This new blog category, “Before Memories” is dedicated to those ancestors my generation never met – generally, those before our grandparents. Grandparents and later, will continue under “Memories”
Paternal lines, Hemmingsen -Mathisdatter and Alexander-Baxter will be posted here; our maternal line, McArthur-Gray, as well. Except that, Grandad Dickson’s lines will continue to be doubly discussed under “Double Genealogy: The Adoption Witness”.
We chose our paternal side to go first, because a researcher posited that we share relationship through Matias Martinus Matisson. She simply could not find the connection The attempt here, is to make that case, even if it may not tie up all her loose ends. Matias is shown third next below, in a composite of the 1865 Census of Norway.
Dad wrote a family history in 1999.1 Assisted by genealogists, it suggested that his grandmother was Bertha Mathiesen (1860-1887). Dad would have pressed, but the information provided on her was scant. They likely deemed lost to follow-up. How we finally located her will be subject of later posts. The following relies on our research.
Past Norwegian naming conventions make for genealogical difficulties, especially with regard to their emigrants. Their names were most often conformed to their new country’s norm. Plus, spellings in their Norwegian documents varied widely. Rather than harmonizing name and place spellings, they will be left throughout this post, as they were found in original documentation.
1887 was probably correct for our great grandmother’s death, but remains unverified. She was actually born in 1853, as Berith Hass.1 Her surname, Mathisdatter, derived from her father’s first name, Mathis. His name, shown here, was Mathis Bentsen, and his wife was Merith Jonsdtr. (Jonsdatter).
This picture of her husband, Ole Hemmingson, was probably taken at his graduation exercise from Oslo University, as a Civil Engineer. 1
Their son, Mathias, had only the fourth grade education of his Norway youth. That was no deficiency as may be noted by reading “From the Logging Camp”; a series here, under “Memories”
Ole Mathias Hemmings. married Beret Has Mathisdtr. October 30, 1875 in Nordland, Hattfjelldal, Groli.2
The couple can be seen as single youths, in their composite two-family “side-by-side” 1865 Census.2 Their farms were quite closely situated.
In line with the researcher’s notion, the families merged again, in 1883. when Mathias Martinus married Anna Oline.2
Care must be taken to distinguish Anna Oline from Ane M her sister.
Here is the new family about to embark to America. Note that Elen is their youngest child.
US Census 1890 was destroyed. Many ancestors emigrating in the period became lost to follow-up. The researcher mentioned Iowa, so it was a good place to look, a decade out.
The events captured in US Census 1900, seem to be connected.3 That is, Mathias is data-similar across four documents. His three children, Matias, Mildred and Ellen in the US Census, appear consistent with the out-migration of 1888.
The drill down on US Census 1900, in blue for Anna Mathison, shows she is not Anna Oline.
The order of the children is, as it was on the actual census. It usually goes oldest to youngest. This suggests the younger two, were of the second wife.
That made the child, Gerda, interesting. She was unlikely Anna Oline’s, if she were born in Norway. New Anna immigrated in 1889. Perhaps Gerda’s age is off a year, and was this Anna’s child. Or, perhaps she was Anna Oline’s, but, born in Iowa.
Gerda’s true identity teased. Berith died in less than a year of her immigration, just after delivering her sixth child, George, in Wisconsin. Her sister-in-law, Anna Oline, did not fare much better. How early Anna Oline demised in the US is not clear.
The researcher may have solved the Anna Oline/Gerda questions. Her documents include that “Etta Church left Emmet County, in October 1892, after helping with the children, following the death of her Aunt Anna”.
HENRIETTA OLSDATTER / HENRIETTA HEMMINGSON, / ETTA CHURCH (1874-1965)
Ole and Berith’s daughter, Henrietta, aka Etta, married William W Church in Wisconsin , and lived there, until shortly after 1900. They moved to Washington State.
This new information re-confirms Etta as a loving caregiver in the family. That is, if the two Etta Church were one, and most likely, they were. Here, she was called to help her Aunt Anna, in Iowa. Given timing of events, she likely cared for her sister, Marie, who died at 19, of TB. Her 1900 Census in Wisconsin notes her as guardian to George – the young son of Ole and Berith.3
Granddad was devoted to Etta and named his first child, Margaret Henrietta. Memories include overhearing many a long phone conversation from his cozy British Columbia den, to Washington State. Granddad would lean forward from his wheelchair, for the phone had little leeway from the wall. That was back in the day, when a call of that sort was long-distance, with a hefty per minute toll. Oh, to be a fly on that wall again. They would have been reminiscing on the very events, under study here. I would be stroking Tuffy, the Siamese cat.
How wonderful; making the case around Matias and Anna and Ole and Berith has brought back warm memories around Etta and Mathias. Dear Anna Oline, your eyes and mine, have looked upon that picture of your brother, Ole. Connections.
Posts authored by Doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness are copyright © Marilee Wein 2018, All rights reserved
Please scroll below Notes and Sources to comment, question, like etc.
Notes and Sources:
1. The Hemmingsen Family Collection, including “John O Hemmingsen/Mary Margaret (Dickson) Hemmingsen” authored in 1999 by John Oliver Hemmingsen. All materials posthumously published at this blog are protected by copyright © Marilee Wein 2018. All rights reserved.
2. The National Archives of Norway, the Digital Archives https://media.digitalarkivet.no Norway Census 1865 RA/S-2231 of Nordland, Hatfjelldal, Church book for Vefsn parish 1851-1854 SAT/A-1459/820/L0292 [Berith Hass] Church book for Hatfjelldal parish 1860-1878 SAT/A-1459/823/L0324 [Marriage Hemmings/Mathisdr 30OCT1874 counter 100/156]
3. Documents Accessed at Family Search https://familysearch.org © 2017 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
United States Census Data for 1900 Emmet CO. Iowa, for Anna Mathison Affiliate and data custodian: The United States Archive and Record Administration (NARA) https://www.archives.gov College Park, MD.