Monday, June 30, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 17: Mary Wilson McConnell Nilsen (1893-1986)

This is week 17 of the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge” by Amy Crow from No Story Too Small.  I am a bit behind but intend to catch up.

Ernie & Mary
 My husband’s great uncle, Ernie Nilsen and his wife, Mary, never had any children. Because of that, there are no descendants who would be wondering about Mary’s family. We’ve put together a very nice story about Ernie and Mary in the book The Nilsen Family: From Jönköping to America, but at the time of the printing, no research had been done on Mary’s immediate family.[1]

Well today, I did some poking at and looking for some hint about Mary’s ancestry so her story could be complete.

Mary Wilson McConnell was born 4 Apr 1893 in Tennessee and died 16 Sept 1986 in Los Angeles County, California.[2] That much I know from death indexes in California and the Social Security Death Index. My husband’s aunt, Bernice, is the keeper of many of the Nilsen records and she also knew of Mary’s birthdate, which she probably celebrated with her when living in Southern California.

The start of finding Mary’s parents began with the recent addition to with the “California, County Marriages, 1850-1952” index and images. Many of the Los Angeles County marriages have images to go with the index and I found a copy of Ernie and Mary’s marriage record.
Los Angeles County Marriages, bk 694, p 4, Nilsen-McConnell, 1925

It clearly stated that Ernest Ferdinand Nilsen and Mary Wilson McConnell were married 10 Jun 1925 in Los Angeles by Nels Peterson, the minister at the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant Church.[3] One of the witnesses was Mrs. F. P. McConnell who lived at 5212 Buchanan Street, Los Angeles. Could she be a near relative to Mary?

So now it was time to start poking into the online databases. One of the first records that came up for Mary was the 1924 California Voter Registration, this one for Los Angeles City.  There living at 5212 Buchanan Street were four possible members of the McConnell family: Mrs. Annie L, Frank P, Hoyt W, and Miss Mary Wilson McConnell.[4] 
1924 California Voter Registration, Los Angeles Prec. 943

Frank P. could be the husband of Mrs. F.P. McConnell who was the witness. Could Mrs. Annie L by Mrs. F.P.? More searching to do.

I found Frank, Annie L, and Mary W. in the 1920 census for Los Angeles County but it was in bad condition and very difficult to read. It was the first page of the E.D. and looked like it had been torn and taped together. Needless to say, they were at the top and dark smudges and discoloration from the tape nearly disguises them. They were renters and all were born in Tennessee. This coincides with Mary’s death index record of being born in Tennessee.
1920 Los Angeles County, Calfornia. McConnell is on the first 3 lines.

The next clue as to where in Tennessee to look for the McConnells was Hoyt McConnell’s World War I draft registration.[5] He stated that he had been born in Union City, Tennessee. So had two Tennessee census records for a Frank P. McConnell with wife, Annie for 1910 and 1900.

1910 Davidson Co, Tennessee, Frank McConnell household
 Here is the image for 1910 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. Frank was the head of household, Annie L, his wife, children Leonard P and Mary W, and granddaughter, Mildred D. Annie and Frank had been married 25 years and Annie had three children, all of which were living. Frank was a painter.

1900 Davidson Co, Tennessee, Frank McConnell family
In 1900, also in Nashville, Tennessee, the family included Frank P, Annie, Hoyt W, Leonard P, and Mary W.  Here Annie was listed as having four children with three living. So there might be another child that had died before 1900.

I also found the marriage record for Frank P. McConnell and Anna L. Tucker. They got their license in Winchester, which was the county seat for Franklin County, Tennessee, a county located at the southern border of the state. They were married the 22 May 1884.[6] 
Franklin County, Tennessee Marriage record for
Frank P McConnell & Anna L. Tucker, 1884
Finally with all of this information: Frank P. McConnell & Anna L. Tucker and their children:  Hoyt W. McConnell, Leonard P. McConnell, and Mary W. McConnell, I searched the trees at and found an unsourced tree with this family.[7] The tree also included another daughter, Annie Laura McConnell who was born 10 Apr 1890 and died 21 Jun 1890.  Of course the tree had two more children who I believe were actually children of Hoyt.

So here is Mary's family:
  • Parents: Frank P. McConnell, born around 1853 in Tennessee and Anna L. Tucker, born  1860 in Tennessee.  
  • Their Children:  Hoyt W. McConnell, born 16 Aug 1886, died 28 Oct 1935.  Leonard P. McConnell, born 3 Jul 1888, died 1 Apr 1960. Annie Laura McConnell, born 1890, died 1890. Mary Wilson McConnell, born  4 Apr 1893, died 16 Sep 1986.
So it is very nice to now know that Mary Wilson McConnell, wife of Ernest Ferdinand Gedion Nilsen, had family. Her parents and brothers moved to California sometime between 1910 and 1916 when they were found in the California Voter Registration. Frank was not in the 1930 census and had died 19 Dec 1929.[8] Annie passed away in Los Angeles 19 Dec 1934, exactly five years after her husband.[9]

A search on turned up no burial record. Someday, when I can search the Los Angeles Times, I might be able to find funeral notices for Annie and Frank.

[1] Lisa S. Gorrell, The Nilsen Family: From Jönköping to America, Oak Park Press, Martinez, California, 2010.
[2] California Death Index, 1986, Mary Wilson Nilsen, : accessed 30 Jun 2014.  And Social Security Death Index, Sep 1986, Mary Nilsen, : accessed 30 Jun 2014.
[3] California County Marriages, 1850-1952, database & images, (, Los Angeles Co, Bk 601, p 4, Nilsen-McConnell, citing FHL film 2074519.
[4] California, California Voter Registration 1900-1968 (Digital images., Los Angeles Co, Prec No. 943, 1924, no. 317, Miss Mary Wilson McConnell.
[5] "WW I Draft Registration," database and images,, (, Tulsa, Oklahoma, no. 255, Hoyt W. McConnell.
[6] Franklin County, Tennessee, Marriages, 1884, p 11, McConnell-Tucker, images : accessed 30 Jun 2014; citing FHL film 576304, Marriages records, 1884-1905.
[7] “Taylor1” tree owned by geomtay, : accessed 30 Jun 2014. This owner had signed in two days previously.
[8] California Death Index, : accessed 30 Jun 2014, 1929, Frank P. McConnell.
[9] Ibid, Annie L. McConnell, 1934.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book of Me, Written by You, Prompt 29: What's in Your Bag?

The Book of Me, Written by You is a blogging theme where one can write about their own life using blog themes posted each week.  More information can be found at Anglers Rest here.

This week's prompt is - What's in your bag/pocket?
  • Do you routinely carry a bag?
  • What do you carry?
  • Why do you carry it?
  • What do you carry it in?
  • Do you carry differently things on specific days or to specific places?

I have never been a big fan of the “purse.” I have owned a few but usually only use them when I’m wearing nice clothes such as slacks, dress, or skirt.  My preferred bag is a backpack/knapsack. You know, the kind that carries books to school. I sling it over my left shoulder mostly, though sometimes over both shoulders if it’s heavy with too many books or the laptop. That way my hands are free.

Right now I own two backpacks made by JanSport. One is navy blue and the other is brown and tan plaid. If I had my druthers, I would have lots backpacks in a variety of colors, but I don’t have room to store them all.

I like a backpack because I can fit books, laptop, and along with my wallet and phone in the front pocket. Plus the pocket can hold lots of pens, pencils, antacids, gum, thumb drive, iPod, and other things one might need during the day.

My current purse is a small light brown leather purse with a long strap made by Coach. My daughter found it at a thrift store and I’m very partial to it.  One, it’s small and barely holds my wallet, phone, pen and pencil, and small notebook. Two, it’s made of soft leather.  And three, it’s made by Coach.  It’s my second Coach purse, both bought used.

I have been using backpacks since they became popular for students in the 1970's and will probably use one forever. They just fit my personality better than a purse or bag.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Friday, June 27, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 16: Peter Hayden Hutson (1853-1930)

Peter Hayden Hutson was my great-great maternal grandfather. He was born 22 Dec 1853 in Georgia.[1] His family was found in Salacoa, Cherokee Co, Georgia in the 1860 census.[2]  His father was Robert Hutson and his mother Amanda Davis.

The next time Peter was found was in the marriage record of Peter and Sarah Helena Selman on 11 Sep 1879 in Cherokee Co, Texas.[3]  At first I wasn’t sure this was the correct marriage record, because of the name for R.H. Hudson, but looking at the image, the "R" really looked like a "P."  So P.H. could easily be Peter Hayden. And Hudson and Hutson can be easily interchanged. Plus Miss S.H.S. Selman most likely is Sarah Helena “Sallie” Selman.
Marriage record of Peter H. Hutson & Sarah H. Selman, Hood County, Texas Marriages, Bk B, p 42.
They were married by R.S. Proffett, Minister of the Gospel, on 11 Sep 1879. Researching R.S. Proffitt, I found he was a minister in the area and also the postmaster.

Peter and Sallie had 8 children: Willie May, Annie Pearl, Lillie Violet, Nell L, Myrtle, Johnnie Coreta, Luther Ewel, and Winnie Oda. Lillie and Myrtle died young and were buried in Union Cemetery in Gustine, Comanche County, Texas.[4]

Peter died 9 Oct 1930 and was buried in Union Cemetery.[5] He had been a widower since 1916 when Sallie died 26 Sep 1916 in Throckmorton County, Texas.[6]  She was also buried in Union Cemetery.[7]

What I know about Peter is from a college paper written by Polly Wiggins, Peter’s granddaughter. She attended a genetic studies class at Baylor University in 1938 and wrote up physical characteritics of many of her relatives.  For Peter, she had written these traits:
Physical: 6 feet tall, weighed 190 pounds, cowlick and granulated eyelids.
Medical: He had neuralgia, cataracts, and high blood pressure which caused heart trouble.
Personal: farmer, kind, gentle, and had poor business ability.
I don’t have a photo of Peter, but there are several posted here by smopbroek on her Mother's Family - Hutson/Kelley/Wilson Tree. Still, I treasure the information from Polly's class. It is nice to know he was a kind and gentle man.

[1] "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave  (, Memorial# 64910656, Union Cemetery, Gustine, Comanche Co, Texas, Peter Hayden Hutson.
[2] 1860 U.S. census, Georgia, Cherokee, Sallocoa, p. 916, dwelling 1840, family 1950, Robert Hutson, citing National Archives and Records Administration, M653, roll 116; digital images, ( accessed 4 Apr 2011).
[3] Texas, Hood County, Marriage Records, Bk B, p 42, Hudson-Selman, 1879, Family History Library, film 1034522.
[4] "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave  (, Memorial# 64910654, Union Cemetery, Gustine TX, Lillie V. Hutson. And "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave  (, Memorial# 64910655, Myrtle Hutson, Union Cemetery, Gustine TX.
[5] "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave  (, Memorial# 64910656, Union Cemetery, Gustine, Comanche Co, Texas, Peter Hayden Hutson.
[6] Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, Digital Images of Death Certificates, FamilySearch ( :n.d.), no. 17663, Mrs Sallie H. Hutson, 1916.
[7] "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave  (, Memorial# 64910657, Union Cemetery, Gustine, Comanche Co, Texas, Sarah Hellena Hutson.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 15: Röttger Horoch (1729-1816)

This is week 15 of the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge” by Amy Crow from No Story Too Small.  I am a bit behind but intend to catch up.

Today I am writing about the oldest Hork ancestor I have found, Röttger Horoch. Notice the spelling of Hork in the earlier times? I found the spelling in a variety of ways: Horrock, Horroch, Horock, and later in the 19th Century, it was spelled Hork. These were all from German church records.

I have two records found in church books about Röttger: the marriage record to Dorothea Voss and his death/burial record.

From the death record, he died on the 13th day of February in 1816.[1] He was approximately 87 years old. This would make him born about 1729 plus or minus a few years. There are church records going back that far in Kirchhundem. When I get better at reading the old handwriting, I will search for his birth/baptism record.

Here is the death record.

Don’t you love that old German handwriting? From the week long course on German handwriting I took last summer and the use of both Roger Minert’s book, Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents and the German Word List at the wiki,  I was able to transcribe most of the words.

1.        Im Jahr Christ 1816 den 13- Febr
2.        Nachmittags um vier Uhr starb an Al=
3.        tersschwäche Röttger Horock, Bürger
4.        und Schneider in dem zu dieser Pfar=
5.        rei gehöriger Filial Altenhundem ----
6.        alt ungefahr sieven und achtzig Jahr
7.        und wurde den 15-  D. M. Morgans
8.        zehn Uhr -----lichen gebrauche nach
9.        zur Erde bestattet in gegenwart
10.      Johann Ja-e- gt Hosen und Josefs
11.      Matte beide E--ger und Acker=
12.      leute von Altenhundem, welche gegen=
13.      wurtiges Pr----oll na—st mir dem
14.      Pfarrer unterschrieben haben.
15.      F. Schmitz Pfarrer
16.      Johannes Jog---- Hose
17.      Joseff Matter

Not bad, huh?  Of course it helped that I know a little German, too, when looking at the small words and vowel combinations.

The basic meaning of this document is:
On 13th February 1816 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon Röttger Horock, a citizen and tailor of this parish in Altenhundem, died of weakness of old age. He was approximately 87 years old and was buried at 10 o’clock in the morning of the 15th of the same month. Johann J. Hosen and Josefs Matte both ?? and farmers from Altenhundem, witnessed and subscribed below the Priest.  Father Schmitz, Priest.
So what do I know about Röttger from this document?
  • He died in Altenhundem
  • He lived to his 87th year of old age
  • He was a tailor and citizen
  • He died on Feb 13, 1816 in the afternoon and was buried two days later on Feb 15, 1816 in the morning.
  • His record was in the Catholic parish book, so he most likely was Roman Catholic
There might be more information from those words I can't make out. I've sent the transcription to someone who can read this kind of writing and will make an update once I hear back.

Next, I have to work on transcribing the document on his marriage to Dorothea Voss.

[1] Church SS Peter & Paul, Kirchhundem, Westfalen, Kirchenbuch, Toten 1808-1826, pg 370, Death & Burial Record (Church) of Rottger Horoch, FHL film Intl 1257834.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Sunday, June 15, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 14: Urselle Clementine Hork Schwalen (1892-1951)

Urselle Clementine Hork was the sister of my grandfather, William Cyril Hork, making her my great-aunt. She was the ninth child born to Johann Anton Hork and Julia Ann Sievert and Cyril was the tenth and last.

She was the only child born in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, on 23 Mar 1892 to parents who moved around a lot.[1] By 1900, the family was living in Hamilton, Ravalli County, Montana, the last place that they would live as a family.[2] Even though she was 8 years old in the 1900 census, she was not listed as attending school as her older brothers and sisters were.

Ten years later she was listed in the 1910 census with the family as attending school at the age of 18.[3]  It is believed that she graduated from high school as she stated in 1940 that her highest education achieved was 4 years of high school.[4]

After finishing school, Urselle worked as an operator for the Montana Independent Telephone Company.[5] This company was located in the Chamber of Commerce building.

She and Bernard V. Schwalen were married by Father M.A. Lynch on 25 Jun 1913 at Saint Francis Church in Hamilton, Montana. [6] Their witnesses were Tony Hork, her brother, and Mai Howley. At a party held for them on 18 May 1913, they announced their engagement.[7] The wedding was written up in the newspaper the following day[8]:

Miss Urselle Clementine Hork and Bernard Victor Schwalen were wedded at the St. Francis Catholic church yesterday by the Rev. Father M.A. Linch. Miss Elizabeth Lemn played Lohengrin’s processional while the couple marched to the altar and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March was played after the ceremony. The bride was attended by Miss May Howley and the bridegroom by Anthony Hork. Justin Shannon and A.E. Walsh acted as ushers.

The bride was beautifully gowned in a dress of cream marquisette over crepe mescaline and a blue hat trimmed with pink rosebuds. She carried a bouquet of pink carnations. The church was decorated in pink, white and green, roses, peonies, and ferns being tastily used in the color scheme.

After the ceremony a wedding lunch was served at the home of the bride’s mother, Mrs. Julia Hork. The bride and bridegroom left in the evening for Missoula, where they caught the 7:30 train for Helena. After a week’s honeymoon in the eastern part of the state they will begin housekeeping in the Holrod house, South Third street.

The bride is the youngest daughter of Mrs. Julia Hork. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Schwalen of Stevensville. He is employed in the engineering office of the Bitter Root Valley irrigation company. Many fine presents were received, among them being a china closet from the Bitter Root Valley irrigation company employees, a locker from the Independent Telephone company’s linemen and a check from the bridegroom’s father.

Bernard, born 27 Aug 1888 in Wisconsin, was the son of Joseph H. Schwalen and Mary Bristel.[9] They moved to Missoula where he worked for the Anaconda Mining Company in the lumber department as a stenographer. By 1917, they were living in Bonner, just outside of Missoula. The Anaconda Mining Company had a large sawmill there where they made plywood.[10] On 19 Jan 1919, a large portion burned to the ground. By 1920, Bernard and Urselle were living in Tacoma, Washington.[11]

Bernard and Urselle had four daughters: Elizabeth, Marjorie, Mary Juliette, and Jo Ann.

Urselle is to the right holding a child. Her mother is in white to the left.
Probably in Hamilton but it could be in Tacoma. From Marjorie Nelson, given to me in 2001.
I don’t know much about Urselle. Her middle name Clementine might be to honor her father’s sister, Clementina Hork. Once she married, she didn’t work and raised four beautiful daughters who all married and had children of their own. I find her as a housewife in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 censuses. She was listed as the wife of Bernard V. Schwalen in many Tacoma, Washington city directories. Bernard worked at a lumber company and seemed to make good money. He made more than $5000 annually in 1939 which was more than twice what others on the same page of the census made.[12]

Urselle died 24 Nov 1951. I have a short obituary for her, given to me by one of her daughters.[13]

"Mrs. B.V. Schwalen Succumbs at Age 59"
Mrs. Bernard V. (Ursulla C) Schwalen, 59, of 506 No. 2nd St died Saturday morning at a local hospital. She was born in Portland, had called Tacoma home for 32 years and belonged to St. Patrick's Church. Survivors are her husband; four daughters, Mrs. Curtis G. Onstad of Shelton and, in Tacoma, Mrs. Merritt D. Nelson and the Misses Juliette and JoAnn Schwalen; a sister and two brothers, Miss Carolyn Hork and Anthony Hork of Hamilton, Mont. and Cyril of Los Angeles, and five grandchildren. Faffney's mortuary will announce the services."
I have a copy of her death certificate and it is difficult to read the cause of death [update: I found the cause on Wikipedia: glomerulonephritis, which is a term used for several renal diseases], but the contributory cause was hypertension and heart disease, something that seems to run in our family.[14]

She was buried on 27 Nov 1951 at Calvary Cemetery in Tacoma next to her husband, Bernard, who died 4 Jan 1962.[15]

[1] Ravalli County, Montana, Marriages, v. 3-4 1912-1929, 1913, p 114, Schwalen & Hork; Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, film 1905837.
[2] 1900 U.S. Census, Ravalli County, Montana, population schedule (digital image, ( : accessed 28 Jun 2011), citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 914.), ED 81, Sheet 15, p 31, line 17, Urselle Hork.
[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Ravalli County, Montana, population schedule, Hamilton, ED 86, sht 19b, dwelling 370, fam 425, Julia A Hork; digital image, (, citing National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. 
[4] 1940 US Census, Pierce County, Washington, Tacoma City, ED 42-9, sht 10a, family 274, Bernard Schwalen, digital image (, citing National Archives and Records Administration, roll T627_4388.
[5] Missoula and Hamilton City Directory, R.L. Polk & Co, digital image, (, 1911, p 377, Urselle Hork.
[6] Saint Francis Catholic Church, marriage certificate, Bernard V. Schwalen and Ursella Hork, 1913, dated 20 Oct 1997.
[7] "In Hamilton," Anaconda Standard, 25 May 1913, p 6, col. 5, story of the engagement of Miss Urselle C. Hork and Bernard V. Schwalen.
[8] "In Hamilton," Anaconda Standard, 29 Jun 1913, p. unk., story of the wedding of Miss Urselle C. Hork and Bernard V. Schwalen.
[9] Ravalli County, Montana, Marriages, v. 3-4, p 114, Schwalen & Hork; FHL film 1905837.
[10] “Bonner-West Riverside, Montana,” (,_Montana : accessed 14 Jun 2014)
[11] 1920 US Census, Pierce County, Washington, Tacoma City, ED 332, sht 4b, dwelling 84, family 86, Bernard V. Schwalen, digital image (, citing National Archives and Records Administration, roll T625_1937.
[12] 1940 US Census, Pierce County, Washington, Tacoma City, ED 42-9, sht 10a, family 274, Bernard Schwalen,
[13] "Mrs. B.V. Schwalen Succumbs at Age 59," obituary clipping, newspaper unknown, from the collection of Marjorie Nelson.
[14] Washington State Board of Health, Certificate of Death, King Co, no. 20442, Ursulla C. Schwalen; FHL film 2033056.
[15] ibid; Also "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave  (, Memorial# 94307200, Calvary Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce Co, Washington, Urselle C Hork Schwalen.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – What Did Your Father Love To Do?

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has wonderful exercises for us to do on Saturday Nights. I don’t always participate but today’s assignment intrigued me. I knew just the images I wanted to have alongside my post.
Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):
1) It's Father's Day in the USA on Sunday, so let's talk about our fathers.

2) What did your father really like to do in his work or spare time? Did he have hobbies, or a workshop, or did he like sports, or reading, or watching TV?
3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.
My father, William J. Hork, loved sports: football, baseball, and golf. He played football in high school and could throw right or left handed as a quarterback.  Later he learned to play golf, but with a large family of six children, he found he didn’t have the resources to keep up with that sport.

It didn’t keep him from watching these sports on T.V.  Over the years, he followed the San Francisco Giants, the Oakland Raiders (before they went to Los Angeles), and the San Francisco 49ers. In his last years of life, the 49ers were a big deal to him. He had T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats to wear as he sat in his comfy chair in front of the T.V. set. Besides watching the 49ers, he watched all of the NFL games.

It was not until after he passed away in 2007, that I learned how closely he followed the game. He kept status sheets on both the 49ers and Raiders, recording their scores and standings. I even found play sheets showing the various drives the teams made each quarter.

I was never much of a football fan—I love baseball—but I attended many Raider games with my father at the Oakland Coliseum in the 1970’s. What I hated most was leaving before the game was over to avoid the crowds in the parking lot. To this day, I always stay to the end.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past