Thursday, November 26, 2015

My Grandfather, William Cyril Hork, Worked on the Railroad: Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files

A new (to me) database is on called “U.S., Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files, 1890-1963.”  I was pretty excited because until this point, I have had no direct ancestors who worked for the railroad. I’ve been a huge railfan most of my life and I was pleasantly surprised to have my grandfather turn up in this database.

The Northern Pacific Railway Company was based out of Minnesota but had tracks that went west as far as the Pacific Ocean. My grandfather, William Cyril Hork, lived in Hamilton, Montana, which is in western Montana near the Idaho border.[1]

Northern Pacific Ry Co map; wikipedia
So what is this database all about? This is a “collection of personnel files from the Northern Pacific Railway Company…and includes company correspondence, job history, salary and promotion documents, leaves of absence, and more.”

So this is more than a database. It has digital images of the records! The employee records can include multiple pages. Each file has a file number. There was also a note that the items in the file were typically “in reverse chronological order, with the most recent pages appearing first. And not all pages will be indexed.” 

What got me to this database was the indexed entry for “Cyril Willis Hock.” Someone made a correction and the entry for “Cvril Willis Hork” was also included.[2] 

Entry for Cyril Willis Hock/Hork

The name of my grandfather was different than I expected. I knew him as William Cyril Hork, but he was often Cyril in early census records and in local newspaper accounts. His military records also used the name Cyril Willis Hork. The locality matched the area in which he lived. But the final piece, that his mother was Mrs. Julia Hock (or Hork). It was enough to have me click through to the images.

This entry indicated there were ten images. There are two places to click, the one that was indexed and the packet cover. Clicking on the packet cover brought me to the first image of the file. The indexed view was the second image in the packet. 

"Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files, 1890-1963,"  File 144100, Cyril Willis Hork
Once viewing the image, I could see his surname was Hork in many of the images, but I could also see how an indexer would view it has Hock, because the indexed page had the names handwritten instead of being typed, but at the very top, the name “Hock, Cyril Willis” was typed.

The indexed page was the application for employment. I’m still trying to determine if Cyril filled out the form himself or if the agent, S.R. Wilson, had. It is possible the top portion until the place of applicant signature was filled out by Cyril.

Between the cover page and the application, I found out he worked as a warehouseman in the Hamilton Station from 1 Jul 1922 until 19 Dec 1922; almost 6 months. The reason for dismissal was reduction in force. 
Cover, File 144100, Cyril Willis Hork
It was a shame he was released in December. He had been married less than a month, having married Anna Marie Sullivan on 30 November 1922 in Butte, Montana.[3]

One of the other records in the packet showed his previous work history. Except for being in the U.S. Navy for 18 months, his work history revealed that none of his previous jobs lasted more than a few months.
Employment History, File 144100, Cyril Willis Hork
There was more to the packet, mostly about his military service, but  I’ll save for another day.

[1] “Map of Northern Pacific’s route circa 1900,” (; citing image from the Library of Congress map collection, call number G4126.P3 1900 .L55 RR 502; originally from the Fourth Annual Report of the northern Pacific Railway company, for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1900.
[2] "Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files, 1890-1963," file 144100, Cyril Willis Hork , digital images, ( accessed 25 Nov 2015); Original data Personnel Files, circa 1909–1960s, Personnel Dept. records, Northern Pacific Railway Company records, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota.
[3] Silver Bow County, Montana, Marriages, record A-14551, William C. Hork to Anna M. Sullivan, 30 Nov 1922.

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Who is Your Most Recent Immigrant Ancestor?

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing has a new assignment for us.

1) Who is your most recent immigrant ancestor?  I'm assuming that your ancestors moved from one country to another at some point in time.
2)  Tell us about that person - name, birth and death, emigration and immigration country and port, date or year of immigration, etc.
My most recent immigrant was Anna Maria Gleeson, who arrived in the United States from Canada in 1879 or 1880.[1]

There’s confusion as to the exact date she arrived. The year 1880 was stated in the 1900 census.[2] 
Her father stated on his naturalization that he arrived April 1879,[3] but later stated 1880 on the 1900 census [4]and 1879 on the 1910 census.[5]

Anna filed an intention to naturalized and stated on 7 Oct 1880, that she arrived at the port of Huron in the month of February 1879.[6]
Davison Co, 2nd Judicial District, Declarations of Intention 1880-1886, p 24, Ann Gleeson.
She was born 13 Feb 1860 in Carleton County, Ontario, Canada to John Gleeson and Margaret Tierney.[7] She had seven brothers and sisters, who also traveled to the United States. Later she married John H. Sullivan around 1882. They had six children, their youngest daughter being my grandmother.

Though the Gleeson family had come from Canada, they were ethnically Irish from County Tipperary.

[1] 1900 census stated she arrived in 1880; her family appeared in the 1880 census in Dakota Territory (dated 14 Jun 1880); her father stated on his intent to naturalized that he arrived Apr 1879; her father’s 1910 census said 1879.
[2] 1900 Deer Lodge Co, Montana, U.S. Census, population schedule (digital image, ( : accessed 28 Jun 2011), citing NARA microfilm publication T623), Anaconda, ED 15, sht 1, dwelling 24, family 24, John Sullivan.
[3] "South Dakota, County Naturalization Records, 1865-1972," images, (, Davison Co, 2nd Judicial District, Declarations of Intention 1880-1886, p 31, John Gleeson.
[4] 1900 Davison Co, SD Census, digital images,, (, ED 112, Sheet 12a, p 45 (stamped), Mitchell Twp., household 173, fam 185, John Gleeson.
[5] 1910 Multnomah Co, Oregon Census, (, ED 214, sheet 6a, p 54 (stamped) household 125, fam 144, John Gleeson, citing NARA T624, roll 1289.
[6] "South Dakota, County Naturalization Records, 1865-1972," images, (, Davison Co, 2nd Judicial District, Declarations of Intention 1880-1886, p 24, Ann Gleeson.
[7] St. Phillips Church, Richmond, Carleton Co, "Ontario, Canada, Parish registers, 1836-1917," digital images, FamilySearch,, 1860, Baptism B6, Ann Gleeson.

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 13, 2015

On this Day – Marriage of Carl Johan Eriksson & Stina Maja Samuelsdotter, 13 Nov 1863

On 13 November 1863 in Tidersrum, Ostergotland, Sweden, Carl Johan Ericksson and Stina Maja Samuelsdotter were married.[1]
Tidersrum, Östergötland, 1863, pg 29, no. 5, Erickson-Samuelsdotter
They were my daughters’ paternal third great-grandparents. Their daughter, Mathilda Lovisa Eriksson-Holm immigrated to the United States and married Pehr Alfred Andersson Lundquist.

Carl Johan was the son of Eric Svensson and Christina Carlsdotter,[2] and Stina Maja was the daughter of Samuel Persson and Maja Stina Jonasdotter.[3]

Carl Johan was a tailor [skräddare] and he and Stina Maja had 9 children. Three known children immigrated to America: Matilda Lovisa, Carolina, and Axel Fredrick.

Household Examination, AI-13 1866-1870," Karl Johan Eriksson, Bjerkefall, p 2
Here is a household examination in about 1866. They were living in Bjerkefall. This record shows Carl and Stina with their first two daughters, one of whom had died the previous year. This record gives each person's birth date, birthplace, marriage date, and death date if it occurred during the time period of examination. I need to search for later household examinations for this family.

[1] Tidersrum, Östergötland, “Marriages 1861-1867,” 1863, pg 29, no. 5, Erickson-Samuelsdotter; image 391.16.8400,  ( : accessed 16 Jul 2009).
[2] Malexander (Östergötland län, Östergötland, Sweden), digital images, ( : accessed 18 Jul 2009), "Births 1796-1834 (C:3)," Carl Johan Ericsson, 1831, p 161.
[3] Tidersrum (Östergötland län, Östergötland, Sweden), digital images, ( : accessed 17 Jul 2009), "Births, Marriages 1788-1860 C:3," Stina Maja Samuelsdotter, 1837, p189.

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ancestors Who Served - Veteran's Day

Today is November 11, a day we honor veterans who served in the Armed Forces. I do not have many direct ancestors who were veterans, but I still want to honor those who were. This list includes those ancestors of my husband (in blue) and mine (in red).

World War II
Tom J. Johnston Jr.
Tom J. Johnston Jr., U.S. Navy. He served just a short time and was discharged due to a medical disability. He had been stationed in Idaho.

George J Gorrell
George Joseph Gorrell, U.S. Army. He was a staff sergeant with the 913th Air Engineering Squadron. He served in England and Germany.

World War I
William Cyril Hork
William Cyril Hork, U.S. Navy. He served in submarine service and was last stationed in Long Beach aboard the submarine tender, USS Alert.

Civil War
Amos Gorrell Jr.
Amos Gorrell, Jr., Union Army. Co A, 18th Ohio.

George Wilson Lancaster, Confederate. He served with the 6th Texas Cavalry as a corporal.

Reuben Mack Johnston, Confederate. He served with the 8th Mississippi Cavalry, Co. A.

Benjamin W. Jones, Confederate. He served as a physician and died during service.

War of 1812
John Coor. Served in 13th Regiment (Nixon's) of Mississippi Militia as a corporal.

Revolutionary War
David C. Shotts. Served in Pennsylvania.

Phillip Wagoner. Served in Pennsylvania.

Thank you for your service!

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - My Computer History

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing has a new assignment this week:
  • What is your computer history - what have you used, when did you get it, what did you do on it, etc.
I started with computers at California State University, Hayward by taking a computer class given in the Math department. I think it was 1977 and I don’t think there was a computer science department yet. The teacher taught us 3 languages at the same time: BASIC, FORTRAN, and COBOL. We could turn in assignments in any language we wanted. For Basic, we had terminals where we wrote code, however we needed to punch cards to write code in Fortran. Once the cards were turned in, we waited a hour for the result: often some type of typo that caused the program to fail. I never bothered with Cobol.

I liked the orderliness of writing code but couldn’t figure out a way to make use of it outside of school. I majored in Biological Sciences and was graduating the next quarter.

The next year, I was working in the office of a sporting goods store. They had a mini IBM computer that was supposed to keep track of inventory. My job was to enter the data. This job wasn’t nearly as interesting as writing code.

Ours had 2 drives
My first personal computer was a home-made computer that ran CP/M. It had two 8 inch floppy drives, a small monitor, keyboard, and we purchased a daisy-wheel printer. The whole thing cost about four grand. I think it was purchased in 1981 or 82. I used it to write stories, using a program called WordStar. I wrote some programs in BASIC.

By now, I was working at BART. Though I wasn’t using a computer per se, our trains were controlled by computers.

I don’t have any idea when we got our first PC. It might have been an IBM machine running DOS. I was still using the computer mostly to write.  My first time using a Windows computer was at work, where we used group computers to write lesson plans for training. I’d been promoted to the training department. I also had to learn to use WordPerfect. I eventually learned to love “reveal notes” and miss that function very much when the District converted to Microsoft Office programs.

At home, we upgraded way behind everyone else. Usually, it was when a program we wanted to buy wouldn’t run on an old operating system. Because of that we tended to skip operating systems. I remember Windows 3.1 , 98, and 2000NT. We had XP for a long time and I am writing on a laptop running Win7. Our philosophy tended to be “use whatever OS that came with the computer.”

This is my third laptop. I would love to have a desktop with two monitors. Someday when I get an office.

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.