Blogging Prompts, Census, Census Sunday, Military, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research

Census Sunday – Grandpa in 1920

Just in time for Memorial Day, here is Grandpa Lawrence Montgomery‘s 1920 census record. I still haven’t found him (or his father) in 1910, so this is the first record where he appears. In that year he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. His age is listed as 21, which is consistent with the (incorrect) birthdate Grandpa gave when enlisting in 1917. Grandpa was really only 18 in January 1920. Nebraska is listed as the birthplace of Grandpa (which is correct), as well as his parents (which is incorrect). His occupation is “soldier.” Grandpa’s military records give a little more information on his military service, though Grandpa also told some (as yet unsubstantiated) colorful stories about his experiences:

  • Being stationed in Hawaii
  • Being sent to climb up a pole to cut down an effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm
  • While operating the base movie projector (which his records confirm he did do), hollering at someone who came in to the projector room to put out their cigar, only to have someone tell him he had just yelled at General Pershing

Whatever Grandpa’s role, I’m grateful for his service.

Baptisms, Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Census, Census Sunday, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research

Census Sunday – William Montgomery, There You Are!

There is irony in the fact that the line I’ve had the least success in tracing is my own paternal Montgomery line. I currently hit the proverbial brick wall with my 3G-grandfather, William Montgomery. Born February 19, 1802 in Pennsylania, his parentage is as yet unknown.

That was the paragraph I had written earlier today. I probably would have continued on to talk about how a fairly common name like Montgomery, and no specific city for beginning my search, complicates matters. But in reviewing sources on Ancestry.com I discovered something brand-new (to me): baptismal records for Old Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia – and there is William – the February 19 birthdate that appears on his tombstone, and a baptismal date of March 21. These particular records still don’t list William’s parents – but this gives a whole new avenue for the search!

So, to continue with what I already knew before today…

William married Mary Ann Extell on September 27, 1827 in Pleasant Mills, Gloucester (now Atlantic) County, New Jersey; William was 25 and Mary Ann 18. According to their marriage record, William was from Batsto and Mary Ann from Pleasant Mills.

The 1830 census finds the family in Fairfield, Cumberland County. Their location in 1840 is uncertain (tracing census records prior to 1850 when each individual began to be enumerated individually by name is always trickier). By 1850 the family has moved westward to Clark, Ohio; William and Mary Ann are now joined by John, aged 20; Samuel, 18; David, 16; Thomas, 14; Mary E., 10; Susan, 8; William, 5; Joseph, 3; and Edward, 7/12.

William appears in only one more census, again in Clark, Ohio. Another child, Sarah (age 6) has been added to the family; other children had apparently been born but hadn’t survived. On October 6, 1868 William died in Lynchburg, Ohio. He is buried in Lynchburg’s Masonic Cemetery.

Blogging Prompts, Census, Census Sunday, Montgomery Line, Research, Walker

Census Sunday – George and Sarah Walker

In 1850, my 3G-grandparents, George and Sarah Walker, were living in Batavia, Ohio and were enumerated there with six children:

383 383 George Walker 68 M[ale] Farmer Maryland
Sarah ” 57 F[emale] Kentucky x [can’t read/write]
Hiram ” 21 M Farmer Ohio
Marcus ” 20 M Farmer “
Ruth ” 18 F “
Mary ” 16 F “
Ezra B. ” 13 M Indiana
Ellen ” 10 F Ohio

George was born about 1781-1782; his parents are as yet unknown. Sarah was born Sarah Malott about 1792-1793. The couple was married July 23, 1815 in Clermont County. George and Sarah’s son Marcus, my great-great-grandfather, would marry Mary Ann Conklin seven years later.

Blogging Prompts, Census, Death Certificates, Montgomery Line, Research, Roberg, Sympathy Saturday, Wilson

Sympathy Saturday – Grandma Wilson

Of my 8 great-grandparents, the only one I ever met was Grandma Wilson: Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. Had she not lived to the age of 97, I might not have met her either. As it was, I only met her once, when I was three. I have dim memories of that meeting, of visiting the nursing home where she lived, and the fact that she gave me a dollar.

Sophie was born November 5, 1881 in Boone County, Nebraska, the daughter of Anders and Agnette (Lien) Roberg, who were both born in Norway. On March 13, 1907 Sophie married Carl Ozro Wilson in Boone County, and they had a total of 10 children: Anders Clarence, Blanche Agnes (my grandma), Ozro Willie, Pearl Jeanette, Clarence Salmer, Woodrow, Mildred Genevieve, Irene Sophie, Maude Lucille, and Lester Laverne.

About 1915 the family moved from Nebraska to South Dakota; in 1920 they were enumerated in Cody, Mellette County. By 1930 Sophie and Carl had separated; that year’s census finds Carl living as a boarder in a hotel in Wood, South Dakota, and Sophie and her children in Witten, South Dakota, where she is employed taking in washing. Carl died in 1939, and in 1940 Sophie and those children still left at home are again in Witten, though the information she provided indicates that five years earlier she had been living in rural Tripp County.

Beginning in 1964 Grandma Wilson resided at the Winner Nursing Home in Winner, South Dakota; she suffered from diabetes. She died at McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls on September 24, 1979, a little more than a month shy of her 98th birthday. She was buried September 27 in the Winner Cemetery, near her estranged husband as well as her infant son Woodrow, who had died more than 60 years earlier.

Carl and Sophie Wilson and Family
Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Census, Friday's Faces From the Past, Montgomery Line, Research, Wilson

Friday’s Faces from the Past – Rita Blanche Walker

In Grandma and Grandpa Montgomery’s house there were two photographs that fascinated me from an early age and sparked my interest in family history. One was the family portrait of grandma’s mother Sophie with her parents and siblings. The one posted here was the other. I was intrigued by the perfectly smooth ringlets and the giant hair bow – no one in 1986 could get away with looking like that.

Grandma told me a little more about the photo, and I memorized every detail – the photo shows Grandma’s first cousin, Rita Blanche Walker, when she was twelve years old. I later pieced together more of Rita’s history – she was the daughter of Ross and Carolyne Blanch (Wilson) Walker and was born, according to the 1920 census, between 1912 and 1913 in Minnesota. Carolyne’s brother was Carl Ozro Wilson, Grandma’s father. In that census and in 1930, Rita and her parents were living in Grass Range, Montana; by 1930 Rita’s younger sister Jessie M., born about 1920, had joined the family. By 1940 Carolyne was recently widowed and now living in Polson, Montana, with both Rita and Jessie still at home.  Jessie, 19, is listed as a grocery sales clerk, and Rita, 27, as an English teacher earning $1200 yearly. She had completed three years of college.

Ross and Carolyne’s grave appears on the Find-a-Grave website, listed in Polson’s Lakeview Cemetery.  Rita’s history after 1940, however, remains a mystery. As for her photo, as well as that of Grandma’s mother and family? Both are safely here with me.

Blogging Prompts, Census, Montgomery Line, Research, Roberg, Thriller Thursday, Wilson

Thriller Thursday – The Disappearance of Sena Roberg

One of the stories that sparked my early interest in genealogy and family history is that of Sena Roberg. Born June 2, 1884 in Boone County, Nebraska to Anders and Agnette Roberg, she was the younger sister of my great-grandmother Sophie (Roberg) Wilson. My grandma, in relating to me the history of her family, stated simply that Sena had “disappeared” and that no one ever knew what became of her.

She appears in the 1900 census with her parents and brothers, apparently nicknamed “Sadie.”  Three years later she married Charles A. Johnson, born about 1873. On August 9, 1906 their daughter Esther was born. As has been detailed before, in October 1908 Charles traveled to enter a homestead drawing but never returned, having been run over by a train at the Oakdale (Nebraska) Railroad Yards. Sena was apparently expecting another child at this time.

In the 1910 census, Sena is again living with her parents and two daughters: Esther, age 3, and Clara, age 1. Research by cousin David Johnson reveals a history of legal disputes over Sena’s inheritance from her husband, guardianship of her daughters, and compensation demanded as a result of Charles Johnson’s death.

Sena married at least twice more – once to H. E. Fisher around 1911, then to a Mr. Evans (a traveling salesman) before 1915. I have yet to find her in any other census records. According to stories told by her sister Sophie, she later moved to Omaha, came home for a visit, then returned to Omaha to have minor surgery, and was never heard from again, in spite of newspaper advertisements attempting to locate her.

Her daughters on April 6, 1915 had been placed under the guardianship of their grandfather Anders, though they may have continued to live with a family named Bruland. I’m unsure what became of Clara, but Esther would marry John Bowen and remain in touch with her cousin, my grandmother, over the years.  Esther died February 23, 1997 in Nebraska.