Conklin, Family News, Hoffmann, Vital Statistics, Wilson

What’s in a Name?

I’ve always found names fascinating.  The stories I would write when I was little always involved families with hordes of children because coming up with names for all of them was my favorite part of the writing process. I often hear people say they don’t want genealogy to be just “a list of names and dates.” While it’s true I love to have all the facts to flesh out the stories of who these relatives are, sometimes even just getting that “list of names” is rewarding.

For example, who wouldn’t be thrilled to find they shared a common ancestry with someone named Grimpie Brittimart Gobble? Or another favorite name, Grizzel Spratt? And sometimes I would come across my own real-life family with hordes of children, like the offspring of Samuel Willson (my 7th-great-grandfather):  John, Mary, Olive, Benjamin, Molley, Samuel, Ester, Eunice, Louis, Persis, Jenne, Nahum, and Elizabeth.

And then there are the “family names” that recur throughout our family history. My nephew, Benjamin Leander Montgomery, for example, has two family names.  His first and middle names were the middle names of his great-grandfathers.  “Benjamin” for Joseph Benjamin Hoffmann, and “Leander” for Herman Leander Likness.

Other names were common in the family generations ago, but not any longer. A prime example is “Tacy,” from the Latin for “silence.”  A quick search indicates there are 46 Tacies in our family tree, but none born since 1893.

Then, of course, there are the name mysteries. Grandpa Montgomery comes to mind first. At different times in his life he went by Lawrence Theodore or by Lawrence Conklin.  The story I remember hearing was that he was never sure which was his real middle name, so he used both interchangeably.  Theodore was the middle name of one of Grandpa’s uncles (Joseph Theodore Montgomery) and was passed on to my father when he was born, and Conklin was the maiden name of Grandpa’s maternal grandmother, Mary Ann.

So, what isn’t in a name?

Marriage License of Marcus Walker and Mary Conklin
Marriage License of Marcus Walker and Mary Conklin
Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Obituaries, Research, Swing

Catherine Marie Hoffmann Swing

Mrs. Catherine Swing

Called To Her Reward


Mrs. Albert Swing passed away at her home on Brooks street last Sunday, after an illness of some time, the ailment finally being diagnosed as cancer of the stomach.

Mrs. Swing, with her husband and children, moved to this vicinity in 1909, for many years residing on the farm 1 3/4 miles southeast of town now occupied by Romeo Gudeman. They later purchased the farm in Hanging Grove township, Jasper county, now occupied by her son, Paul Swing, where her husband died about eight years ago. She continued to operate the farm until five years ago, when she purchased her home in town.

Catherine Hoffman was born in Remicourt, France, February 2, 1862, and was the daughter of Jacob and Anna Hoffman. She died at her home in Francesville, on Sunday, March 15, 1931, at the age of 69 years, 1 month and 13 days.

When but a small girl her parents moved to Vitrey, France, where she spent her girlhood. In 1881, she came to America, settling in Illinois.

She united with the Christian Apostolic church at the age of 21 years, remaining a true Christian and a wonderful mother to the end.

In 1884 she was married to Albert Swing, and they started farming near Fairbury, Illinois, later moving to near Cissna Park, Illinois, from where they moved to Wolcott, Indiana, in 1904.

To this union were born thirteen children: Mrs. Martha Slagel, Mrs. Lena Nussbaum and Albert Swing, of Fairbury, Illinois; Joe Swing, of near Hoopeston, Illinois; Mrs. Kathryn Shumaker, of Metamora, Illinois; Mrs. Anna Getz, of Tremont, Illinois; Mrs. May Kopka, and Charles and Paul Swing near Francesville, and Esther, Naomi and George Swing at home.

Besides her children, she leaves to mourn her loss 38 grandchildren, six sisters and five brothers, and a host of warm friends.

Funeral services were held Wednesday forenoon at the Christian Apostolic church, and a very large concourse of relatives and friends accompanied the remains to the cemetery east of town, where she was buried.


Earth has lost its look of gladness,

Heaven seems to us more bright;

Since the spirit of our loved one

Took its happy homeward flight.

Oh, that dear one, how we loved her;

Oh, how hard to give her up,

But an angel came down for her,

And removed her from our flock.

Montgomery Line, Obituaries, Wilson

Carl Ozro Wilson

From Winner (South Dakota) Newspaper

Old Time Resident Dies of Heart Attack

This community was shocked Saturday morning about ten o’clock when it became known that Carl O. Wilson had sucumbed [sic] to a heart attack at his place of business.

Mr. Wilson was apparently in good health that morning, got up and partook of his usual breakfast, and remarked that he was feeling fine. He was manager in charge of the municipal liquor store here in Wood and was just entering his place of business when the final summons came.

Mr. Wilson was born February 8, 1886, at Creighton, Neb., and was therefore aged 53 year, four months, and one day when he answered the final summons of his Maker.  He lived with his parents there and on March 13, 1907, he was united in marriage to Miss Sophie Roberg, in Boone County, Nebraska.  To this union ten children were born, five sons and five daughters, two of the sons preceding him in death.  After his marriage he was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church in Newman Grove, Neb.
He and his wife made their home at Newman Grove, Neb., until the year 1915, when the family moved to Mellette county, taking up a homestead in the Bad Nation community northeast of Wood, and he had made Mellette county his home ever since.  In 1929 he moved to Wood and since that time he has been operating a restaurant for the greater part of time.  He was of a rather jovial disposition, and was a man who had a faculty of acquiring friends.  Less than a month ago he became manager of the first municipal liquor store here in Wood.

The deceased is survived by his widow, who for several years has been making her home at Witten, and five daughters, Mrs. Blanche Montgomery of Scottsbluff, Neb., Mrs. Percy Frainer [sic] of Ft. Pieere, [sic] S.D., Miss Mildred Wilson of Winner, Miss Irene of Sioux Falls, and Miss Maude of Witten, and three sons, Ozro and Clarence of Wood, and Lester of Witten.  He is also survived by two brothers, W.D. Hubbard of Baker, Mont. And Jerry Wilson of Sisseton, S.D., and three sisters, Mrs. Maude Carter of Pierre, Mrs. R.E. Raymaker of Missoula, Mont., and Mrs. Ross Walker of Polson, Mont.

Funeral services were held in the Paradise theatre in Wood at ten o’clock Tuesday morning, and the theatre was filled to capacity with friends of the deceased who came to pay their last respects to the departed one.  Rev. Wold of the Baptist church at Witten preached the funeral sermon, and sextette of girls furnished the music, with Mrs. Jessie McDonald at the piano.  There were many beautiful floral pieces that nearly covered the casket, the tributes of friends.  The remains were taken to Winner to be laid beside those of his son in the Winner cemetery.


Captain Montgomery

One of the most interesting discoveries I have made recently is finding information regarding the 48th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, which fought in the Civil War and included a Montgomery cousin, Thomas Montgomery, and his brother-in-law John A. Bering (Thomas’s sister Susan was John’s first wife). The 48th Ohio fought at the battles of Shiloh and Vicksburg, among others. Following their war experiences, the two men collaborated on a memoir which was published in 1880 and is now available online.

Thomas Montgomery, 1905

Thomas Montgomery was born in New Jersey in 1837, the fourth son of William and Mary Ann (Extell) Montgomery. His eldest brother John was our direct ancestor. By 1850 the family was living in Clinton County, Ohio, where, 10 years later, Thomas was listed in the census as a schoolteacher. Thomas’s military career covered the four years of the Civil War, after which he appears to have settled down in Highland County, Ohio. His wife, Elizabeth, was born between 1844 and 1845 in Ohio, and their first child, Stella May, was born between 1866 and 1867. Based on a photo of the Montgomery family, 5 more children followed, though I only have details on 4:  Walter T. (b. November 1870), Maud (b. 1872-1873), Harley H. (b. March 1876), and Milton Clark (b. 1878-1879). In 1870 the census listed Thomas as a livery stable keeper, and in 1880 as a U. S. Storekeeper. Thomas died 13 July 1907 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Lynchburg, Highland County, Ohio.

Thanks to the 48th OVVI website for many of these details.


The Two Mrs. Wilsons

Yes, it has been a very long time since I’ve written here, and I hope to start writing more regularly going forward! I am continuing with my never-ending “Family Census Project” – tracing each family in each census from 1850-1930. I always enjoy jumping ahead 10 years to find new children born to a family, or to discover a that widowed sister-in-law or mother has now taken up residence with a young family.

Having come from a long line of Lutheran (and, further back, Seventh-Day Baptist or Apostolic Christian) stock, however, it took me a little while to catch on to what I was seeing with my 4th cousin five times removed, John Gill Wilson, in the 1860 census. John’s great-great-grandfather, Joseph Willson, was the brother of our director ancestor, Samuel Willson, and I had been placidly tracing his descendants through the census records. John was born 14 August 1829 in Green Township, Richland, Ohio, and in 1850 was still living at home with his parents in Decatur, Iowa. Tracing John forward to 1860, however, I found him in Ogden, Utah, 35 years old and farming, with a number of small children, but also with Lucy, age 30, born in Indiana, and Polly, age 21, born in Missouri.

It didn’t take much searching to locate a number of LDS family history sites, including The Life, Times & Family of Orson Pratt Brown, which confirmed that both Lucy and Polly were the wives of our relative John Gill Wilson.  In 1860 the census taker listed all the children in order by age, but in 1870 each group of children is listed separately with their mother, making it easier to determine each child’s parentage.  By 1880, the Wilson household consisted of 17 individuals.  This is the sort of discovery that certainly adds a little color to census research!

June 5 1880 Hyrum Precinct Cache Utah Page 18 Enum 10
152 153 Wilson John W M 50 x [married] Farmer Ohio Vermont Penn
—Lucy W F 49 wife keeping house Ind. New York New York
—Elvira W F 39 wife keeping house Mo. New York New York
—Orson W M 21 Son x [single] Works on farm x [school] Utah New York Ind.
—Alma W M 21 Son x Works on farm Utah New York Mo.
—Ezra W M 19 Son x Works on farm Utah New York Ind.
—George W M 19 Son x Works on farm Utah New York Mo.
—Beletta W F 17 Daughter x At home Utah New York Ind.
—Emma W F 17 Daughter x At home Utah New York Mo.
—Charles W M 15 Son x Works on farm x Utah new York Ind.
—Adeline W F 14 Daughter x At home x Utah New York Mo.
—C. WIlliam W M 12 Son x At School x Utah New York Ind.
—Frank W M 12 Son x At School x Utah New York Mo.
—Joseph W M 9 Son x x Utah New York Mo.
—Alice W F 6 Daughter x Utah New York Mo.
—Lycurgus W M 3 Son x Utah New York Mo.
—Isaac W M 7/12 Oct Son x Utah New York Mo.



I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not writing as many posts as I ought to! Since my goal here is to keep everyone up to speed on all my genealogy and family history discoveries, I plan to write more often about my research progress even if I haven’t received any earth-shattering revelations. So what am I up to now? My major addiction is my current “Census Project”–using the census images at to trace all our family branches from 1850 (the first year that every individual in a household was listed by name) to 1930 (the most recent census available). I am working my way very slowly through the Davises right now, many of them located in Doddridge County, West Virginia. My target family today was Anderson G. Davis and his wife Millie (or Mollie) Dotson. All the West Virginia research is made easier by the fact that one of the databases contains information on West Virginia marriages prior to 1900–this really simplifies the process of tracing an individual from their childhood home to their own home and family after marriage. This particular branch of the Davis family also contains quite a few unusual names–among the siblings of Anderson Davis were Zacharias, Elvira, Donmanuel, Elijah, Elkana, Sylvanus, Penelope, and Vandelee. All the unusual names help with the tracking process–especially with a common surname like Davis. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever see the end of the Census Project–and then I realize I don’t really want to!