23 July 2015

Resource: Old Lutheran Migration

The latest issue of American Ancestors has a great surprise!  American Ancestors is a publication of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and I'm used to finding info about my maternal grandfather's Colonial New England ancestry in almost every issue.  I was unhappy about 2 years ago when the society decided to open their focus to be much more general: there'd be less content for me but I could understand their need to appeal to more people and make more money to support the society...so...

I never expected to find an article directly relevant to my Hegwer line!  While Carl Benjamin Hegwer and Maria Rosina (Ilgner) Hegwer are not specifically mentioned, "George Dopf and the Old Lutheran Migration of 1839" is a very good article about the nature of their immigration in 1839.  It's very hard (as in near impossible?) to find scholarly things in English about the early 1800s in Silesia, so this article is a real treat.  The ship the Hegwer's were on left Hamburg 1 Jul 1839 and is the one described in this article, arriving NY on 24 Aug 1839. 

Wherever the article refers to the Silesia group, that's us!  There is no doubt that Carl Benjamin Hegwer knew Krause and Grabau, and probably Rohr, too.  There was quite a bit of documented 'drama' among the 3 ministers, the Buffalo congregation, and the Wisconsin groups that has been left out of this article.  You can't fit everything in one article!

I had no idea that any of the travel documents needed by the Old Lutherans to leave Prussia still existed.  I can't wait to follow author McGrath's reference list and see if I can find some new info specific to the Hegwer's or Ilgner's.  Records from the part of Silesia now in Poland are harder to find than those now in Germany, but I'll still try... and maybe the Hegwer/Ilgner party had already started to move and were interrogated along the way, leaving records in what is now Germany???

McGrath, Lawrence R. "George Dopf and the Old Lutheran Migration of 1839." American AncestorsVol. 16 (2), Spring 2015, pages 37-40 & 59.

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21 July 2015

Great-Great-Grandfather Homer Thomas Porter

Clipping from the St. Albans Messenger of St. Albans, Vermont.  This obituary appeared Thursday, 31 Dec 1903 on page 8.  I found it through GenealogyBank.com; I'm very happy with my new subscription!*

Homer Thomas Porter and Dolly Bates are one set of my maternal great-great-grandparents.  It's always nice to have an obituary for an ancestor, but this one is especially nice for several reasons:
  --It specifies where he was living when he died.
  --Dolly Ann (Bates) is named as his late wife.
  --His father, Thomas, is named. With common names, it's always nice to have generations linked!
  --It not only says where Dolly was when she died, it also specifies why she was so far from Vermont.
  --Surviving relatives are named and residences specified.
  --His religion and commitment to it are included.

I had most of these events but only from a distant family  member.  Granted, an obituary may not be reliable but this one is still closer to being original than what I had previously.  All input considered, I'm feeling pretty good about reliability.  What I had is confirmed and I'm able to fill in some very meaningful new details.

And, I have something new to research: What was the "battle of Plattsburg" and why is it still mentioned 90 years later???

Line of Descent

For the curious or the observant, Dolly Ann (Bates) Porter and her mother-in-law Abigail (Bates) Porter are not closely related.  Abigail is a descendent of Clement Bates, while Dolly Ann is a descendent of Edward Bates of Weymouth.

I am a new, paid subscriber to GenealogyBank.  I do not receive any favor from them beyond my subscription.

05 July 2015

Portrait of a Great Great: Mary Mason

With a full quarter of my ancestry coming from the Great Migration, I'm used to finding the occasional mention in American Ancestors, one of the periodical publications of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  But the Winter 2015 (Vol. 16, No. 1) has set a new standard here for excitement!

One article is primarily about Abigail Smith Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincey Adams [1].  Author Michelle Marchetti Coughlin hypothesizes howAbigail's maternal great-grandparents may have affected Abigail.  Luckily for me, those maternal great-grandparents are also my 8th-great-grandparents, John NORTON and Mary MASON.

The entire article is very interesting and includes a good deal of family history information and detail, far beyond birth-marriage-death.  The great surprise is a portrait of Mary Mason, circa 1670!  The actual portrait, artist unknown, is on display at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts.  As part of the United States National Park Service (NPS), the website is great, too.  It includes a Photo Gallery with eight sections, one of which is Portraits in the Old House. Of the 32 portraits shown there, one is of "Mary Mason, circa 1670" and a download is available.  My illustration here is a clip of that NPS download. Please visit their fine site for your own full copy.


  • Join national genealogy societies!
  • Read their publications and be prepared for surprises!
  • Appreciate fine government websites!

Line of Descent
Rev. John Norton = Mary Mason
Capt. John Norton = Elizabeth Thaxter
William Norton = Elizabeth Bennett
Moses Bates = Hannah Norton
Moses Bates = Ruth Shaw
Norton Bates = Betsey Sweet
Homer Thomas Porter = Dolly Ann Bates
Celim Homer Porter = Clara Evelene Davidson
my Grandpa Porter

[1] Coughlin, Michelle Coughlin. "A shared sensibility: Examining the legacy of John and Mary (Mason) Norton, maternal great-grandparents of Abigail Smith Adams." American Ancestors, 16 (1): 47-51.

26 June 2015

Just a Great Coincidence?

My mother would have been 93 years old today but I wouldn't be blogging about it if it hadn't been for today's obituary section of the Los Angeles Times.  About 60% of Section B, page 6 is filled with the obituary of Patrick Macnee and includes a classic image from "The Avengers."  I was surprised to see that he shared her birth year.  He was one of mom's most favorite actors: she loved "The Avengers" with Macnee and Diana Rigg, but she would watch them no matter which female lead was present.  I have very fond memories of watching the episodes in the 1960's with Mom.  In later years, she was always ecstatic when she found reruns on TV.

The remaining 40% of the page was the obituary of Don Featherstone, designer of the vivid pink plastic garden flamingoes of 1957.  The obituary includes a cute image of Featherstone with oodles of his flamingoes.  Mom loved garden art, especially animals.  We had several of those original flamingoes and she added/replaced them over the years; I have no idea how many she had in her lifetime.  And, I never had any trouble finding a gift for her for any event or just because!

It's hard to believe it's merely a coincidence that, on her birthday, a whole page of the newspaper is consumed by two things she loved.  I hope the families of Patrick Macnee and Don Featherstone realize how many memories they created for so many people.

My brother and I split her garden art.  I think she might have been surprised to know we have kept it.  I know she'd be surprised to see that I have added to it.

 I need to get a pink flamingo as soon as possible.

[Images all by me of some of Mom's garden art in my yard -- all rights reserved.]

10 June 2015

Great Image of Henry Hegwer

I was extremely successful at the TechZone at SCGS Jamboree this year!  I am extremely happy to have found an obituary for Great-Grand-Uncle Henry Hegwer, ninth child of my great-great-grandparents Carl Benjamin and Maria Rosina (Ilgner) Hegwer. It's fairly lengthy and with a style of excess that fit the era.  There are some errors but mostly sins of omission and exaggeration.  The great thing that got me so excited is the image of Henry that was included!

This is a screen clip from the Denver Post of 15 Dec 1921, p. 10, cols. 5-6 obituary accessed through GenealogyBank.  It's not the best quality and I don't see a lot of resemblance to present day Hegwer's, but he does clearly have a Hegwer-style forehead!  Maybe there's still hope that I'll, one day, find a photo of his baby brother, my great-grandfather, Charles Hegwer….

I do want to take the time to point out two main errors in this obituary:

  • Henry was born 8 Oct 1842 in Freistadt, Ozaukee, Wisconsin.  The family did not go to Kansas until 1857.
  • Henry was married three times: Kate Hornberger, Flora Wallace, and Fritchie (Knight) Conda.  The marriage to Mrs. Conda lasted only about five weeks before Henry filed for divorce, which was granted a year later, but that's still a marriage.
Thank you, Southern California Genealogy Society! Thank you, GenealogyBank!  I'm very happy to have this image of Henry Hegwer!

08 June 2015

Less-than-Accurate Obituary : Flora (Wallace) Hegwer

Moral: It may be in print but that doesn't make it complete...

Great Grand-Uncle Henry Hegwer's second wife was Flora C. (Wallace) Hegwer.  I just found an obituary for her at GenealogyBank from the Denver Post of 7 February 1910, p.2, col. 6, thanks to the TechZone at SCGS Jamboree!

I'm very happy to have this obituary because it shows that great-grand-uncle Henry, who had these children and married Flora, also used the name "Ferdinand."   I was confident that they were the same person, but it's nice to have confirmation in print.  I've blogged before about Henry...it seems there is no end to his adventures.

Transcription, with slashes indicating paragraphs:
Wife of Prominent Politician is Dead / Early Sunday morning Mrs. Flora C. Hegwer, wife of Ferdinand H. Hegwer, and for years a prominent Republican political worker, died at her home, 4428 Elizabeth street. Mrs. Hegwer had been a resident of Denver for over twenty years, coming here from Francisco, Ind. She was 43 years old and her death was brought on by a complication of diseases. Besides her husband, Mrs. Hegwer is survived by five children, Harry H., Otto W., Lela, Leonard and Mrs. Clara Lowe, all of this city.  The funeral services will be held from the family residence Tuesday afternoon. / Mrs. Hegwer is survived by her husband and five children, Harry H. Hegwer, Otto W Hegwer, Lela Hegwer, Leonard Hegwer and Mrs Clara Lowe, all of Denver. Two sons of Mrs. Hegwer died in the Philippines during the Spanish-American war.  They were Oscar W. Hegwer and Albert C. Hegwer. Both were members of the First Colorado regiment, Compay E. Harry H. Hegwer was also with the Colorado regiment in the Philippines.  Ferdinand H. Hegwer, the husband, is a veteran of the civil war and is commander of the recently organized Indian War Veterans of Colorado. / The funeral of Mrs. Hegwer will be from the family residence tomorrow afternoon.
[Yes, the obituary repeats the names of the children and date of the services.]

Alternative Information

  • "Henry" is much more commonly used as his first name.  Early records, military, headstone, etc., are "Henry."  He seems to have started using "Ferdinand" around the time of the boiler explosion scandal.
  • Flora's first child, Otto, was born in Kansas in 1886 and the couple was definitely in Kansas in 1888 for court cases about the "Hegwer Houses" and at least one related lien on property Henry had in Flora's name.  Yes, Flora was born in Indiana, but every indication is that they were in Kansas for at least a few years before Colorado. [ie, 1900 US Census, Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado]
  • Clara, Albert, Oscar, and Harry were children by Henry's first wife, Kate Hornberger, who presumably died before 1885. [ie, 1880 US Census, Grant, Reno, Kansas]
  • Albert died in San Francisco in a military hospital on the way to the Philippines; he was in Company I at the time. He is buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery. [ie, San Juan Prospector, 20 Aug 1898, p.1]
  • Oscar attended to his brother all through his short illness in San Francisco and then continued on to the Philippines.  He returned to Denver after serving about one year but was already ill when he arrived home.  He died a few weeks later. [i.e., Denver Evening Post, 15 Oct 1899, p.6, col.D]

I had already accumulated a great deal of info on Henry when I found this obituary, so I knew it was inaccurate.  I hope researchers for whom this obituary is their first great find about Henry have the good sense to keep looking.

Full source citations gladly available upon request.

03 June 2015

Keating Variations

Céitinn, Cateing, Cating, Cayting, Ceating, Ceitin, Ceitinn, Kaiting, Kateing, Kating, Katting, Keatance, Keateing, Keatinge, Keatings, Keatting, Keeting, Keetinge, Keting, Ketinge, Ketting, Kettinge, Ketyng, Ketynge, Mac Céitín, MacKeating, McKeating

From the Irish Times webpage.  I've blogged about this resource many years ago.  It's good to revisit great resources periodically!

More possibilities abound: trade C for K, double vowels, omit second vowels, maybe trade a D for K and so on….

31 May 2015

Great Resource: Maps of Morrow County, Ohio

This is just a clip of the Chester map from 1857.  Visit their website to see much more!

The Morrow County Engineer website includes several links to county and township maps.  The section titled "Misc Maps" is especially interesting since it includes the 1857 atlas maps, which it says were taken from actual surveys. Eight other Morrow County atlas maps are also included, dating from1871 to 1989.  The map is in a pdf file and is very, very slow to load, so I'm not including that specific link here.  Visit the 'Misc Maps' link and select the atlas map of your choice.

My SHAW and MILLER lines were in Chester, Knox County from the early 1800s.  Morrow County was created in 1847 and Chester was one of the areas reassigned.  Robert Shaw and Sarah Miller were in Missouri for the 1840 & 1850 censuses, but I can't find them in 1860…I wonder if they went back to Ohio?  This 1857 maps show that there were still Miller's in town.  Adjacent names are familiar, too.

I found this resource from a footnote in an article in the Ohio Genealogical Society's Ohio Genealogy News, Fall 2014 (45:3, p.21) by Corinne Bertin Konecny.  My membership in OGS has paid for itself many times over through all I've learn through its publications.