08 February 2010

Who are four of these people?

I only know who one of the people in this photo is.

The young lady on the far right is Tena/Trientje Janssen Ufkes (1895-1986).

Tena was born in Bear Creek Township in February of 1895 and died in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1986.

I do not know who the others are in the picture. This photograph was one that my grandparents had. Tena's son John H. Ufkes (1917-2003), was my grandfather.

Any suggestions as to who the others are would be greatly appreciated.

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11 November 2009

World War 2 Old Men's Draft Registration Card

It's worth noting that some of the "military" records are for men who never saw service--draft registrations come to mind very quickly.

This card is for Frederick J. Ufkes, who registered for the "old men's draft" in 1944. The 48 year old is my great-grandfather.
So when you are looking at those military records, think about draft cards as well.
(this is for Nancy U--her Granddad).


04 July 2009

John Ufkes 1872

On 4 September 1872, my ancestor John H. Ufkes was in Franklin County, Nebraska, where he initiated a homestead claim. I've written about this claim before, but thought I'd post his signature here.
This is one of the earliest records we have of John in the United States.


28 June 2009

Fritz or Fred?

This is a partial list of the expenses in the accounting of the guardianship of Ommo Fooken, etal, in Hancock County Circuit Court in 1917. The documents were really copied because I needed a sample to show my trip attendees how to use the digital scanner while at the Family History Library last May.

I'm glad now that I scanned the documents. The last line on this image indicated that the guardian bought two bushels of clover seed from my great-grandfather, styled as Fritz J. Ufkes. I knew he went by Fritz as a youth, but figured by this point in time (he was married and had a child by the date of this document) he would be shown as Fred. Actually in an entry from 1918, he is styled as Fred Ufkes when he is paid $9 on Feburuary 28, 1918 for hauling sand for a dam that was built on the Fooken farm.

His brother Eielt was the guardian of the Fooken children. Their mother was Lena Ufkes one of Fred and Eielt's two sisters. Lena and her husband Poppo died while the children were small.

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04 December 2008

Habben Family Found in 1880 Mortality Schedule at Ancestry.com

I already knew they were there, but it was nice to find them in just a few clicks.

The image contained in this blog post contains part of the 1880 mortality census schedule for my aunt Christina Habben and her son Harm. They died in Harmony Township, Hancock County, Illinois. Interestingly the entry indicates that she had been in the county for 12 years and son Harm for 10 years.

I've also included the search results page for Christina from Ancestry.com as well. I really wish they would not use the word "city" on the results, but I realize that database administrators have to pick some word to use. The problem is that the political jurisdictions smaller than county are not always cities, sometimes they are townships. There is no town of Harmony in Hancock County.

The 1880 mortality schedules provide information on:

  • gender
  • marital status
  • place of birth
  • age
  • month of death
  • cause of death
  • census year
  • and location
  • how long in the county

Remember that mortality schedules are a "census of the dead," and only are for those deaths that took place in the 12 calendar months before the census date. So the 1880 mortality schedule not deaths for all of 1880. It is deaths in the 12 months preceding the date of the 1880 census--1 June 1880.

The 1850-1880 United States Mortality Schedules can be searched here.

These records were microfilmed by the National Archives years ago and have been available there at at the Family History Library for some time as well.

Christina was a sister to Johann Ufkes (1838-1924), my great-great-grandfather.

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24 November 2008

Could your Ancestors Read What they Signed?

It never really dawned on me until just now. Just how literate was your ancestor?

The clipping in this blog indicates that my ancestor did not learn to read English until he was 60 years of age. By this point in time, he had
  • become a citizen
  • married
  • bought and sold a mill
  • bought and sold several pieces of real estate

All without being able to read English. I know John could easily read German, so literacy wasn't a problem. And there is also a very good chance that others in his neighborhood here in the United States could read English if he needed it and there probably was at least one local lawyer, bank clerk, etc. who could speak and read German.

But it makes the point. Even if your ancestors were literate, what documents did they sign that they could not read? And what if they had no one nearby to help them translate?

Just a little food for thought.

And a reminder that when John naturalized in the 1870s, there was no language requirement. Just stating a fact--we try to avoid getting political here. Although readers of the newspaper clipping will note that it indicates John indicates he was a Republican, but does not express himself against Woodrow Wilson or the present administration. Maybe John was just a little bit of a politician, like two of his grandsons.


Making a Chronology

Order is good. I took a little time to organize the materials in John Ufkes' cancelled homestead application file from the National Archives.
  • 19 August 1871 John Ufkes filed a declaration of intent to become a citizen in Hancock County, Illinois. The copy of the declaration contained in his homestead application file is dated the same day.
  • 4 September 1871 John pays $13.80 to enter his claim for the northeast quarter of section 4 in township 3 range 15 in Franklin County, Nebraska. The property was 151.87 acres and the claim was entered in the Lowell, Nebraska, land office.
  • 20 November 1873 William Briggs claims John Ufkes has abandoned his claim.
  • 29 Dec 1873 Is the summons date on which John Ufkes is to appear if he wants to defend his claim. Ufkes does not appear and on this date the claim is cancelled by the Register.
  • 17 Jan 1874 The publisher of the Adams County Gazette says that for four weeks in November and December of 1873 he published notice for John Ufkes to appear at the hearing on 29 December.

Doing this is more than a simple exercise. Fully analyzing this information requires me to put it into a complete chronology of John's life. Two other dates are crucial here--John's immigration in March of 1869 and his marriage in Hancock County, Illinois, on 3 March 1874. John is known to have been in Adams and Hancock Counties in Illinois shortly after his arrival in the United States (staying with family).

Based upon the dates in his homestead file, John should be in Illinois in the 1870 census. To date, despite numerous searches, he has not been located in that record. Based upon the homestead application, he was in Nebraska on 4 September 1872, but how long he had been there and how long he stayed after that date is debatable. On 20 Nov 1873, Briggs claims John had abandonded his homestead--probably indicating John had been away from it for some time, perhaps all of 1873.

Family tradition was that John thought Nebraska was "too wild" and not a place to raise a family. His sister and her husband moved to Franklin County, Nebraska, shortly after the 1880 census. John returned to Hancock County, Illinois, where he married and remained for the remainder of his life (except for a few years when he farmed near Golden, Adams County, Illinois).


Homestead Applications Include Proof of Citizenship

It will be a while before I get the entire file on the website, but I have posted one image from John H. Ufkes' homestead application from Franklin County, Nebraska.
The image included with this post is his Declaration of Intent filed in August of 1871 in Hancock County, Illinois, where John originally settled.
Of course, this is not a copy of the actual declaration, but rather a handwritten copy included in his pension file. If the dates are correct, John must have had a copy made the day he filed the intent as the "copy date" is the same as the date on the declaration.
Only citizens or those who had filed a declaration of intent could apply for homestead lands. John started the homestead application on 4 September 1872.
We'll be posting more from the file as time allows.

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06 November 2008

Do Not Forget Rootsweb

I will be honest. It has been a while since I searched at the RootsWeb General Search at Rootsweb. Searching today for my mother's maiden name of Ufkes caused me to locate a a cancelled homestead application for my great-great-grandfather in Nebraska.

The specific page I found was located under the set of web page search results, which searches web pages at Rootsweb.

The actual reference to John is on the GenWeb page for Franklin County, Nebraska, where the property was located. That website has a search engine, but searching for Ufkes on that site's search box did not locate the reference to John H. Ufkes. These search boxes are on many GenWeb county sites and I am now wondering how many are not searching the way we think they are.

We'll post more on John's homestead claim as information is obtained.

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Married in 1916

It is not often one finds out the time their great-grandparents were married. This clipping from one of the Quincy, Illinois, newspapers in 1916 mentions my great-grandparents wedding.
Gossip columns contained all kinds of information, including information about the fact that Mrs. Hattie Garrelts property sold well at her sale.
These newspapers were put online by the Quincy, Illinois Pubic Library and mention many of the outlying towns, including ones outside of Adams County, Illinois, where Quincy is located.
Ancestry.com and Genealogy Bank also have some newspapers as a part of their collections.


Age no Bar to Education

The Quincy Daily Journal of 1915 makes reference to John H. Ufkes, "a good old German farmer" learning English at the age of 60.
This clipping is one of several I have found using the Quincy, Illinois, newspapers that are online for free at the Quincy Public Library's website. I am still making discoveries using the scanned images of these newspapers.
If great-great-grandfather can learn English at the age of 60, I probably can learn how to use the remote that comes with the digital cable (grin).

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28 October 2008

More on Ben Siebels Murder--1930 Tyro, Kansas

Ben Siebels (actually John B. in this enumeration) was listed individually in Caney Township, Montgomery County, Kansas, in the 1930 census. He is listed as a gas station attendant in this reference which was located on Ancestry.com . His parents (Ben and Mary) are also enumerated on the same census page.
Genealogy Bank had two references to the murder of Siebels which were located searching for Everett Haldiman, one of the gunman mentioned in the newspaper article my cousin located in a relative's clippings. Willis Harley was also involved in the murder and two girls, Fern McNabb and Aletha Rush were also involved.

The one clipping shown in this blog post was located on Genealogy Bank and comes from the Dallas Morning News of 30 December 1930. It was located (as can be seen in the image) by searching for Everett Haldiman. There are several name variants that I could also search for as I attempt to learn more about this case. It is certainly tragic.

Ben Siebels maternal grandmother was Annepken Hinrichs Ufkes Habben (1831-1905).

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Siebels Murder

My cousin found several clippings in a relative's family history collection, including one that is partially reproduced here. Ben Siebels was a son of Maria Habben Siebels. Maria was a daughter of Annepken Hinrichs Ufkes (1831-1905). Annepken was a sister to Johann H. F. Ufkes (1838-1924), my 2nd great-grandfather.
The location of Tyro here is Tyro, Kansas. We'll be posting more as time allows. Ben was born in Ostfriesland, Germany. His family came to the United States in the 1910s.


16 June 2008

Finding a Cousin on Ancestry.com

I had just a little time to kill this evening and in a search at Ancestry.com (in their free section), I found a picture of Trientje Habben Nelk, first cousin to my great-grandfather Fred Ufkes (1893-1960). I am going to have to do a little more searching of the trees on Ancestry.com. I have a suspiscion there are more relatives lurking there then I expected.

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23 April 2008

Trientje Eilts Post calligraphy

This is part of the inscription in a book that Trientje Eilts Post (1808-1877) made for her daughter Annebken Hinrichs. The book was given to Annebken in 1851 when the family was living in Holtrop, Ostfriesland, Germany.
The book is in the possession of a family member who graciously scanned the document and shared it with me. This is only a part of the inscription. There is a short verse and a date as well.
We will try and post a copy of the entire image to the site late, but the file size will have to be reduced first.


11 March 2008

Postcard from Johann Ufkes

My cousin has sent me three more letters written by my great-great-grandparents. This time a penny postcard is included that was written by Johann Ufkes (1838-1924). He wrote it to his brother-in-law, who at the time was living in Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois. The address is included as a part of this post.

John's signature on the back of the letter is very difficult to read. There is no "real" postmark, rather the postmaster in Basco, Hancock County, Illinois, wrote the town and the date across the stamp.

The "postmark" is clearly not John's writing as the "I" John uses in the address is not anywhere close to the "I" used in the postmark.
I'm working on getting the letters translated and we'll be posting an update.


18 February 2008

Lina Ufkes Letter from 20 Sept 1887

Thanks to all who submitted suggestions on the name mentioned at the bottom of this letter written by Lina Ufkes on 20 September 1887 with a location of Basco, Illinois. In order to help some read the name I have posted more of the letter here. Clicking on the image will pull up a larger one that should be easier to read.

The name I'm "stuck" on is the one in the fifth line from the bottom, which looks like "Frieden" but may be something else.
We'll post updates as we determine to whom Lina is referring.


15 February 2008

1887-Shooting of Dirk (Frid?) in Enne Hoffman's barn?

This is part of a letter Lina Ufkes wrote to family in Nebraska in 1887, when she was living near Basco, in Hancock County, Illinois.

Starting with the word "Dirk" in the first line, it basically indicates that Dirk (can't read last name) shot himself in the barn of Enne Koffman and that an "English girl" is in mourning.

I'm trying to determine who shot himself in the barn--needing the last name. Lina doesn't really indicate how long ago the shooting took place or where it took place, but her letter was dated 20 September 1887. My assumption (which may be incorrect) is that the event took place in Hancock or Adams Counties in Illinois.

If these details do not ring a bell, I'll start looking at death records in 1887 and newspapers for the same time period.


Finding Noentje's Passenger List

Noentje Lena Grass had been one of those immigrant ancestors I could never find on a manifest. Virtually all of my Ostfriesen ancestors have been found--and I have over twenty who immigrated between 1850 and 1883.

I think I've located the Backemoor, Ostfriesland, native in the New York Passenger lists.

Years ago when I searched, I focused too much on her first name and the variants such as Nontje, Nantje, etc. The recent discovery of letters she wrote in 1887 indicated she might have gone by Lena as well.

Searching the passenger lists for Lena/Lina Gross/Grass brought no results.

I finally gave up on the first name when searching. I went back and revisited her 1900 census entry (it is the last one for her as she died in 1902). On that census (which easily could be wrong) she indicated she came to the US in 1873. I performed the search as shown in the image with this post.

This entry struck my interest.

And when seeing the actual image, it is easy to see how the entry could have been interpreted as Luie. However, it really does appear to be to be Lina.

Next on my list is to look at the other names on the manifest and see if any of them "ring a bell" in my head.

And I will pay close attention particularly to any last or first names that sound Ostfriesen.

We've looked for great-great-grandma for years on passenger lists and I'm just excited to find her (I think).

And it is always important to track your searches as you do them, so you do not repeat searches already done and so that all reasonable searches are conducted.

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08 February 2008

Lina Ufkes Letter 1880s

An Ufkes cousin has sent me digital copies of two or three letters written by my great-great-grandmother, Noentjelina (Lina) Ufkes in the 1880s.

There are four pages of letters and my initial inspection leads me to believe there are actually two or three letters. One is dated "Basco d. 20 September 1887." The letters are nor reproduced here, but I have included images of the signatures from two of the letters.

The recipient of the letters is not known, but the relative who provided them to me believes her grandmother obtained them from John Harms, son of Herman and Antje (Ufkes) Harms. Antje was a sister to Johann (John) Ufkes, Lina's husband. The Harms were married near Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois, and later moved to Nebraska.
Noentjelina was born in Backemoor, Ostfriesland, Germany, in 1848 and died on the family farm near Basco, Hancock County, Illinois in 1902. Other family members are mentioned in the letters, including apparently some of Lina's children, some of her husband's Habben relatives, Tonjes Goldenstein (not related to the Ufkes' but related to me), and others in the area.
We haven't posted the entire letters here, but we are working on getting translations and hope to have those done in the near future. Anyone who is interested in the letters or in translating them can email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.


31 January 2008

Searching 1870 Census

We've posted two articles on our site on searching the 1870 census. The discussion is applicable to other years as well and focuses on alternate spellings for names, variant last names, places of birth, and other issues with locating people in the census. The focus is on organizing and thinking about what you want to search before you start mindlessly entering names in search boxes.

The second article centers on an analysis of entries located while trying to search for Johann Ufkes (born 1838 Ostfriesland, Germany) in the 1870 census and provides some ways to analyze entries.

Unfortunately I have not found either person (Johann Ufkes or Ira Sargent) I was looking for in 1870. But the search continues.

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23 September 2007

Friends on the Farm Reviewed

My great-aunt self-published a book of stories about growing up on her parents farm in Hancock County, Illinois. I am chargined to admit I have not yet read all of it (my Mother kept it so that when Aunt Ruth came to visit, she could sign it for me), but the parts I read were interesting and were told in Aunt Ruth's usual humorous way. She pretty much writes the way she talks and I could almost hear her telling the stories as I read them. You can't do that with all books you read. Of course, knowing some of the people she wrote about doesn't hurt either.

Friends on the Farm has been reviewed by Illinois Times and the review of Aunt Ruth's book is positive. I got a chuckle out of the cow named "Three." I omit the discussion of the name deriviation from this blog, but farm kids or former farm kids, probably already have a good idea where that name came from.


10 September 2007

Fred, Tena, and John Ufkes ca. 1920

Thanks to my great-aunt Ruth, I have a picture of my maternal grandfather, John H. Ufkes (1917-2003) and his parents. My great-grandmother Tena Ufkes (1895-1986, actually born Trientje Janssen) and Fred Ufkes (1893-1960) are also pictured.

Granddad looks to be about 3 or 4, which would make the picture taken around 1920. The 1920 Census shows the Ufkes family living in Bear Creek Township, Hancock County, Illinois, on a rental farm---the farm was actually rented from Fred's father Johann Ufkes (1838-1924).

Don't neglect to contact all family members who might have pictures. And if they are nice enough to share with you, don't forget to send a thank you note.

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07 September 2007

World War II Draft Registrion from Selective Service

At long last, I received a copy of my maternal grandfather's World War Two Draft Card received from the Selective Service Administration. In addition to his card, I also requested and received his classification record, a summary of which I'll post later. The back of his card provided his height and weight and other physical characteristics.

This is the earliest signature I have for Granddad and interestinly enough it pretty much looks the same here as it did 60 years later. I can't say the same for mine.

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26 July 2007

More on ARC

Enemy Alien registrations from World War I are also in the ARC database at the National Archives. I've written about these registrations before and unfortunately many of them are not extant. However I was able to locate one for a cousin of my great-grandfather, Maria Siebels. These registrations from Kansas have been digitized and can be viewed on the National Archives site. The picture of Maria shown in this entry is from her registration.

These records are not only indexed by name of the registrant. In this case, I located it by searching for "Habben" which is Maria's maiden name which is included on her registration. Those who wish to view Maria's complete file can visit ARC database at the National Archives and search for "maria seibels."

Her fingerprints are included as well.

Maria is the daughter of Annepke Ufkes Habben--sister of Johann Frederick Hinrichs Ufkes (1838-1924), my great-great-grandfather. Of course my grandmother Ufkes was a Habben, too, but her Habben family is a different one from the Habben family Annepke Ufkes married into. Patronymics are wonderful.

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06 July 2007

Habbe and Annepka (Ufkes) Habben

This picture is of Habbe and Annepke (Ufkes) Habben. Habbe was born in Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany in 1825 and Annepke was born in 1831. They were living in the United States when this picture was taken with their daughter, Christena. The Habben family eventually settled in Nebraska.
Thanks to my cousin Theresa for sharing this picture with me.
Annepke is a sister to Johann Ufkes (1838-1924) my great-great-grandfather.


26 March 2007

Friends on the Farm

My great-aunt has written a small book, Friends on the Farm, about growing up in rural west-central Illinois (Hancock County) in the 1930s and 1940s. I haven't read it yet (my Mom is waiting til Aunt Ruth visits to have her sign our copies); however I did read snippets of it that last time I was down to visit my parents. I have learned that my mother was a "neat litle kid" and that my great-grandfather, much to the chagrin of his fellow German neighbors voted for Roosevelt during the Depression (I bet THAT went over really well...). We'll post more about the book later after I've had a chance to read it.