Burris Estridge who lived in Orange Co., North Carolina in the late 1700’s.  The name Burris Estridge and it’s variant spelling has been passed down in several lines.

Triple in-laws and cousin in-laws

Miranda and Buris had nine children.  Three of their children married Lovel siblings, children of John Lovel and Mary Ann Ingram. Another daughter, Emma married a Lovel cousin.

I just wish there was a report function in Family Tree Maker that would allow me to crosswalk the intermarriages between families in my tree. I will probably have to build some type of pivot table in Excel.

Five letter last name –  so many ways to spell “Guynn”

In trying to learn more about the Guynn family to see where they came from in Europe, I found quite of number of variants for this surname.  It is amazing to see how one name can create a myriad of other names. The name is said to be derived from Welsh gwyn which means, “white” or “fair hair” or “fair complexion”, or it could be a variant of French name “Guyon.”

Here is a list of some of the variants: Guynn, Guin, Gynn, Gewin, Gynne, Guen, Gynn, Guine, Guevin, Gwin, Guin, Wynn, Gwynn, Guinn, Gwynne, Guwin, Gwinn, Gwynne, Gwinnett, Gwyn, Gwynett, Gwynn, Gwyyns, Wyn, Wynn, Wynne.

My Guynn line was recorded under varying spellings of the name in census and land records.  It is important to write down a list of name variations to help you find your family in records.  So many people assume their name was not changed over time, or do not consider how a recorder would enter a name.

Posts on the Pittman Line

Isaac Pittman
John T. Pittman

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Triple In-Laws – Herman’s and Langner’s – Keep It In The Family

So the story is, two brothers and a sister from the Herman family, married two sisters and a brother from the Langner family. What?  Who married who?

Hey, it is not my line.  I was squirreling up collateral line of my Great Aunt first husbands tree.  Why, because I get distracted on my line when I cannot find any records.

Now I am not the first person to discover this ultra close knit family.  I was content just to stop at my aunt’s in-laws.  However, the surnames kept popping up and I had to write out a mind map to see if they were part of the same family group.

There are a few branches in my tree where I have double in-laws, where siblings of one family marry siblings of another family.  So, I was a little taken back to see a three-some.

Triple In-Laws

Triple In-Laws

The Herman and Langner families were immigrants from Prussia. The Langner family arrived in 1870, the Herman’s in 1887.  They settled near Avon and Holdingford in Sterns Co, Minnesota. Very small farming communities near St. Cloud, MN.  They are still sparsely populated today.

The towns claim to fame is that they are most like the fictional town of “Lake Wobegon” created by Garrison Keillor.  The local All Saints  Catholic church serves both towns.   A church that most likely brought the two families together.

Maybe the world was just a little too small to find a subtle mate at the turn of the century for these families.  One pair, Peter and Victoria Herman left Minnesota for work at the auto factories in Detroit.  No one else followed them that I can see. Even after Peter died in 1917, Victoria remained in Detroit until her death in 1970.

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#52Ancestors – No. 51 – Victoria Langner – Outlived most of her children

This post is number 51 in the series of the #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Victoria Langner is the the mother-in-law of my great-aunt Phyllis Budny, subject of #13.  When I started getting the material for the blog post yesterday, my curiosity peeked into the family lines.  Yes, I have been researching for about 16 hours on just these two collateral lines. I had to mind map the sibling marriages between her and her husband’s family. I will write about the two families in a follow-up post.

Victoria Langner was born near Avon, in Sterns County, Minnesota. She and her parents, Joseph Langner and Christina Gallus immigrated from Silesia, Prussia (now Poland).  Victoria is one of nine children out of 12 who survived infancy.

She married Peter Herman (Hermanza) in 1899.  Eight of their 10 children were born near Holding, MN.  Two were born after the family moved to Detroit after 1910. Peter is not listed with Victoria on the 1910 Minnesota Census.  He may have went first to Detroit to secure a job and new home for the family.

Victoria Langner Herman and Mary Budny in 1947, Dearborn, MI.

Victoria Langner Herman and Mary Budny in 1947, Dearborn, MI.

Peter died of pneumonia during the 1917 Influenza Epidemic. There is a family story that Victoria had a man around to help with the finances in exchange for “benefits” after Peter died. When her boys were old enough and could support the family they chased him off.

However, I found a 1921 marriage record for Victoria and one, John Urbaniec.  The marriage did not last long.  Victoria cited, extreme cruelty, non-support, and desertion as cause in her divorce petition.  A decree was granted to her on October 26, 1925.

Victoria died at the age of 90 in 1970.  She is laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery in Detroit.  Eight Seven of her children died before 1940.  Her sons, Julius, died in 1966, Anthony in 1968. (Updated 12/23/2014.)  Her son, Francis, passed away in 1986.


Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Mar 2014), John K. Urbaniec and Victoria Langner Herman, 25 Jan 1921; citing Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, v 7 rn 208057. Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Original data: Michigan. Divorce records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.

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#52Ancestors – No. 50 – Thomas Borowski

This post is number 50 in the series of the #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

I am eternally grateful to my cousin Tom Borowski though I barely know him.  He is my father’s first cousin.  I am sure we met once or twice when I was younger.  We talked twice a few years ago when I asked him what family stories he grew up with regarding the Budny side.

The son of Josephine Budny (1911-2006) and Harry Borowski (1903-1954).  I found out Tom had passed away last year (2013) when I wanted to ask more questions about the family.  He/She who hesitates, is lost.

Tom provided the clue about my Stanley’s death being in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Not the places my branch was told he died.  Armed with his death location, I was able to find his death certificate and newspaper stories regarding Stanley’s death.

Tom Borowski and Ken Budny Christmas circa 1950I have two photographs of Tom that were in my grandmother Edith Anderson Budny’s photo album.  With the help of my aunt and Dad I was able to identify the individuals in the photos.  Both are fitting for this time of year as they were taken at Christmas time.  The Christmas celebrations were at Grandma Edith’s house and taken a few years apart.

Borowski_Budny Christmas circa 1952

This next picture is circa 1952 based on the approximate age of the little girl my grandmother Edith is holding.  Tom Borowski parents are on the left.  My grandparents are in the middle and labelled.  Tom is at the far right.

In the photo I circled in red the “Pickle Ornament” that was hung every year.  Hanging the pickle ornament was supposed to be an old world German custom.  However, that is a myth.  It is an American custom, probably starting as an advertising gimmick.


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#52Ancestors – No. 49 – Gordon Anderson

This post is number 49 in the series of the #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Today’s post is the marriage record of my second great grandfather on my paternal mother’s side of the family. Gordon Anderson, born 1857, near Wilmot, Ontario, Canada to James and Catherine Anderson.  His parents were of Scotch and Irish ancestry.

Gordon married Elizabeth Woods on 28 June 1881.  The couple were married Chesterfield, Ontario.  A very small village at the time. The Chesterfield United Church Cemetery remains in what now a rural farming area.

They may have held the ceremony there as Gordon religious affiliation is Baptist and Elizabeth was a United Brethren member.  Or, that Gordon had since immigrated to Flint, Michigan just before his marriage.  The bride states she was living in Blenheim, Ontario.  About a 2 hours drive by today’s automobile from the Wilmot and Chesterfield locations and closer to Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, MI.

Elizabeth’s parents are James and Elizabeth Woods.  Both who immigrated to Ontario, Canada in the mid 1850’s .  Witnesses to the marriage were Esther Woods, Elizabeth’s sister, and William Edmiston.

The couple settled in Bad Axe, Michigan, located in the thumb area of the state.  Gordon set himself up as a farmer.  His farm was still under mortgage per the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census records. A long time to hold a mortgage on a farm owned since 1881.

The couple had 12 children of which one died in childhood. Their first son George (Ernest) Anderson is my great grandfather.

Gordon Anderson and Elizabeth Woods 1881 Ontario Marriage Record

Gordon Anderson and Elizabeth Woods 1881 Ontario Marriage Record

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