Friday, April 20, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 20

April 20, 1921 – “Legislature passed the Minnesota Lynching Bill, that stipulates a law enforcement officer can be removed from duty for not stopping a lynching and that damages can be recovered by the victim's family. It was authored by civic activist Nellie G. Francis in direct response to the Duluth lynchings of 1920.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 19

April 19, 1983 - Joe Mauer, Major League catcher for the Minnesota Twins, was born in St. Paul. “He is the only catcher in Major League history to win three batting titles. He has also won three consecutive Gold Glove awards (2008–2010), and the 2009 AL MVP award.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 18

April 18, 1983 – Erica Bouza, wife of Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza, was one of 139 people arrested for trespassing during a protest at Honeywell Inc. headquarters in Minneapolis. She was part of the Honeywell Project protesting the “nuclear arms race by engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience.”
Minneapolis Star and Tribune; ‘Bouza’s wife is among those arrested”; April 19, 1983; pp. 1A-5A, 1B-2B.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 17

April 17, 1856 – “The Minnesota Pioneer Guard, the state's first volunteer military company, was organized in St. Paul. This group became Company A of the First Minnesota Regiment.”

Monday, April 16, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 16

April 16, 1901 – “St. Paul rail tycoon James J. Hill, on business in Seattle, learned that Edward H. Harriman was in New York buying up shares of the Northern Pacific to wrest control of the company from Hill. Hill ordered all trains to give right of way to his express train, and made the 1,800 mile trip to St. Paul in 45 hours 50 minutes -- 21 hours under the typical time. He went on, and stopped the deal in New York. During the buying frenzy, NP shares rose from $100 and peaked at $1,000 on May 9.”

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Be Prepared to be Excited

After you’ve begun finding information on your ancestors, most beginning genealogists want to find out as much as they can. As I mentioned in previous blogs, you should be prepared to be surprised at some of the things you discover, you will also be mystified at some of the things you can’t find and you should expect to find a few family scandals here and there.  But most likely, you can’t prepare yourself for how excited you’ll become once you happen upon some of the more evasive clues to your family line and you start connecting the dots.

I’m still having trouble locating my great-great-grandfather Thomas B. Lawrence for the first 40 years of his life. I assumed he was from Oneida County, NY, because that was where his wife’s family had moved in 1844, and where, I’m guessing, they would have met. So I began looking for other people in Oneida County with the same last name who were close in age. I found a Charles Lawrence who was around the same age, and started tracking Charles on and in the census. There he was in the 1850 Federal Census through the 1880 Census. Since the 1890 Census was destroyed in a fire, I checked the 1900 Census. He was not there. So I assumed he died sometime between the 1880 and 1900 Censuses.

A website called “Old Fulton Postcards” pulls obits and articles from old New York newspapers (  I searched there for both Charles and Thomas, and located Charles’ obit in the Utica Sunday Journal, Dec. 17, 1899. The obit said Charles had lived in Marcy, Oneida County, NY, all his life, and that he was survived by a brother Thomas in Eau Claire, Wis. (my great-great-grandfather).  Thomas was eight years younger than Charles, so if Charles had lived in Marcy all his life, that meant Thomas, too, had been born and grew up in Marcy, NY. Eureka! I felt as though I’d discovered penicillin.

Beginning with the 1860 Census, an older woman name Mary lived with Charles and his family through the 1880 Census. She is listed as Charles mother, which would also make her Thomas’ mother. All three censuses say she was born in Vermont in 1793. I can’t go back much further, because I don’t know what her maiden name was, or what her deceased husband’s first name was. The 1850 Census is the first census that lists more than the head of household, and Charles, his wife Olivia, and two sons and two daughters are the only family members listed that I can find.  

It’s still a wonderful lead I didn’t have before, and even several years later, I’m still excited!

Discover your roots and watch the branches of your family tree begin to grow.

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On This Date in Minnesota History: April 15

April 15, 1912 – According to researchers, 25 of the Titanic's passengers were traveling to Minnesota. Most were Scandinavian emigrants. Eleven Minnesota-bound passengers survived, including [John Pillsbury] Snyder, the grandson of Minnesota's eighth governor, and his 22-year-old wife. John Snyder died in 1959, Nelle Snyder in 1983.”