Archive for category Genealogy

Genealogy Do-Over Week One

The Genealogy Do-Over project this past week included decluttering my old 1970’s Samsonite briefcase of my old family group sheets and notes jotted down over the years.  Since the one of the goals of the project is not to “Squirrel” I tried to keep it just to the Borucki and Budny binder.  I did hit a few of the other binders just to get rid of useless paper.

1970's Template for Family Group Sheets

1970’s Template for Family Group Sheets

The hard cover briefcase has been bulging for some time now, even after a previous purge.  In my review, I found the original newspaper clipping mentioned in #52Ancestors – No. 40 – Harry Trevelyan Saves Winston Churchill in 1899 post.  I spend three hours at the Dearborn Public Library looking a copy of the article on microfilm in July 2014.  What a time waster that was.  I also found Harry’s collection of 1937 Coronation Stamps that my father didn’t sell during his trade show days.

George VI Coronation Stamp of Tower Bridge 1937

George VI Coronation Stamp of Tower Bridge 1937

Because I tend to concentrate on making a perfect template then abandoning it the template due to boredom and dis-interest.  I decided to train myself on using Family Tree Maker 2014 effectively.  I don’t want several different Excel spreadsheets that I have to create and maintain. Most genealogists are raving about Evernote. I have OneNote on my computer that I can use instead.

YouTube is the best tool for most training needs.  I used it to find training programs when I was a trainer in a previous job.  So while getting my 45 minute cardio exercise at the gym this week, I viewed videos to pass the time away. There are a number of individuals that have uploaded Family Tree Maker (FTM) how-to videos.  Ancestry owns FTM and has their own how-to training videos.

Here is a brief list of channels I have been watching.  There are plenty more channels that you can find to assist you in your training needs or learning style.

Cousin Russ
Dear Myrtle
Ancestry’s Crista Cowen

My next goal is to clean up computer files by labeling and organizing documents and photos.  I need to get ready to build my research plan for week two.


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#52Ancestors – No. 1 – Frank Kowalski – Starting Over, Coming Home

52ancestors-2015 Image

Image courtesy of No Story Too Small (Amy Johnson Crow)

This is the first post of the 2015 #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.

To spice up the writing challenge, optional themes were added to give participants inspiration on how we look at our ancestors.  The theme this week is “Fresh Start.”  I jumped the collateral tree limbs and chose Frank Kowalski.  Born in the US, raised in Poland, emigrated back to US prior to WWII.

Frank was born (1916) in New Jersey to immigrant Polish parents.  The story goes his father didn’t care much for the new country and went back to Poland.  Because of Frank’s common surname being the equivalent of “Smith,” I have not been able to find definitive records for him or his family.  His parents names are generic too.

According to his son, Frank never talked about his family, his siblings, relatives, his life in Poland.  The usual clues one would use are just not there.  Frank wanted a new start when he returned to the US and he left his family stories behind.

It is  not known when the Kowalski’s went back to Poland. I am hoping to find them on the 1920 Census or city directories.  No luck so far.  Though Frank had an accent, his English was good.  He may have went to school here as young child.  I am not certain if his parents stayed in New Jersey or made a migration to Detroit before going back to Poland.  Frank himself came to Detroit in October 1938.

A ship passenger list is the first record I can confirm for Frank. The Ascania sailed from La Havre, France, on the 7th of October 1938.  The ship arrives at its destination, the Port of Quebec, on 18 October 1938.  The manifest is a list of US citizens.  Frank is listed as Fransicek S. Kowalski.  It includes his birth date and lists, Jersey City, NJ as his birth place.

He was naturalized at a district court in Warsaw, Poland, on October 3, 1938.  Entered on the line is, PP 6112, which could be a possible record ID for his naturalization paperwork.  Also included in his address in the US.  Bingo!  Frank lists his aunt, Stanislawa Studzinski, in Detroit, MI. Finally a direction to take my research.  From Quebec, Frank made passage to Windsor, Ontario and crossed over to Detroit.

Frank lives with Stanislawa and his two cousins in 1940.  The Studzinski research is also an enigma as I can find very few records on them.  The Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, provides clues to Frank’s military service.  It lists the dates of his military service.  Frank avoided persecution by Germans or Soviets in WWII if he had stayed in Poland.

One story Frank did share, is that he tried to visit his mother while station in Poland.  It was toward the end, but his commanding officer refused to let him go.  I wondered if that information would be in his military file?

Frank married Wladria (Wanda) Uroda in 1946 and they reared two children.  There were no family tales, histories were provided.  As if Frank’s childhood didn’t exist. Frank put his past behind for reasons not known to start over.

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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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#52Ancestors – No. 41 – William H. Woodburn

This post is number 41 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.

William Woodburn and his two wives are listed on one headstone.

William Woodburn and his two wives are listed on one headstone.

All Inclusive

Wives can be forever lost in history.  This is not the case for my first cousin 5 removed, William H. Woodburn. William’s headstone lists both his wives names along with his name.

Williams first wife was Martha Frances Chandler.  This union had four children.  Martha may have died in childbirth or shortly thereafter.  She died in 1864. Her last child, William Thomas Woodburn was born in 1864.

On October 14, 1868, William married America E. Baker, widow of Joseph Coffman.  America had two children with Joseph Coffman. William and America had three daughters.  Both William and American died in 1874.

Find A Grave:

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#52Ancestors – No. 40 – Harry Trevelyan Saves Winston Churchill in 1899

This post is number 40 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.

Harry Trevelyan Saves Churchill

Harry Trevelyan Saves Churchill

Who is Harry Arthur John Trevelyan and did he really save Churchill’s life during the Boer War?  According to an article in The Dearborn Guide on January 27, 1965, written shortly after Churchill’s death, the answer is “Yes.”  Is it true, I don’t know for sure.

I have tried searching various Churchill accounts regarding his escape from the Boers to learn more and was not able to pin down the details.  The article states that Trevelyan was one of a group of British soldiers who saved the 26 year old newspaper correspondent.  Churchill later became Prime Minister of England.  The article states Trevelyan was a Lieutenant in the Cavalry.

Trevelyan was a Canadian who join the fight against the Boers.  I do not know if he joined the British military for fought under an Canadian group.

Who was Harry A. Trevelyan?

Harry’s naturalization papers state he was born in Winnipeg, Canada, on July 14, 1876.  On May 15, 1901, he entered United States at Pembina, North Dakota, on the Great Northern Railroad. He states he settled in Michigan on November 1, 1908.  A search has not yielded any clues of where Harry was from 1901 to November 1908.

On December 24, 1909, in Detroit, Harry marries Edith H. White, my great Aunt.  The marriage record lists his parents as Samuel Trevelyan and Anne Barcroft.  A search of Manitoba archives and other online databases sheds no light on this family. The couple, Harry and Edith, have no children of their own. My grandmother, Mildred Edith Anderson, as a young child, comes to live with them sometime after 1925.  They considered her their daughter.

A man of many talents

Clerk Invents Calendar

Clerk Invents Calendar

Photo of Harry Trevelyan and Edith H. White

Photo of Harry Trevelyan and Edith H. White

Trevelyan was an automotive engineer for Cadillac, Packard, and Studebaker.  He was a member of the Composite Lodge No. 499 (Masons), his hobby was statistics, he wrote, collected British Royalty stamps, and he invented a perpetual calendar. My father has told me stories, that Uncle Harry had many travels, was in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and once was a Detroit Sheriff’s Deputy.

The RCMP officially started in 1920, after Harry’s immigration to the US.  However, it’s predecessor the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) served the Canadian West.  Harry could have been a constable in this unit.  Members of the NWMP unit did join the fight against the Boers in 1898.  In 1938, Harry is employed by the Federal Clerk’s office in Detroit.  In his role as a clerk, he was mostly like deputized during the 1943 Detroit Race Riots.  I don’t believe he was actually employed as a police office

Harry died on April 1, 1955.  Somehow, I think he is playing the ultimate fools game on me.  As I can find very little records regarding his birth and family origins. His death certificate and obituary imply that he his interred at Woodmere Cemetery, in Detroit.  His ashes were actually interred elsewhere.

He Saved Churchill’s Life in 1899, Dearborn, MI, The Dearborn Guide, January 27, 1965, page 6, col. 1. Microfilm located at Henry Ford Centennial Library, Dearborn, MI. Reel 29,  December 10, 1964 to June 24, 1965.

Harry A. Trevelyan obituary, Dearborn, MI, The Dearborn Press, April 7, 1955.

Duane De Loach, “Clerk Designs Calendar Good for 500 Years.” Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI, November, 27, 1942

Photograph of Harry and Edith Trevelyan, circa 1950, Dearborn, MI. Copy in possession of Caroll Budny, Lynnwood, WA.  Texas.

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