Posts Tagged Michigan genealogy

#52 Ancestors No. 26 – James White – Michigan Thumb Fire September 5, 1881

This is post 26 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. 52ancestors-2015 Image

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers tweeted of photo of a cartograph1 depicting the Michigan thumb area that mentions a fire that happen on this day in 1881, as a blogging prompt. Recognizing the all too familiar appendage of my birth state, I remembered that one of my ancestors lost their life during the fire.

Burnt District resulting from the Michigan Thumb Fire, September 5, 1881.

Burnt District resulting from the Michigan Thumb Fire, September 5, 1881.

The illustrated cartograph showed the burnt district in the Michigan thumb area that resulted from the great fire on September 5, 1881. The Great Fire, as it is known, burned for three days. It destroyed a million acres of land, including forests, farms, mills, and businesses. The fire consumed the lives of over 280 people2.

James White was just five months old when he died on 16 September 1881. His death was caused by the effects of the fire 11 days earlier.  It is not known if he suffered from smoke inhalation or from burns. The death was recorded in 1882 and is transcribed in the GENDIS2 database.

I have a mimeograph copy of a family history from an unknown source and date that includes two written pages of notes. The notes talk of Aunt Vi (Violet White), who would be James’ older sister. The letter mentions that Aunt Vi was five years old at the time of the Great Fire. The writer of the letter states, “Aunt Vi remembers them huddling under a quilt all but their father and one of the boys. They had to keep pulling out sparks that land on the quilt. Then all was over the quilt was full of little holes.”  There is no mention of James’ death.

James’ parents are James Montgomery White and Persis DesJardins are my great great-grandparents. Th family were farmers in Minden, Sanilac County, Michigan. By the time of the fire, James and Persis had eight children. Two more children would come later. One was my great-grandmother, Minnie White.

Sources:
1http://www.geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blogging-beat-saturday-5-september-2015/#more-34852
2Wikipedia Great Thumb Fire, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumb_fire
3http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/gendisx/scripts/individual.asp?UniqueID=282434

Additional resources:
http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ptruckin/greatfire.html
http://www3.gendisasters.com/michigan/5778/mi-quotgreat-thumb-firequot-sept-1881?page=0,1

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#52Ancestors: Week 19 – Revisiting Doris Anderson

This is week 19 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images 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.

In the 2014 edition of the Ancestors Challenge I wrote a blog on #52 Ancestors – No. 14 – Doris M Anderson.  Doris is the sister of my grandmother Edith Anderson Budny.  I discovered Doris through an old family picture. Seeking Michigan has been adding images of death certificates up to 1947 on their website.

The Anderson family lived in Bay City, Michigan. Doris’s father, Ernest Anderson, died in 1925.  Her mother Minnie White, remarried to William O’Neil in December 1926.

Doris died as a child in 1927.  I guessed that she most likely succumb to a childhood illness.  Sadly, her death was caused by being hit by a car.  She was only five years old.

Doris Anderson, 1927 Death Certificate

Doris Anderson, 1927 Death Certificate

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#52Ancestors: Week 13 – Frisky! Alex Rusenko and Nervous Nellie

This is week 13 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images 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.

Irene Borucki is my 1st cousin 2x removed. Irene Borucki (1916-1998), is the daughter of Ignacy (Frank) Borucki and Alexandra Lipinska. I have never met any of my Borucki cousins. The connection was lost long ago. Recently released vital records from Michigan have filled in the branches on my family tree.

Since it is usually easier to search paternal lines, I hopscotched up Irene’s husband family tree. She married Theodore Rusenko in 1935. The family home was in Hamtramck, Michigan. A city of its own that lies within the borders of Detroit. A Polish conclave that still has the best Paczki or Polish doughnuts that I remember from my youth.

This story is about Theodore’s father, Alex Rusenko. Irene and Theodore’s marriage license provided the names of the groom’s parent. Using Ancestry.com, I found the usual census, city directories, border crossings, and war registration records. The 1930 census indicated that Alex and his first wife Barbara Zawadzki were divorced.

A border crossing from on July 13, 1927 provided a curious and amusing observation. Seems that Alex crossed over from Detroit with a new wife before his divorce was final with Barbara. The passenger list doesn’t say if Alex was coming from a port outside of the US or if he took a quick visit to Windsor, Ontario. Alex Rusenko 1927 Detroit Border Crossing Manifest

The new wife’s name is recorded on the front as Nellie. On the back of the card, it is listed as Helen. In remarks section an amusing statement written by the inspector. “This man claims Helen to be his wife and admits not being legally divorced from his first wife Barbara.”

Nellie Rusenko’s manifest card from the same crossing implies that she previously arrived in the US in 1913. It is possible that the two crossed over the Detroit River into Canada for some reason. The home address listed on both cards is, 2330 Avaline (correct street name is, Evaline). The occupant listed for that address in the 1927 Detroit City Directory is Joe Dziurlikowski. This mysterious Nellie may have boarded at this address. Nellie Rusenko 1927 Detroit Border Crossing Manifest

Barbara Rusenko was granted her divorce on July 20, 1927. Eight years later, Alex Rusenko marries Louise Holjnacki, on February 12, 1935. The witnesses to the marriage, are Anna Stepchinko and Helena Gronkowski. Was Helena the woman he supposedly married before? Or, did he help a woman named Nellie/Helen enter the USA?

Alex Rusenko, born in Austria of Ukrainian descent, died 21 April 1978, in Warren, MI.

Source Citations

“Michigan, Detroit Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Detroit, 1906-1954,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21617-37015-76?cc=1916040 : accessed 30 March 2015), Ruselvan, Barbara – Samet, Isaac > image 10 of 7977; citing NARA microfilm publication M1478 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

“Michigan, Detroit Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Detroit, 1906-1954,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21598-46402-30?cc=1916040 : accessed 30 March 2015), Rayment, Cortland B. – Renoud, Joseph A. > image 7370 of 7933; citing NARA microfilm publication M1478 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

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#52Ancestors: Week 12 – Arthur A. Anderson – Cold Case

This is week 12 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images 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 have been busy spying on my ancestors. The Michigan Archives has released marriage, divorce, and death records up to 1952. Week 11 of 52 Ancestors I wrote about the three divorces of my Great Uncle Eddy (Budny). Curious as a cat, I pried in to the lives of two generations of my aunts and uncles.

I remember the story of my grandmother sisters trying to find two sisters given up for adoption. To bring them back to the fold. My great grandmother Minnie White lost her husband, Ernest Anderson in 1925. She remarried to a William O’Neil in 1926. There were five children still at home when Ernest died. The oldest daughter, Vietta, was married already. The six and youngest Betty Jane, was born just after her father’s death.

William and Minnie’s marriage did not last long. I have a feeling the relationship was not harmonious. As a laborer at Consumers Power, William may not have had the income to support the family. Some of the older girls get married. My grandmother, Edith, who was 13 in 1930, was sent to live with one of Minnie’s sisters in Detroit. As of the 1930 Census, Lucille, Betty Jane, and William and Minnie’s daughter, Rosetta O’Neil reside at 609 North Jefferson Street in Bay City, Michigan.

The family story goes on to say that Arthur left for California and the family never heard from him again. So what did happen to Arthur? A person of the same name does end up in California. The 1931 city directory for Bay City, MI; shows an Arthur Anderson at 509 Ketchum St. Arthur is not listed at that address on the 1930 Census. A few blocks away at 1615 N. Sheridan Street lists Ruth Pettit as a clerk at Woolworth’s.

Michigan marriage records for Bay County provide the next clue in Arthur’s life. The license application states Arthur A. Anderson, 22, single, never been married before, and is a bus driver. His parents are Ernest and Minnie White. Ruth Pettit, 18, born in New Jersey, the daughter of Martin Pettit and Elizabeth Madden, is the bride to be. This license is dated the 10th of January 1931. The marriage takes place on the 19th of January (1931). Incorrectly typed on the certificate is the year 1932.

Not sure if the young couple got caught up in desire and romance when they met as Ruth may have been pregnant at the time of their marriage or given birth just before their wedding date. A short three years later, a divorce decree ends the marriage. Dated October 4, 1933; the absolute decree, lists two children, three year old Ernest Anderson and 1 year old Bonnie Lee Anderson.

The petition was filed by Ruth on January 15, 1933 for non-support. The marriage date is listed at January 19, 1930. A year off the marriage license. Could be an error? Could be someone provided an earlier date to show all the children were born within the marriage. Sometimes the first baby comes before the wedding date.

There is no further listing of Arthur Anderson in the Bay City Directories that I have found. He could be residing elsewhere. A California death record for a similar name, listing the mother’s birth name of “White” could be a clue.

Other than that, the story grows cold for Arthur.  And, heats up for Ruth Pettit.

Arthur Arlington Anderson Death record
Event Date:        05 Jun 1986
Event Place:       Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date:         14 Feb 1909
Birthplace:         Michigan
Gender:              Male
Father’s Name:
Mother’s Name:              White

Source Citation: “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPVM-H8B : accessed 29 March 2015), Arthur Arlington Anderson, 05 Jun 1986; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.

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#52Ancestors: Week 11 – Uncle Eddy – A Bigamist or a Serial Marrier

This is week 11 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images 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.

The State of Michigan recently released Marriage, Divorce, and Death Records from 1926 to 1952. I have several great aunts and uncles that needed tending to find spouses maiden names. I spent the past two nights plugging in various family names and hit the jackpot on a few.

 

The marriage index can be accessed at Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org (free). You’ll have to do a little digging at SeekingMichigan.org to find the death records from 1926-1952. Use “Advanced Search” and check the box for Death Records, 1921-1952 OCLC LOADING.

Uncle Eddy a Bigamist or Polygamist?

I started my search in the marriage records index on Ancestry with the Budny surname. When Uncle Edward Budny’s name came up twice and the marriages were only a year apart, I thought he was a bigamist. Then I recognized the third wife’s name and it was “Oh My!” Is Uncle Eddy a “serial marrier?”

Ancestry.com screenshot of Edward Budny's marriage index

Ancestry.com screenshot of Edward Budny’s marriage index

 

Now the first step in an analysis would be to check if these three Edwards were the same person. Then check to see if the person is your relative. I knew right off the bat that this was my Edward. The Budny surname is not common in Detroit. There are a few Budny families in the area. Strangely, none of the families were related to each other.

 

Uncle Eddy was not mentioned a lot in my house. We hardly ever saw him. I knew growing up that there was some type of back story to Eddy and no one talked about it. I knew he wasn’t married (anymore) and he had a daughter. My only strong memory of him is at my 16 birthday party that fell on the same day as Father’s day. It was a great fun day with Eddy, my grandfather, and my aunt’s father-in-law. Who are all Polish and telling tall tales for sure.

 

Ancestry’s pop-up view of the record showed the parents’ names. All three records for Edward Budny listed the same parents, Adam Budny and Mary Borucky (Borucki). Those two are the progenitors of my Budny line.

 

So…was Eddy a bigamist? No, he wasn’t. The Michigan Divorce Index through 1952 are listed at Ancestry. What a relief to see two divorce listings for Uncle Eddy. Even though I could see the marriage and divorce dates online, I had to write them down on paper just to double check that the marriages didn’t overlap.

Ancestry.com screenshot of Edward Budny's divorces listings

Ancestry.com screenshot of Edward Budny’s divorces listings

 

Edward married Lillian Connor first in August 1939. Their divorce is granted on 16 September 1940. The marriage must have a rocky start from the beginning. Six weeks after the divorce, Eddy marries Victoria Podgorski on 26 October 1940. Vitoria and Eddy’s divorce is final on 21 January 1942. The first marriage lasted 14 months, the second; 15 months.

 

Third Time is Not a Charm

 

Another walk down the aisle less than three months after his second divorce. Lois Castle becomes Eddy’s third wife on 11 April 1942. Maybe this marriage has a fighting chance. Eddy enlists in the Army in March 1943 and musters out November 1944. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say. The couple are still together in 1958 according to a city directory. A non-amicable divorce does occur sometime later. I think someone mentioned he had lady friends after his divorce. You know how family gossips.

Source:
http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=9093

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