Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Family Tree

Earlier this year I created a large family tree on our dining room wall with photos of Robert's and mine relatives. It was a fun project and all of those photos can be enjoyed.

Paterson & Foster Tree

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Rock Lake

I posted a photo in 2013 that had Finnish on the back. I had a cousin comment with a translation. Thanks. Here is another photo in my collection with Finnish.

Friday's Faces from the Past - California 1949

52 Ancestors – Matti Mattinpoika Haukijärvi – Finnish great grandfather

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  Each week focus on one ancestor and post something about him or her.

Me – My Mom – Fridjof Makie – Carolina Waara - Sakris Honkawaara – Matti Mattinpoika Haukijärvi

Here is another one of my Finnish ancestors. I’m having difficultly figuring out if I should just use the patronymic names, include the farm names or the name that was recorded in the records in my genealogy database. For now I have decided to have the surname as the last name they went by with other names recorded as suffixes. I’ve tried to record the names in Finnish although the records are in Swedish. Since my ancestors probably were known by their Finnish names. My Finnish side of my family has required me to think differently about names and records and learn a little Swedish and Finnish. What I’m really enjoying are the church records. They are quite addicting. It’s like solving a great puzzle. Between the Finland's Family History Association and Genealogical Society of Finland website, you can discover ancestors going way back.

Oulu Coat of Arms
Matti was born July 28, 1808 on the Heickilä farm in the village of Puhos in the parish of Pudasjärv , Oulu, Finland to Matti Mattinpoika Riecki and Elsa Pekkantytär Timonen. Following the Rippikirjat books, Matti's family lived on the Heickilä  farm from 1799 to 1822. Then the Heickilä farm seems to remain empty till 1854. He is then found at the Haukijärvi farm from 1823 to 1838, with his wife, Elsa Maria Erikintytär Ruokangas who he married on March 17, 1830. Also on the Haukijärvi farm are Matti's parents, Matti and Elsa and his sister Christina and her husband, Henric Johonpoika Wäisänen with their children. Four of Matti's children are born here including my 2nd great grandfather, Sakari in 1837. The other children born at Haukijärvi farm are: Matti, Elsa, and Erkki. 

Matti and his family is found in the Rippikirjat books from 1839 to 1845 under Torpare och backstugusittare (crofters and cottager)  with  three more children, Juho, Anna Lisa and Maria Magdeline. Then from 1846 to 1853 he is found under Backstuguhjon m. fl i Jurmu läslag (not sure of the translation) with another child Erkki (the first Erkki having died). 

Matti and his family are back at the Heickilä farm from 1854 to 1880. Maybe longer as 1880 is the last year of the  Rippikirjat books for Pudasjärvi online at Finland's Family History Association.

More on Matti family:

Sources :

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

52 Ancestors – Sarah Everton Wakeman (Smith) – The girl from Worcestershire

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  Each week focus on one ancestor and post something about him or her.

Me – My Dad – Dorothy Eleanor Warry – Edith Elinore Smith – Sarah Everton Wakeman

My grandmother Dorothy Warry (Paterson) left a wonderful clue to the surname of her maternal grandmother.  She gave my uncle, Bruce the middle name of Wakeman. With a name like Wakeman, you just know it has to be a clue to someone.The confirming evidence was the birth certificate of Dorothy's mother, Edith Elinore Smith. I posted a copy of the birth record in 2011.  Her mother is listed as Sarah Everton Smith, formerly Wakeman. Sarah's middle name is her mother's maiden name. I love it when my ancestors  left clues. 

Sarah was born probably sometime in 1836 as she is baptized May 22, 1836 in Lower Mitton, Worcestershire, England to James Wakeman and Sarah Everton.  In the 1841 census Sarah is  about 6 years old living in Mitton, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England with her parents (James listed as a nailer and Sarah),  six siblings, Charles Everton who is listed as 2 and Mary Everton, 84 (who is probably her maternal grandmother). Sarah's life is somewhat of a mystery between 1851 when she would have be about 16 and 1865 when she marries at 29. I've not been able to find her in the 1851 and 1861 census and she isn't listed in her father household. By 1865 she has made her way to Parkstone, Dorset, England as on the marriage record her residence is listed as Parkstone. 

On October 1st, 1865 in the St. Peters Church in Parkstone, Dorest, England Sarah marries  the carpenter John William Smith. Sarah's father is stated as James Wakeman, a blacksmith. Witnesses are Albert Hoare (probably one of John's cousin on his mother's side) and Anne Smith (probably John's sister). I wonder if any of Sarah's family were at the marriage. 
John William Smith and Sarah Wakeman Marriage
Sarah and John have seven children, all baptized at the St. Peters church where they were married. All their baptisms can viewed on Family Search, click on their names to see the links. 

Sarah and John raised their children in Parkstone, Dorset, England. Sarah passes away in 1915.

More about Sarah’s family:

England, birth certificate, Edith Elinore Smith, 1876; registration district; Poole, Dorset. citing 5a/274/101

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 02 Sep 2014), Sarah Wakeman, 22 May 1836; citing Lower Mitton, Worcester, England, reference item 3 p 290; FHL microfilm 350501.

 "England and Wales Census, 1841," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 02 Sep 2014), Sarah Wakeman, Kidderminster Foreign, Stourport, Worcestershire, England; citing "1841 England, Scotland and Wales census," index and images, ( : Brightsolid, n.d.); PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey. 

England, marriage record, John William Smith and Sarah Wakeman, 1865; registration district; Poole, Dorset. citing 5a/623/36.

 "England and Wales, Death Registration Index, 1837-1920", index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 02 Sep 2014), Sarah E Smith, 1915. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

52 Ancestors - J. S. Littrell – A Mean Man

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  Each week focus on one ancestor and post something about him or her.

Me - My Mom - Ruby Alberta Belknap - Bessie Beatrice Landers - Angeline Henrietta Littrell - John H Littrell (J.S. Littrell  brother to John?)

We tend to think the best of our ancestors when all we have to go by are a few records with dates and names. Sometimes there’s a family history or obituary portraying them as an upstanding citizen of the community. And if they weren’t so upstanding maybe very little was said. While searching for my 2nd great grandfather John H. Littrell in the Dubuque, Iowa, USA newspapers, I came across all the dirt on Jacob S. Littrell, also know as J. S. Littrell.  I believe he may be John’s brother or close relative. I have yet to find prove of a relationship, but there’s strong evidence of a family tie. Both John and Jacob are one of the few Littrells in the Dubuque area during 1850s and 1860s, they are close enough in ages to be brothers. John is born about 1830, Jacob 1833. They both enlisted in the Union army during the civil war in the same regiment. John enlisted in the regular army 12th infantry regiment on November 29, 1861, Jacob  enlisted on February 14, 1862 

My 2 nd great grandfather John died in Dubuque, Iowa in November of 1862 after being medically discharged on October 11, 1862. Jacob was discharged on February 14, 1865 and returned to Dubuque. I’m not sure what kind of man my 2nd great grandfather was, but J. S. led a scandalous life in Dubuque, Iowa. It was all highlighted in the Dubuque Herald on February 23, 1873. Just the title suggest he wasn't highly thought of. 

The article gives a few facts of J. S. Littrell's life. It states he moved from Maryland to Iowa with his parents in 1847.  He lived in Maquoketa for a while.  J. S. was 40 years old on the February 20, 1873, making his birth date February 20,1833. He married Mary Ann Kelly about 1853. In the 1870 census, J. S. and Mary are living in Dubuque, Iowa with children Frank, 9 years old, and Charles, 2 years old. 

Most of the article is about his scandalous ways. Somehow he became the city engineer in 1870 serving out the unexpired term of Mr. Crusius. It states he was man of more than average ability, but he put a poor effort in at work and accepted bribes. He had numerous relations with lewd women, leaving his sickly wife at home. Then he left town leaving his family in poverty with unpaid debts.

I don't think J. S. would have returned to Dubuque, Iowa after his scandal. I did find in the United States Records of Headstones of Deceased Union Veterans, a headstone record for Jacob S. Littrell in Denver Colorado in the Riverside cemetery that lists his death date as December 2, 1889. 

Looking at census records, it looks like his boys Frank and Charlie stayed in the Dubuque, Iowa area. 

More on the Littrell family:


"A Mean Man," The Dubuque Herald, 23 February 1873, p. 4, column 2; digital image, My Heritage ( : accessed 21 August 2014).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

52 Ancestors - Britta Maria Polo (Honkawaara) - Finnish 2nd Great Grandmother

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  Each week focus on one ancestor and post something about him or her.

Me - My Mom - Fridof Jaakko Waldemar Maki - Carolina Honkawaara - Britta Maria Juhontytär Polo

My 2nd great grandmother, Britta Maria, is not the woman I thought she was. She still is a brave woman for immigrating from Finland to a new land with her young children to follow her husband to America in 1884. But based on previous family trees and a write up in a family history book, I assumed her maiden name was Riekki. But assuming anything in family research can lead you astray. With the help from one of my Finnish DNA match cousins from Family Tree DNA, I've discovered the real Britta Maria. Sometimes it takes just a little help to get started. After just a bit of information provided to my cousin, he was able to find the marriage record for Britta and her spouse Sakaris.  He sent me a link to the actual record on Finland's Family History Association website. (To see the digital images click on the sources at the end of the post.) Their marriage is right at the top under 1869 beside the date of April 17. The record is in Swedish, so names are recorded in Swedish.

Apr. 17th 1869   Drengen och ungk. Zacharis Mattsson Honkavaara och Pigan Brita Maria Johansdr Polo vigde i Jokijärvi kyrka af N. A. Bergh…

Basic translation from my cousin:
It says that Zacharis (son of Matts) Honkavaara and Brita Maria (daughter of Johan) Polo got married 17th of April 1869 in church of Jokijärvi.
Jokijärvi in is Pudasjärvi and their titles express that neither has been married before. Their real names may have been Sakari and Riitta in Finnish. My great grandmother went by the name Britta Maria in America.

So Britta wasn't a Riekki but a Polo or Polo could be a farm name. Finnish names are confusing but there are lots of great resources on-line that can explain much better than I could. I listed a few later in the post. The second name is usually a patronymic. Which is basically stating who you are the son or daughter of. Brita is the daughter of Johan. Johandotter in Swedish and Juhontytär in Finnish. 

Now that I knew where to search for information I tackled the birth records (Syntyneet in Finnish) in Pudasjärvi parish on the Finland's Family History Association website. I looked for the children births that I knew were born in Finland. Although I don't know a lot of Swedish or Finnish, I was able to pick out the names. I found the birth for three of the children I knew about and a couple who didn't survive long. I wasn't able to find the birth for Charles (Karl in Finnish) who was born about 1882. Since he was born after his father left for America maybe he was born in another parish. Britta would follow later in 1884 with the four surviving children. Two daughters would be would born in Michigan, United States. One being my great grandmother, Carolina or Liina.  Her children:

  • Maria Sofia born December 4, 1869 in Pudasjärvi 
  • Zackris born February 10, 1872 in Pudasjärvi, died March 18 1872 in Pudasjärvi
  • Anna Kaisa born April 30, 1873 in Pudasjärvi
  • Greta born November 8, 1875 in Pudasjärvi , died September 12, 1877 in Pudasjärvi
  • Sakari born May 27, 1879 in Pudasjärvi
  • Karl born about 1882 in Finland
  • Carolina born 1887 in Michigan, United States
  • Johanna born February 9, 1889 in Michigan, United States

From the marriage record I now know Britta's father's name, Johan. To find Britta's birth and other family members, I look at the Communion Books (Rippikijart). These are amazing records that list family members, birth dates, where a person has moved to or from, and other tidbits. It took me a while to understand these records and find families. The Honkavaara family seem to be at No. 54 Heikkila in Pudasjärvi  for a number of years and this where I find Britta Maria in the book from 1861 to 1873. It has her name as Brita Maria Johandr Polo born October 21, 1847 and she moved from Kuusamo in 1869 (the year she married). So off I go to look at the birth records in Kuusamo. Sure enough I find Britta in the 1837-1855 Syntyneet for October 21, 1873. I can't read all of the entry but it looks like her father is Johan Polo of Orolas and her mother is Sofia. Looking at the Rippikijart in the Kuusamo parish in the book from 1843 to 1849 I find the family at Orola.

From just a little help from a cousin and a whole lot of goggling to understand Finnish records I was able to find the real Britta and her family. After going through some more records I was able to go back quite a ways on the Polo family and discover her mother's name, Sofia Larsdotter Määttä. Along the way I learned a little Swedish and Finnish. I've found the Swedish records a little easier to decipher as it's closer to English. Most of the records seem to be in Swedish up to about 1879 then they switch to Finnish. As for the name Reikki, I think I've discovered where that came from. I believe that name is from her husband's family. Going back in the Communion Books I was able to find that the Honkavaaras seemed to be originally from Riecki farm.

Help with Finnish records:
Finding Records of Your Ancestors 
Family Search Wiki
How to Trace Your Roots in Finland
Swedish and Finnish names 
Finnish names on Wikipedia 

Finnish Records:
Finland's Family History Association 
Genealogical Society of Finland. Lists of christenings, marriages, burial, and moves  


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

52 Ancestors - Catherine Paterson (Greenlees) - Doting Daughter

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  Each week focus on one ancestor and post something about him or her.

Me - My Dad - Johnston Cumberland Paterson - Francis Paterson - Johnston Paterson (Catherine is the daughter of Johnston and sister of Francis)

My great grandaunt Catherine Paterson or Kate, as she is named in some records, is another one of my ancestors who may be forgotten as she married late in life and never had any children. She was the oldest daughter of Johnston Paterson and Catherine Muirhead. She was named after her mother and her grandmother Catherine Kennedy. Kate was  born about 1844 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Shortly after her birth Catherine, her parents, and her older brother, Johnston, moved from Glasgow to Braehead Cottage,  Moffat Mills near Airdrie, Scotland. Three baby boys died and were buried in Glasgow before the move. Kate grows up at Braehead Cottage watching the family grow and shrink as babies are born and children die. Her mother gives birth to four more boys and two more girls. Her little brother George Hunter dies at only two years old of a fever for 8 days. When Catherine is 24 years old, her sister Elizabeth dies at 12 years old of pneumonia. Then her brother Edward at 15 years old dies of water in head. Two years later Kate's brother William dies at 24 years old of struma (enlarged thyroid?) that he had for several years. How sad it must have been for the family to bury so many children. Only two of Kate's siblings marry and have children. Although, I'm not sure about her older brother, Johnston. (He's some what of a mystery.) Her sister, Ann marries John White, a farmer  from Shotts in 1872. Her brother Francis (my great grandfather) marries Ewenina Kennedy in 1881 and after her death marries Elizabeth Danskine (my great grandmother) in 1883.

By the 1891 census it looks like Catherine will remain a spinster. Her father dies this year and she is still living at Braehead Cottage with her mother and youngest sister, Jessie. Maybe Catherine was just being a devoted daughter caring for her parents or nobody came around to her liking. But three years after her father's death, at the age of 54 (although the marriage record states 47), she marries John Greenlees, a watchmaker, from Ayr. Her brother includes the names Greenlees in his youngest daughter's name, Edith Greenlees Paterson. 

Catherine's mother dies in 1897. Her sister Jessie probably moved in with Catherine and John at this time as she is listed in the 1901 census as living with them. Jessie is 17 years younger than Kate. Young enough to be her daughter. 

Kate never had children of her own but she seemed to be surrounded by her own sibling, nieces, and nephews. She died in Ayr, Scotland at the age of 61 of influenza and pneumonia. 
Other posts about the Patersons:

New Monkland, Scotland, Statutory Deaths 1855-2013, death of George Hunter Paterson; digital image, ScotlandsPeople ( 29 August 2008); 651/02 0028.

New Monkland, Scotland, Statutory Deaths 1855-2013, death of Elizabeth Paterson; digital image, ScotlandsPeople ( 1 February 2012); 651/02 0038.

New Monkland, Scotland, Statutory Deaths 1855-2013, death of Edward Paterson; digital image, ScotlandsPeople ( 1 February 2012); 651/02 0074.

New Monkland, Scotland, Statutory Deaths 1855-2013, death of William Paterson; digital image, ScotlandsPeople ( 29 July 2014); 651/02 0115.

Glasgow, Scotland, Statutory Marriages 1855-2014, marriage of John Greenlees & Kate Paterson; digital image, ScotlandsPeople ( 28 July 2014); 651/01 0106.

Ayr, Scotland, Statutory Deaths 1855-2013, death of Catherine Greenlees; digital image, ScotlandsPeople ( 28 July 2014); 578/01 0537.