My Families

Here are the ‘main’ families whose histories I have researched extensively over the past 15 years or so. More details will follow on each family.

Families:

Byers–came from Scotland. First known immigrant: James Byers settled in Chester co., Pennsylvania in late 1600s.

Connors–came from Co. Cork Ireland in mid-1850s. Ellen Connors and her sister Mary first settled in Warren Co NY and then Mitchell co, Iowa. There Ellen was married to Patrick Dailey and they had two sons, James (b. 1854) and William (b. 1855)

Cramer–John Paul Ferdinand Cramer came from Dresden, Saxony, Germany in 1797 and settled in Pennsylvania.

Dailey–Patrick Dailey came from Ireland in about 1852 and originally settled in Warren County, NY before traveling west to Iowa where he died  upon arrival in 1855 from cholera leaving a pregnant wife and an infant son.

Glover–Robert Glover was born in Ayreshire, Scotland in about 1838. He immigrated to the US in 1857 and moved to Metamora, Lapeer Co, Michigan where there was a large group of others who had come from Ayreshire known as the Scottish Settlement.

Harnsberger—Hans Harnsberger and his wife Anna Purve were from Switzerland and arrived in Virginia in 1717 with their son Stephen. They were members of the Second Germanna Colony in Virginia.

Jenkins–Joel arrived from England at the seaport in Watertown or Charlestown, MA about 1639, then removed to Braintree MA. He married Sarah Gilbert in 1640 and became a freeman in 5/6/1646, then moved to Malden MA.

Maurer–Christian Maurer was born in Switzerland in 1798 and came to the US in 1850 with his wife Elizabeth Fuerst and their seven children. They settled first in Tuscarawas County, Ohio and some time after his death in 1863, the family moved to Fairfax County, Minnesota.

Mekkelson–Elmer Mekkelson was born in Hedmark, Norway in 1872. He came to the US in about 1900 and first went to a logging camp in Michigan and later moved to Wisconsin.

Reddish–John Reddish came from England in 1619 on the ship Bona Nova and settled near James City in Virginia.

Reinke–Herman Albert Reinke was born in about 1845, and in 1869, he and his wife Bertha Duenow immigrated from Prussia on the steamer Baltimore . They settled in  Renville, Fairfax Co., MN.

Riley–John Riley was born in about 1734 in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and settled in Berkley County, Virginia.

Rush–John Rush commanded a troop of horses in Cromwell’s Army. According to a letter from Dr. Benjamin Rush to John Adams: John, wife, six sons and three daughters moved from England to PA in 1683 with William Penn.

Snook–The earliest related Snook I could document was Mathias, who was living in Allegany County, Maryland in the late 1700s. He may have been part of the Palatines from Germany sent to England and then to the US. There is also a Mathias Snook living in Sussex County, New Jersey in the 1770s who may have been in a colonial militia in the Revolutionary war. There are several Snook families and lots of confusion about which line is which.

Thomson–Thomas Thomson was born in County Down, Ireland and records show he owned land in  Donegal Twp., Lancaster Co., PA by the mid 1730s.

 

 

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Letter from Vera Cole Williams (Granddaughter of Samuel Coon) to Dorothy Dailey

                            Osage, Iowa
September 3, 1964

Dear Dorothy,
It was so nice to have a long letter from you and to be brought up to date on some of your activities. I expected to answer it sooner but it did arrive during our busiest weekend of the summer. Keith and his family were here and Dorothy and her four children. When Keith’s went home they left their oldest boy and went Dorothy went her two oldest boys stayed—You know how three growing boys can disrupt a household of a grandma and a maiden aunt. We took Keith’s boy half way home on the 23rd and the Fagerberg  boys home on the 27th. We stayed until Sunday night and were present at the 75th anniversary observance of Frank’s church–All very nice. The first half of the summer we had Dean’s two boys, five and seven, while their mother was in summer school at Iowa City. With other company who came for shorter periods, Mary thinks we were by ourselves only one full week since the first of June. We do like it but it is a little wearing.

The weather was so oppressive much of the time, too. Think I minded that more than the children. We were weeks without rain and the corn and beans suffered, lawns were brown and pastures dried up. But now it’s raining again, it came too late to help some things but at least the lawns are green again and the cucumbers are bearing and I know we all feel better.

I did send your letter on to Uncle Dan, thinking he might be able to supply some of the information you asked for. But he seems to know even less than I do. I sent your addressed envelope to him and he returned it so I’m not sure if he planned to write you or not.

Of course Grandma Coon died before I was old enough to remember her. Believe I was less than 18 months old. People tell me she was a typical Irish lady with a real cute brogue. She was born in County Cork Ireland and her name was Ellen O’Connor. I don’t know where she married Mr. Dailey–whether over there or here–I don’t even know his first name. They were on their way west by covered wagon with a caravan of others, I think, when he died in Dubuque. I think my mother said he died of the cholera, but Uncle Dan is of the impression he was drowned.

Anyway, she came on with the group. She had a little boy–Uncle Jim, and was expecting your grandfather. She stayed at the home of friends by the name of Beecher–One time the daughter Mary Ann Beecher Bohach? told me that she and Uncle Will were born on the same bed–at the Beecher home and I think they were about the same age. Uncle Dan tells me he didn’t know that. She met my grandfather–Sam Coon and married him—and the Coon children were born. He had left Pennsylvania to make his fortune out west.

From a lady who is still living and 80 years old, I have a little information about the family for she visited there as a girl. She wrote a book about “My Yesterday” as yet unpublished and she pays the Coon family his tribute—says they were a remarkable family. Each Sunday they attended church—with horse and wagon—Mrs. Coon and her two boys going to the Catholic Church and Mr. Coon and his children going to the Methodist. I’ve often wondered if Catholics considered her a good Catholic but from old timers I’ve learned that they did. My mother once told me that she required only that the babies be baptized in the Catholic faith.

Back to the book, Mrs. Hudson also tells of visiting the Coon home and staying over night—Grandpa always said the table grace and during it Grandma crossed herself. After breakfast, Grandpa got his bible and read a selection, then all knelt as he prayed and she, using her rosary, prayed in the Catholic tradition.

She tells, too, how united the two families were, and how unselfish all were, each working for the common good of all—She ends by saying, “truly a remarkable family.”

(Might be missing a page. Doesn’t seem to follow.)
I’d find a rotten branch. Some folks here spend so much time researching, going east and touring cemeteries and taking pictures of tombstones, where they are buried. That I can’t see. I’d rather do something constructive.

Had a marvelous time at Uncle Dan’s birthday party. It was too short but it had to be that or nothing and so much better than nothing at all. he’s truly a remarkable man. Seems feeble & frail but mind is as keen as ever, it seems. His housekeeper takes wonderful care of him.

Is your mother with you? I thought perhaps from your letter, I haven’t heard from her for ages. We tried to get her to go to California with us but she thought she couldn’t.

Think I’ll quit and make a peach pie for dinner and finish up the crate I bought to eat raw.

Would love it it you’d write again and tell me more of your family.

Bye now—-
Love,
Vera

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The Lane Family in Iowa

What We Know About the Lane’s Trip to Iowa

Although Jane Lane’s obituary says the family spent time in Fulton, Illinois, it must not have been a very long time. I suspect they were in Fulton from 1853 to 1855, because the next documentation for the family is in 1855 when Daniel Lane and Ellen Connors Dailey buy land in the Dubuque land office in October of 1855.

Before that event, however, the Lanes were present at the sad death from cholera of their friend Patrick Dailey. In a letter to Will Dailey, Patrick’s son, written by Jane Lane Hyde in 1903, she describes the deathbed scene  in beautiful and poignant detail. (I suspect that Will had been hoping to locate his father’s grave site in Dubuque and erect a tombstone for him.) Jane responds that his grave is probably no longer there, but reassures him that his father had been well taken care of at the time of his death.

For the sake of space, I’ll copy my transcription of Jane’s letter here. The photocopy of the original is hard to read, but I’d be happy to share the photocopy if anyone would like to see it.

Jane Lane Hyde

Jane Lane Hyde’s letter to her uncle Will Dailey from 1903:

Mitchell Iowa
Sept, 23, 1903

My dear cousin Will & family,
Your letter received yesterday and so I will write awhile now. I am very glad that Minnie is better & that all is well with all of you. I had met the girls one day at the fair & they said she was sick and we have been considerably worried about her, but I trust now that she will soon be in her usual health. Crop conditions and weather are about the same here as with you. We had our frost Thurs night after yours of Tues and the potatoes are badly rotting, but it won’t take a great quantity for our family but it’s bad for all, but we have to take things as they come in this world of ours. We are all as well as usual & things are about the same.

I was surprised at your wishes in regard to your father that you never saw or knew. It is certainly very kind & good of you but it can’t be done. I will tell you of his sickness & burial & auntie says he was buried just as well & respectably as you or anyone else will be. We came into Dubuque May 1855. I don’t know the date. We rented a couple of rooms in a widow woman’s house that year. If you look it up the cholera was raging and it was a regular panic there and all along the river people were dieing[sic] every hour of the day. A few days after Beecher & wife & little boy & Jasn[sic]Tobin, your father, mother & Jim came on the boat towards evening & we we met them & went to our rooms. The men all slept upstairs & of course I was with my father. In the night your father was taken with diaherea[sic] & vomiting. He kept getting up & going out until he fell on the floor. Then they were all up & the the owner of the house came in the room & as soon as she saw him she said “he has the cholera” & told where to go for a good doctor which he had immediately but he steadily failed. The next day the priest was sent for & came & prayed & prepared your father for death which he said would soon come & the Priest came a couple of times during the day but towards evening we were all there. Your mother & auntie were on each side of the bed & I stood at the foot with Jim in my arms. I remember it well how wistfully your father when he was beyond speech would look from auntie & your mother at Jim & I leaned over him & he kissed Jim & he very soon passed over to the other shore where I trust he is safe & better off.  With the panic there was,  the landlord wanted him buried that night as was the custom there then, but they objected so strongly & made such a fuss that she dropped it. He was made ready and the next morn was taken to the Catholic church. There were two Priests there & said Mass & he was buried up on the hill in the catholic cemetery near a big tree. I don’t think there was any plot bought, as I never hear of it. Your mother paid the Priest for his services and that was all. Then we expected to get right away, but Beecher’s little boy died & I expect was buried near your father but I am not sure of that. but I will ask Beecher when I see him, which is very seldom & the poor man is losing his sight. Grace sees he & Mary Ann once in a while at the depot. I got the cholera then and died but they did not bury me, so here I am yet.

I have rambled from your question but you can give up any thought of a monument & your father is just as well off, as several years ago when Johnny Reegan was attending school as Dubuque he was in here & your mother was here and she & auntie were inquiring about the cemetery there & telling him what part your father was buried & he said “Bless you that cemetery is not there at all now as the city grew that way & the cemetery was moved father out & where it was are fine residences now.” I suppose that many that were there were never removed but they will rest just as well. So my dear cousin, give  the thought of a monument up. Your father is just as well off as everything was done for him that could have been done. Your mother & auntie were satisfied as he had the attention & rites of the church from the Priest before & after his death. I hope this will be satisfactory to you. I may see Beecher some time & I will talk with him about it & if I learn anything new I will write & inform you.

With love from auntie & all to you all, I remain as always your loving cousin.

Jane L. Hyde

(in pencil written at the top of the letter: “Your aunt Mary Conners also came to Dubuque when your people & Beechers came.”)

Side note: The Beecher, Sheehan and Tobin families also came from Ireland and seemed to be part of the group which traveled together.

Daniel Lane Buys Land

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According to this document, Daniel Lane bought 160 acres of land located in Mitchell County, Iowa on October 15, 1855 and his land patent is number #30.485. Ellen Dailey, widow of Patrick, also bought land on the same date. She bought 40 acres in Mitchell County and hers is #30.486. The fact that the numbers are sequential leads me to believe that they stood in line together at the Dubuque land office and bought their land at the same time. It must have been bittersweet for them—to have gotten this far in their plan without Patrick.

Lanes in Mitchell County, Iowa

The next time we find the Lane family is the 1856 census for Mitchell County, Iowa. Living with them are Ellen Dailey, her son James and son Patrick (William’s middle initial was P., so perhaps his middle name was Patrick and they were calling him that.  That the families were living together in 1856 again confirms the Dailey family legend that Ellen and her children lived with the Lanes after Patrick died.

Here is a copy of the 1856 census:

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The next time we find the Lane family is the 1860 census. By this time, Ellen Dailey has remarried and moved in with her new husband, Samuel Coon.

The Lanes in the 1860 census in Mitchell County, Iowa:

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Daniel Lane in the Civil War

And finally, Daniel Lane, at age 44 enlisted as a soldier in the Civil War. I wonder why a man of his age did such a thing. Yet another question for which we may never have an answer.

Here is the information I have about his enlistment, service and death. I suspect his widow’s pension file would have more information, but I have yet to order that from NARA.

Daniel T. Lane  (Union)

Biographical data and notes:
- Born in Ireland

Enlistment:
- Residing in Mitchell County, IA at time of enlistment
- 44 years of age at time of enlistment
- Enlisted on Feb 25 1864 as Private

Mustering information:
- Enlisted into A Company, 21st Infantry (Iowa) on Mar 23 1864
- Drowned while serving in 21st Infantry (Iowa) on Jun 16 1864 at New Orleans, LA

Sources for the above information:
- Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of Rebellion, (English, 1910)

Image

Sadly, Daniel drowned in Louisiana, leaving Ellen a widow with a farm to maintain. More later about Ellen and her family after Daniel’s death.

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The Lane Family from Boherbue to Warren Co, New York

One of my most favorite things about doing genealogy in this digital age, is making contact with distant cousins and family researchers I would have never met otherwise. Yesterday, after returning from St. Paul where I had attended a beautiful memorial service for Denis Dailey, a research partner extraordinaire, I was contacted by Sandy who is a GGG Granddaughter of Daniel and Ellen nee Dailey Lane. She had just discovered Daniel’s name and wanted to learn more. This was the motivation I needed to finally organize and write down what I have learned about the Lane family, who traveled from Co. Cork to Iowa with the Daileys.

I started with what I knew, Daniel and Ellen Lane and their daughter Jane, who according to the censuses, were all born in Ireland and probably Cork. In June of 2009, just weeks before traveling to Ireland, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht of Ireland, posted transcribed church records from the area of Co. Cork where the Lanes were thought to originate. (http://churchrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/)

After playing with spelling variations  of the surname and townlands, I found a record of Jane’s baptism in the townland of Glounreagh. A Discovery Map of the region helped me learn that although the family did live in Co. Cork, they were in the Diocese of Kerry, very close to the border of Cork and Kerry counties.  Here is a link of a Google map of this area:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=212503289972461183682.00048694c1d6274751829&msa=0

This is a copy of the page showing a transcription of Jane Lane’s baptism:

Area – KERRY (RC) , Parish/Church/Congregation – BOHERBUE

Name   JANE LEANE

Date of Birth            10 April 1844 (BASED ON OTHER DATE INFORMATION)

Address            GLOUNREAGH

Father            DANIEL NR

Mother             ELLEN DALY

Further details in the record

Father Occupation            NR

Sponsor 1            TIMOTHY LEANE

Sponsor 2            HONORA KEEFE

Priest   D H B

About the record
Book Number            Page            Entry Number            Record_Identifier
N/R     207             N/R             KY-RC-BA-88542
 
The church register page containing this record has not yet been imaged. 
(http://churchrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/)
 

It was helpful that Jane is a relatively uncommon name in this part of Ireland. I had no luck finding a marriage record for Daniel and Ellen until I looked once again in Ancestry.com and found this record. (Despite the spelling inconsistencies, it’s surely our couple.):

Ireland, Catholic Parish Marriages and Banns, 1742-1884

Name:              Daniel Leon

Event Type:             Marriage

Event Date:             28 Feb 1843

Spouse’s Name: Ellen Doly

Parish:             Newmarket

Diocese:             Cloyne

County:             Cork

First Witness:             James Doly

Second Witness:             Lorin Leon

(This record provided clues for more family members to research: James Daly and Lorin–Lawrence? Lane.)

Next to find the ship on which Daniel, Ellen and Jane immigrated. Ancestry.com made this pretty easy and included an image of the actual passenger list of the vessel on which they traveled, the Sardinia. According to this, the Lanes arrived in New York on Sept. 20, 1850. They were just three of the tens of thousands of Irish immigrants who were leaving Ireland for the promise of America. I would love to know what they thought and felt as they stepped on American soil for the first time with their 5 year old daughter Jane. What hopes and fears they might have had in those early days. Here is a link to them on the passenger list of the Sardinia:

https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1QmDaFauc0MOdWOuiOFpVIUOfYMcY1_jlSF3IqFujp_8/edit

Next, the Lanes can be found in Glens Falls, Warren County, New York where they stopped for several years, most likely to earn money for the next leg of their trip. Why Warren County? Another question for which we’ll probably never have an answer, however, this article gives a brief glimpse into the lives of the hard-working Irish immigrants from Warren County, New York in the mid-19th century:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n8GVSqtG8WumKRfIRrD5qy-6_5NDGIoa8h_M2ti-RrY/edit

The pieces of evidence of the Lanes in Warren County, New York are church documents and Daniel’s  Declaration of Intent to become a US citizen.

It is an unexpected thrill to find any church in the US that not only has records from the 1800s, but who also has a church secretary willing to look up information in those records and send it right away. (Genealogists are by nature, quite impatient.) I got lucky on both counts when I found Robin Mattes from St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Glens Falls, NY, a church that was built in 1848 to serve the increasing numbers of Irish immigrants in that area. When I called and asked if she had access to any church records from the early 1850′s she sent an email with the information and followed up by sending official copies of the most important information I had requested. I had been looking for records about my Dailey family, but was thrilled to discover that the Lanes were witnesses at the wedding of Patrick Dailey and Ellen Connors (my 4G grandparents), confirming the family legend that the Daileys and Lanes were close. Here is a copy of the document sent from St. Mary’s.So we know that Daniel and Ellen Lane were still in New York in 1853. When the Dailey’s first son was born the following year, neither of the Lanes were listed as sponsors, which suggests that they might have traveled West before the Daileys.

One more piece of information about the Lanes came from the Warren County Records Storage and Archives which has Naturalization Papers from 1803. A letter requesting information about the Daileys and Lanes resulted in these papers coming via email within days:

So, this is about all I know for sure about the Daniel Lane family who traveled from Co. Cork to Warren County, New York in 1850 and stayed there until at least 1853. The next post will be about their time in Iowa.

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Patrick Daly and Ellen Connor in New York State

Although we cannot yet prove for sure that Patrick Daly and Ellen Connor both sailed together on the Barque Gipsey, we do know for sure that they lived for a few years in Warren County, New York before traveling west to Iowa. Family legend has it that their first son James was born in New York state and another clue suggested he might have been born in Warren County, New York. Luckily, St. Mary’s Church in Glens Falls managed to survive the big fire which burned down the rest of Glens Falls in 1864 and their church secretary has been very helpful in looking up church records for me. Image

Finding this record was very exciting! Finally we knew when and where Ellen and Patrick were married. Plus, their witnesses were Daniel and Ellen Lane and family legend has it that the Daileys traveled to Iowa with the Lanes. In my search for information about the Daileys and Connors, I also researched the Lane family and will tell their story in another blog entry.

Next, the good people at St. Mary’s Church in Glens Falls also found a baptism certificate for James Dailey:

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The fact that the Lanes weren’t sponsors suggests that they might have already left Glens Falls, which another piece of evidence, Jane Lane Hyde’s letter of 1904, confirmed. Mary Connors, one of James’s baptismal sponsors, was probably Ellen’s sister and is someone who later traveled with the group from New York to Iowa in May of 1855.

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Dailey, Connors, Coon, and Lane Families of Iowa and South Dakota: From Ireland to the US

Before I begin, I want to be clear, that I follow in the footsteps of many dedicated Dailey genealogists who left amazing records, notes, and a website which I have used to start and guide my own research. Most especially, I wish I could have thanked Dorothy Dailey Anderson for her amazing work. She cast her net far and wide, doing much research before the internet made it so much easier. She left amazing notes, pictures, letters and notebooks which Denis has generously shared with me. Bill Phillips and Denis Dailey have been my muses and my inspiration and our emails and trips together have been truly unforgettable. Much of what I will put down here is based on their work, generosity and kindness. My goal is to just continue in their footsteps and put it all together in a narrative form. I couldn’t have done any of this without their love and support.

The Connor Family

According to family tradition and her obituary, Ellen Connor was born in County Cork, Ireland on Nov. 13, 1834. Many Irish vital records have been destroyed which could have helped document the Connor and Dailey families in Ireland, however in June of 2010 some transcriptions of Catholic Church records for Cork were released online. Based on Dorothy Dailey’s notes from her research at Dublin Castle and the closeness of the dates, I believe this is the baptismal information for Ellen and Mary Connors. If it is correct, then there are other family members to research!

Below are four children born to John and Ellen Connor from  Knockmanagh townland and baptized at St. Mary’s Church in Boherbue, Cork, Ireland in the Diocese of Kerry.

On 2/11/1835,  Ellen Connor was baptized.  Fr. O’Sullivan Edmond presided and the sponsor was (?) Connor and Catherine (Casey?)

On 2/28/1837,   Mary Connor  was baptized and John Foley and Mary Connor  were sponsors.

On 3/25/1839 John Connor was baptized and  Dan Connor and  Mary Connor were sponsors. (We know nothing about this John yet.)

On 10/1/1841,  Cornelius Connor was baptized. The priest was  J. Shanahan  and the sponsor was Ann Connor. (We know nothing about this Cornelius yet.)

That so far is the only possible Irish documentation I have found for Ellen Connor who later married Patrick Dailey. I hope at some time to be able to verify this.

Immigration to the U.S.

Also according to family stories, Ellen Connor immigrated to the US in 1852, at the age of 17. According to a letter written by Jane Lane Hyde in 1904 to her cousin Will Dailey, we know Ellen also traveled with her sister Mary Connor. So far, we’ve found little about Mary Connor once they got to Iowa.

Although I cannot prove it yet, we believe that Ellen, Mary and Patrick Dailey sailed from Tralee, Kerry, Ireland on the barque Gipsey. There is a 17 yo Ellen Connors on the passenger list for the Br. Gipsey which departed from Tralee, Ireland and arrived in New York on June  23, 1852. Ellen is #59 on the passenger list. There is a 19 yo Patrick Daly on the same ship, listed as passenger #57. I do not know if these people are ours or not, but it’s so tempting to believe that they are. There are other Dalys and Connors on the same ship, but those are common names, so I cannot draw any conclusions yet. We do know from Jane Lane’s letter, that Mary had come to the US and had traveled as far as Dubuque with Ellen & Patrick.

Here is the second page of the manifest for the Gipsey which arrived in New York on June 23, 1852 (well before Ellis Island started keeping records):

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Dailey/Connors/Coon/Lane Families of Iowa and South Dakota, Intro.

Okay, since one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 was to start a genealogy blog, I’ve been puzzling over how to begin. After receiving an email from Denis Dailey last week telling me that his cancer has returned, it struck me that it’s time to get going and his sad news has given me a starting point and a deadline. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put together a notebook with this story and include the research we’ve done in the intervening years. As of right now, we’re planning to get together sometime in April and I want to give him and Bill copies of what I’ve learned about the Daileys.

Front: Myrtle Dailey Shackleford, Denis Dailey. Back: Bill Phillips, Ellen Jennings

Since I’ve known Denis and cousin Bill Phillips, they have both been extremely generous with their time and information about their family, especially in light of the way we became cousins. So I’m going to use this blog for the next few months to tell both the story of how I came to know the Daileys and what I’ve learned since meeting Denis and Bill. Hopefully they will enjoy it and it will explain to others in their family just who in the heck I am and how we’re related.

Since I’ve already put together and shared Karle’s Story, I’m going to use that as a starting point and try not to repeat much of it. But it all starts with my grandpa Karle Reinke who we knew had been adopted shortly after his birth. We didn’t know anything else except that his adoption records listed Thora Strand as his birth mother. (See Karle’s Story for the complete version of finding his birth families, including the Daileys.)

Since I first ‘met’ Bill Phillips through his website and then Denis, through Bill, I have spent a lot of time researching the Dailey family. I’ve been to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, to Osage, Iowa with Denis and to Flandreau SD with both Denis and Bill to meet Myrtle Dailey Shackleford, who would have been my grandfather’s first cousin. I’ve probably spent more time working on this family than all the others combined. I have found some new information to add to the family history, chased a lot of dead ends and am left with many more questions than answers. But such is the lot of us family historians. This is my attempt to document all that I’ve learned and to list the questions that I’m still pursuing–a snap shot of where I am right now in my research. If I waited until I found all the answers I’m looking for, this would never get done. And Denis’s recent sad news was a stark reminder to get going.

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New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

Although I generally do not make New Year’s Resolutions, this year I’ve got a couple and by putting them down here, perhaps I’ll stick to them.

1st. Be more disciplined about taking care of that which must be done BEFORE  doing that which I’d rather do.

2nd. Exercise more and eat less.

3rd. Since I have been so lucky to have inherited such amazing family pictures, I want to organize  and distribute them to anyone else who might be interested.

4th. I would like to start blogging my genealogical progress in a way that others might find useful and interesting. I’ve got so much information and so many pictures, I think it’s time to put them together in a way that would honor those who have come before me.

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Karle’s Story–On the 106th Anniversary of his Birth

 

This is a story that might never have been told and it will always be missing many key details. It does, however, have a happy ending. It is a story that needs to be told for those who knew and loved Karle Reinke and, more importantly, for those who never had the privilege of meeting or knowing this remarkable yet humble man. This is the story of a man who never knew his biological parents and heard rumors of his adoption from young cousins when he was just a child himself. As far as we know, he learned officially of his adoption upon his engagement and then only the bare facts. He discovered his adoption papers when cleaning out his father’s desk after his death, and they were found by his daughter Janet upon his death. Janet passed them along to me, Karle’s oldest granddaughter, about ten years ago. We’ll never know what range of emotions he experienced about being adopted and his parents’ secrecy about it except that as an adult, he referred to the Reinkes as “those kind people who took me in.” [i]

After several years of genealogical research, and countless letters and emails exchanged with kind and helpful strangers and one sympathetic judge, the basic facts of Karle Albert Reinke’s beginnings can be documented. It is a story he never knew and those who did know apparently took it with them to their graves. The birth parents also never knew what became of the life they created since his birth records were sealed and were never meant to be unsealed. The facts are laid out here with very little embellishment and just a bit of speculation. We may wish to know more, but must remember that it is only since Oprah that people feel the need to bare their souls to the world. Karle grew up in Minnesota among a private people during a more private time than today. This may be as much as we’ll ever know about Karle Reinke’s beginnings. His legacy, however, continues in the lives of his daughters, grandchildren and countless students. Had they known Karle’s story, his biological parents could have been very proud of the man their son became.

Thora Strand: Karle’s Biological Mother

Karle’s adoption records list Thora Strand as his birth mother and that her baby was born on January 31st, 1905 in St. Paul, Minnesota. His adoption by Otto and Mary Reinke became official on September 20, 1906. [ii]

Who was Thora Strand?

I posted this question on a Strand message board in May of 2001:

“According to his adoption papers, my grandfather was born in MN in 1905 and his birth mother was listed as THORA Strand. Does this name ring a bell with anyone?”[iii]

This reply from Carol Solheim of Crookston MN was posted in August of 2001:

“I have a Thora Strand in our ancestry. Born Aug. 28, 1880 in Tjøtta Norway. Lived   in Crookston MN. Had two daughters, one born in 1911 and the other born in 1913.” [iv]

Carol is Thora’s great niece and the family’s genealogist. She also turned out to be incredibly helpful to someone suggesting that her Great Aunt Thora might have had a child out-of-wedlock. Our emails flew back and forth as each piece of the puzzle seemed to fit and we shared family pictures and common traits: lots of educators, some strong family resemblances and even TWIN TOES. (When Karle’s first daughter was born with her second and third toes joined to the second joint just like his, he cried because she was the first person he knew who was really related to him by blood.)

This is what I learned about Carol’s Great Aunt Thora Strand.

Thora Danielsen (Tora Berntsdatter) was born on August 28, 1880 in Tjøtta, Helgeland, Norway. She was the sixth of eight children born to fisherman  (“Fisker, Strandsidder”) Bernt D. Danielsen and his wife Anna Pettersdatter. By 1900, twenty-year old Tora’s occupations were listed in that year’s Norwegian census as “Husgjerning, Kreatursetel, Tjeneste” (housekeeping, cattle keeper, servant.) The name of their domicile was Tømmervikstranden and when her older brother Andreas R. Berntsen became the first of the family to immigrate to the United States, he changed his name to Richard Andreas Strand, taking part of the name of their farm (Strand) in Norway as his surname, not an uncommon naming practice by immigrants of that day.[v]

Information on domicile

1900 Norwegian

————————————————————————

Data on domicile:

*          Census year: 1900

*            Municipality: Tjøtta

*            Municipality number: 1817

*          Name of domicile: Tømmervikstranden

Number of persons in this domicile: 9.

————————————————————————

Name            Family status            Marital status            Occupation   Birth year    Birth place            Ethnicity

Bernt D. Danielsen            hf            g            Fisker, Strandsidder            1845            Tjøtta

Anna Pettersdatter     hm            g            No. 1′s Kone   1853            Tjøtta

Tommas Berntsen       s            ug            Fisker            1876            Tjøtta

Andreas R. Berntsen            s            ug            Fisker            1878            Tjøtta

Tora Berntsdatter      d            ug            Husgjerning, Kreaturstel, Tjeneste.            1880            Tjøtta

Ane Berntsdatter        d            ug            Datter            1890            Tjøtta

Gjertrud Berntsdatter d            ug            Datter            1893            Tjøtta

Karoline Paascke        fl            ug            Husgjerning    1880            Tjøtta

Borghild Andreasdatter            No 8s d          ug            af fisker ?            12.07.1899      Tjøtta

————————————————————————

The Norwegian Historical Data Centre

The Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø

————————————————————————

In May of 1902, Thora’s older brother Richard Strand emigrated from Norway and landed at the port of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He moved to Crookston, Minnesota where he began working as a carpenter for the Great Northern Railway, where he worked until he retired in 1961.[vi]

About one year later, in 1903 Richard’s 23 year-old wife Karoline, their two young children, his 27 year-old brother Thomas and 23 year-old sister Thora also emigrated to the United States.[xii] (Thora is on the left, Karoline Strand is on the right in the photo below.)

Finding Thora’s immigration record was a real challenge! Carol thought she’d come over sometime in 1903, but there was NO record of that. Finally, on the Ellis Island website, I finally found her on a ship’s passenger record. Rather I found a woman who came from the right area, at the right time, who was the right age and who had the correct first name, but an unfamiliar last name:

First Name:
Thora
Last Name:
Myklebostad
Ethnicity:
Norway
Last Place of Residence:
Throndhjem
Date of Arrival:
Jun 12, 1903
Age at Arrival: 23
Gender:  F
Marital Status:  S
Ship of Travel:
Germanic
Port of Departure:
Liverpool
Manifest Line Number:
0015

This “Thora Myklebostad” was  a 23 year old single woman from Norway whose passage had been paid by a Mr. “Dheli” and who was going to work for said farmer who was a cousin’s friend and who lived in Flandreau, Moody County, S.D. (the rest of the description was on the far right side of this page of the ship’s manifest.) BINGO!

But what about the last name? This is where it helps that I’d learned something about Norwegian surnames. Briefly, Norwegian’s didn’t have standardized surnames until a law passed in the early 1900s required them to do so. Before that, they took their farm’s name or their father’s name and added “-son” or “-datter” to their father’s first name, which explains why Thora was listed as “Berntsdatter” in the 1900 census, since her father’s first name was Bernt. She was literally “Bernt’s datter.”

So where did Myklebostad come from? Thora’s older brothers took “Strand” as their last name from part of the name of the farm they had been living on: Tømmervikstranden. Strand means beach in Norwegian. But Myklebostad was a puzzle that even Google Maps wasn’t able to help me solve. Luckily, in the late 1800s a fellow named Oluf Rygh cataloged all the 45,000 farms in Norway and some good people posted these names with a search engine online (http://www.dokpro.uio.no/rygh_ng/rygh_info.html)

There I learned that two of the farms in the region of Tjotta were called Tommervikstranden and (ta da!) Myklebostad. So, I made some assumptions that after Thora’s brothers left for America, she must have gone to work at another nearby farm. Then when she traveled to the US, she took the name of that farm rather than the name Strand which her brothers had taken earlier. I will probably never know for sure if this is what happened, but it’s my working hypothesis until I am able to verify it.

Thomas joined his brother working on the Great Northern Railway [viii]and Karoline moved to Crookston and settled in with her husband and their children at 316 Minnesota Street. Thora moved to South Dakota to work for Mr. Dheili (AKA Will Dailey) to repay him for the cost of her passage to the U. S.[iv]

Thora in South Dakota

After arriving in America, Thora moved to a large farm at Lone Rock Township, Moody County, South Dakota, near Flandreau, a town with a large Norwegian population. In the 1905 South Dakota State Census, Thora was enumerated as a 24 year-old single Norwegian-born housekeeper who could read and write. In 1905, Thora was living with and working for the family of Will Dailey, a prominent and well-respected pioneer farmer and stockman in Moody County.[x] The Dailey family was widely known to take in those in need, including children of neighbors who had fallen on hard times. [xi](I do not know how Thora came to live with the Dailey’s, especially since the rest of her family lived in northern Minnesota. I suspect from the entry in Thora’s ship manifest, that Will Dailey was a friend and neighbor of Thora’s cousin. Which cousin? More to research!)

The 1905 South Dakota State Census was recorded on index cards and each card was numbered sequentially, so all those in one household can be identified by their numbers as well as their address.

These were the people listed in the Dailey household at Section 32 Township 106 Range 47 in Lone Rock Township, Moody County, South Dakota in 1905 according the number of their index card (the microfilm of the index cards was very hard to read. This was the most legible I could make them):

#171 Will Dailey; 49 year-old farmer, born in Iowa and lived in South Dakota for 27 years.

172  Mrs. Will Dailey; 46 year old farmer born in New York (her card was hard to read)

173  Robert Dailey; 23 year old farmer, born in South Dakota

174  Lawrence Dailey; 21 year old farmer; born in South Dakota

175  Eddie Dailey; 22 year old farmer; born in South Dakota

176  Tora Strand; 24 year old housekeeper; born in Norway and had been in U.S. for 2 years

(This is the key piece of evidence putting Thora and the father of her baby under the same roof at the same time, which would have allowed them to at least know each other.)

By 1906, Miss Thora Strand had moved to Minnesota and is listed in the town directory as living at 316 Minnesota Street in Crookston, the home of her brother Richard.[xii] By the 1910 census, Thora Strand is again working as a domestic servant, this time living with the David Miller family in Angus Township in Polk County, Minnesota. Also living with the family as a boarder with no occupation is Thora’s brother Thomas,[xiii] who had been crippled six years earlier in an accident at work in which a rail car had fallen on him. (Thomas died in 1914 at age 38.) [xiv] Thora married Conrad Johnson in 1910 and they had two daughters. Helen Alvina was born in 1910 and Cora Teresa was born in 1911. Thora died in 1951.

The Dailey Family

The Dailey family was a large,  well-known and prosperous family in South Dakota and they clearly valued higher education. Both Will Dailey and his brother had been educated after their high school graduations in Iowa seminaries and Will went on to become a teacher in Iowa before moving to establish a homestead in South Dakota in 1876.[xv] After his sons graduated from high school, Will sent them to the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture before they set out to farm on their own. Edward Dailey graduated in 1905 from the university which was located in St. Paul and moved immediately afterward to Canada where he lived until 1916 when he moved back to the family farm with his Canadian wife and their four children.[xvi] (One wonders if there was any connection between Thora’s pregnancy and Edward’s move to Canada. Another question which may never be answered.) Edward died in 1920 of pneumonia at age 37, leaving his widow and four young children.

More Questions than Answers

Those are the facts, as both families—the Strands and the Daileys—knew them. There was another fact, however, that remained unknown for almost 100 years. This fact is that Thora Strand gave birth to a baby boy on Feb. 6, 1905 in St. Paul, Minnesota and on his birth certificate Edward Dailey from South Dakota was listed as the father.[xvii] The birth certificate originally had “Illeg” typed on it and that was later crossed out by hand. [Does that mean something? One official at the Children’s Home Society said that she believed that the parents of this baby were married. But I have found no evidence of a marriage in South Dakota or Minnesota.] In order to get access to his birth certificate (shown below), my mother as a direct descendant had to formally petition a judge in Minnesota, who granted her request. Not all judges are willing to unseal such records, believing that to be a violation of a promise made to the birth mother to keep her secret. Luckily for us, this judge was sympathetic to our request. Does Edward’s name on the birth certificate prove for absolute fact that he was the father of Thora’s baby? No. She could have lied or been mistaken. It is, however, quite possible, that Edward Dailey and Thora Strand were the parents of this baby boy. But we will probably never know for sure what, if anything, really happened between these two young people. But whatever it was, it wasn’t meant to last.

A new piece of information I discovered seems to discredit the notion that Thora and Edward had ever been married. The birth certificate below says that Baby Boy Strand was born at 669 Jackson St. in St. Paul MN. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what was located at that address in 1905 and today it’s the location of a huge spaghetti bowl-type freeway intersection. In the summer of 2011, I found online the St. Paul City Directory which listed the St. Paul Salvation Army Rescue Home for Fallen Women was located at 669 Jackson!  Wow. Nothing like rubbing salt in a wound! Here is a copy of that page in the St. Paul City Directory:

St. Paul City Directory

The baby boy was placed about five weeks later, on March 16, 1905, at the Children’s Home Society in St. Paul, Minnesota where he was recorded as Baby Boy Strand, Ill [illegitimate?] whose mother was Thora Strand, Norwegian and whose unnamed father was English [sic].[xviii] (In the CHS’s old record book for Baby Boy Strand [see below], the baby’s date of birth is also different from the birth certificate and is listed as Jan. 31, 1905 and the parents’ ages seem to be completely wrong, too. In a phone conversation with Janet Jenkins, a current employee of the CHS suggested that Baby Boy Strand was first “placed in May with a family and for a reason which was not noted, he was later replaced with the Reinke family who later adopted him legally. I am left with questions about this first placement since no record of that was given to me.)

The Reinke Family

Baby Karle Reinke, ca 1906

On September 20, 1906 Otto and Mary Reinke of Fairfax, Minnesota became the legal parents of Baby Boy Strand who they had named Karle Albert Reinke. He would be their only child. Karle was reared in Fairfax amidst a large extended family that enjoyed frequent gatherings and Karle remained connected to them even after he moved away. He enjoyed hunting and other outdoor activities with his father who could be a stern disciplinarian. Otto was a licensed mortician and worked in a furniture store/funeral parlor in Fairfax. In the 1930’s he moved to Northwood, Iowa where he owned and managed a variety store with his niece Esther Reinke. Although Karle’s mother Mary’s health was frail and she was a somewhat nervous woman, she had strong opinions about Karle’s actions even after he was married. At one point, Karle had been offered a job as a forest ranger in the far north woods of Minnesota and Mary let him know in no uncertain terms that he should not even consider taking the job and dragging his young wife and babies into the distant and dangerous northern Minnesota wilderness. Dutifully, Karle turned down the job offer. He did find many ways throughout his lifetime to enjoy time in the outdoors as a conservation officer during his summers off from teaching.

Otto and Mary Reinke shown below:

Karle Albert Reinke—The Man

Karle grew up in Fairfax, Minnesota and graduated from Fairfax High School in 1922. He went to Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota and majored in English. He graduated in 1926 and began his teaching career.  He married Dorcas Mekkelson, a fellow student from Hamline University who also became a teacher and they moved to Faribault, Minnesota. He taught biology at Faribault High School for 34 years, reared two daughters and sent them both to excellent colleges. Janet worked as a social worker and as a writer and reared four daughters. Gretchen became a teacher and reared two daughters and a son. In his summers, Karle found outside jobs, which allowed him to study and help preserve the natural beauty of local and national parks as well as supplement his meager teacher’s salary.  He was instrumental in establishing Nerstrand Woods, a state park in Rice County, near Faribault. Karle’s influence is still being felt in the classrooms of two of his granddaughters who followed in his footsteps and are innovative and well-respected classroom teachers in their own rights.

Dorcas Reinke died in May of 1962 and Karle died of a heart attack in August, 1963 at age 58. Their daughter Janet always believed that he really died of a broken heart because he just couldn’t bear to live his life without his beloved wife.


It seems especially appropriate to post this story once again today which is the 106th anniversary of Karle Albert Reinke’s birth.

Here I am with my beloved Grandpa:

[i] Telephone interview with Janet Reinke Jenkins; February 26, 2006.

[ii] Decree of Adoption; County of Renville, State of Minnesota; 12th Judicial District Court; September 20, 1906

[iii] Thora Strand in MN; Strand Message Board; Ancestry.com Message Boards; 5/30/2001; http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/message/an/surnames.strand/123

[iv] Re; Thora Strand in MN; Strand Message Board; Ancestry.com Message boards; August 5, 2001; http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/message/an/surnames/strand/123.1

[v] 1900 Census Norway; Tømmervikstranden, Tjøtta, Helgeland. The Norwegian Historical Data Centre; The Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tromsø. http://www.rhd.uit.no/indexeng.html

[vi] Declaration of Intention for Richard Strand, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization; Department of Commerce and Labor; State of Minnesota, County of Polk. May 14, 1908. Minnesota State Historical Society files.

[vii] Richard Strand, Longtime City Resident, Dies; Crookston Daily Times, April 1, 1966; p. 2.

[viii] Thos. Strand Passes Away; Crookston Daily Times, November 12, 1914; p. 1.

[ix] Mrs. Arness Dies in City; Crookston Times Obituary, January 19, 1951.

[x] South Dakota State Census, 1905; Lone Rock Twp., Moody County, SD; SD State Archives. (“The enumeration of each individual was collected on a 3” X 5” index card. The cards are arranged alphabetically and stored at the SD State Archives. They been microfilmed alphabetically and are available via interlibrary loan.)

[xi] Email from Bill Phillips, Edward Dailey’s great nephew who lives in Florida. phillips_bill@hotmail.com

[xii] Crookston City Directory, 1906.

[xiii] U. S. Federal Population Census; 1910 Angus Township, Polk County, MN; Series:T624, Roll: 715, p. 17. Images online via HeritageQuest.com.

[xiv] Thomas Strand Passes away, ibid.

[xv] Memorial and biographical Record: an Illustrated compendium of biography, containing a Compendium of Local biography, Including Biographical Sketches of Prominent Old Settlers and Representative Citizens of South Dakota…”: Chicago: Ogle & Co., 1898, pp. 482 – 483. Found online at Bill Phillip’s web site: http://geocities.com/gewdunn/dailey

[xvi] Edward W. Dailey Family; Moody County Historical Book; 1986; pp. 76 – 77.

[xvii] Birth certificate for white male born February 6, 1905; certified by Jennette M. McLaren, M.D. and filed March 9, 1905.

[xviii] Record Book; Children’s Home Society of Minnesota. Sent by Linda Kuhlmann, LSW to Janet Jenkins on August 21, 2001.

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Hello world!

I’ve been researching my family’s tree for several years (well, about 15 actually) and have come to the conclusion that most of the things that we genealogists find fascinating, like census pages and death certificates and cemeteries, don’t translate well to others in the family. So I’m going to try to write some stories about the people in our family, using the pictures and documents I’ve found as the foundation. Since I’ve already written about my grandfather Karle Reinke, I’ll start by posting his story here just to find out how this site works and then play things by ear. Ultimately, I hope that others in my family find these dead relatives as fascinating, familiar and inspiring as I have.

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