Featured Post

The Beginning

So, this is Dad and Mom. Ray is the son of Conrad Herrmann and Kate Bundock. He is the step-son of Edith Armstrong and Wally Hewitt. ...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

We Interrupt The Mitchells for a Word from the Norgren Branch

I will get back to the Mitchell branch soon (I am doing a little research before continuing), but I just wanted to file a report on an update for the Norgren Branch (Specifically - Maria Eriksdotter Norgren):
"This is Carol reporting from the Nav Station on s/v Moonlight Sue. 
Yesterday afternoon - at approximately 4:10 pm (or so) - I decided to check out the new databases on Ancestry.com that were shared by familysearch.com in a new agreement between the two websites. Within these new databases was one for Norway Burials. Oooooo....I love this. 
See, the two websites have two totally different criteria for searching when entering ancestor information. So, I entered various surnames for my Norwegian branch - really not expecting anything new as I "thought" I had covered the database extensively on familysearch. 
When I previewed the hits for Norgren, to my surprise, there was the name - Maria Norgren. 
Here is the transcribed record that I found:

Name: Maria Norgren

Gender: Female

Marital status: Widowed

Death Place: Oslo, Norway
Burial Date: 20 jun 1896
Burial Place: Sagene/Uranienborg/etc./, Oslo, Norway
FHL Film Number: 1283270
Reference ID: bk 5 p 147 n 36

Could this actually be our Maria? The Maria we 

(myself, my cousin in Norway and my cousin in Utah)

spent so many months searching for a death record? 

The Maria who sent a letter to her daughter in Utah so

many years ago, than no one heard from her again?

I contacted my cousin in Norway via FB and sent the 

above info to get her opinion on it. Unfortunately, I 

disturbed her dinner, but she was so excited that my 

imagination ran wild and I could picture her eating her

dinner at record pace so that she could rush to her 

computer and begin her search for the actual records.

I did a little searching, but the time came for my late 

afternoon sundowners on deck and dinner 

preparations right afterwards, so I had to wait for 

later in the evening to catch up with the search.

By the time I got back, she had found the death 

record - and it was our Maria!

I believe we may have caused the Earth's axis to go 

awry as we bounced up and down in glee over the 

discovery, because she not only found her death

record, but she also found her in the 1875 and 1885

Norway Census records.

A snip from the record. Maria passed away 16 Jun 1896 in Fredrikstad. This record has her maiden name and her birth year - two facts that confirm she is our Maria!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Mitchell blog post - which will arrive as soon as I get the info ready.

I ben

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Update and Correction from Previous Mitchell Post

I decided to look for that article of Bart Mitchell giving blood for his ill sister. I have a sub for Newspaper.com and did a general search -actually finding the article 15 minutes into the search. The sister in question was not Jennie, but Winifred who had married William Baumer (more on them in a future post). 
So, here is the article from the Sioux County Index dated 03 Feb 1922. 

A quick note here: The daughter mentioned at the end of the article was not Winifred and William's only child. I will talk more on the family in an upcoming post.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Mitchell Branch

I have 4 older brothers whose father was Welch James Mitchell, also known as Rocky.
Rocky was born in Iowa to Bartholomew James Mitchell and Ellen Regina Welch. He had 4 siblings - Mary, Bart, Rita and Betty Lou. I have never met any of them. Even though Mom never thought to much of Rocky, his brother, or his father (and I don't ever recall her making mention of any of Rocky's sisters), she did remember Rocky's mother and spoke fondly of her. 
I don't know much about Rocky. I know he re-married, but I do not know to whom. My younger Mitchell brother was working in real estate with Rocky and his brother years ago, so he may know the name of his father's wife and if Rocky had any more children, but I never asked him, so I do not know.
Rocky's brother, Bart,  had married and had at least one child. His sister, Mary Helen, married and had at least 5 children. His sister, Rita Ann, also was married, but I do not have any children listed for her.  His younger sister, Betty Lou, was married and had at least one child.
His father, Bartholomew James Mitchell, had been born in Iowa to Bartholomew Mitchell and Mary Gaffey. His mother, Ellen, was also born in Iowa to James Welch and Mary Anne Carroll.
The elder Bartholomew had eight siblings - Jennie, Kate, Mary Ann, Bernard, Margaret, Elizabeth, Winifred, and Agnes. Ellen, on the other hand, only had four siblings - Bridget, James, Marie and Katherine.
Bartholomew (who was known as Bartley) and Mary both immigrated from Ireland. Bartley arriving in 1864, and Mary arriving either in 1863 or 1864. They married in Sterling, Illinois, residing in Whiteside County before moving to Crawford County in Iowa. 
There is some dispute on Bartley's sister, Jennie. I recall reading an article online about Jennie and her husband, Emil Krueger, moving to Nebraska with their children. The article stated that Jennie fell ill and doctor's believed a blood transfusion would save her life, but no one was compatible, including a nephew who was present at the time and whose last name was Hickey.  Jennie's brother, Bart, was on his way to the hospital to give his blood to help his sister, but she had died before he could arrive to save her. 
Now, the dispute on Jennie stems from an obituary article from Vail in 1893 of a young married woman whose name was given as Mrs. Emil Kruger. I don't believe that this was Jennie Mitchell doe to the article I had read several years ago. So, I will post what I have and what I believe is truthful until other facts become available to disprove it.
Jennie married Emil Krueger  and they had  at least 5 children - Louie, John, Ella, Bartley, and Emily.  The family appears in the 1900 Federal Census in Denison, Iowa. Jennie must have been "fragile" even at that time as they have a 20 year old German female servant living with them.  There is evidence from this Census that Emil could have been previously married and that some of the children reported in this census were from that marriage. Saint Anne Cemetery listings on findagrave.com  does have Emil, Jennie and a Johanna, reported to be the first wife of Emil. Johanna died in 1893 (the same year for the woman from the obituary article).  The listings for Emil and Jennie report that Emil died in 1906, and Jennie in 1952. I would surmise that Louis, John and Ella were from Emil's marriage to Johanna. Bartley and Emily were Jennie's natural children with Emil. There is also a possiblity of a third child - Carl. He appears as a son in the 1910 Federal Census with Jennie in Omaha. By this time she is widowed with her children Bart, Emily and Carl living with her along with step-children Lin (Louis), John and Ella. 
Jennie is still in Omaha in the 1920 Census. Living with her are her children, Bart, Emily and Charles F (who was recorded as Carl in the 1910 Census). Also livng in her home are 4 boarders - Eva Tibbets, Laveena Keenan, Maria Mitchell and Josephine Green. It is unknown whether Maria is a relation of Jennie.
Jennie still resides in Omaha in the 1930 Census, but now she has only boarders living with her. Besides Josephine (who still lives in the residence with her), Jennie now has Gladys Sipe, Roy Mitchell, Cliffton Hegglund, Arthur Hendricks, and Robert Erlich as lodgers. Again, as it was with Maria, it is unknown if Roy was any relation to Jennie.
The 1940 Census has Jennie in Omaha once again with her son, Bart, residing with her. Ancestry.com has transcribed her name in error with that being Janice instead of Jennie. 
I believe Jennie died in Omaha (per that article I had read) and her remains were transported back to Vail to be buried in the Saint Anne Cemetery.
I will continue more on the siblings of Bartley in my next post.

This is a transcription of the obituary that some researchers mistake for Jennie, but is actually Emil's first wife, Johanna:

  Kruger, Mrs. Emil 1893

Denison Review 12-13-1893 - Vail Observer

Mrs. Emil Kruger, Tuesday morning, Dec. 5, 1893, at her 

residence in Vail, of lung fever. Mrs. Kruger had been sick 

only about two weeks and on Saturday last seemed so 

much better that it was though there was no doubt of 

her speedy recovery. But the terrible disease had fastened 

its fangs with too sure a grip and on Tuesday morning at 

about 6 o'clock she passed away sincerely lamented by all 

who knew her.

Three children, the eldest but seven years 

of age, the youngest one and a half years,

 are left motherless by this most distressing 

blow. The light of a happy household has 

been suddenly extinguished. The 


of the presence and the brighter prospects 

of the future have been alike destroyed and 

in their stead reigns the gloom of 

bereavement, the darkness of grief. The 

sorrowing husband, loved, honored and 

respected by his fellow men has, in this 

hour of greatest trial, the heartfelt sympathy 

of all

This is Ellen Welch Mitchell (mother of Rocky) with some of her grandchildren.(I do not know which grandchildren).

Rocky with one of my brothers. I only have a few photo's with Rocky in them.



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hilmar Eugen Bjerkmann

Hilmar Eugen Bjerkmann (my grandfather) was the 5th son, and the 9th and last child of Andreas and Gustava.
We know he worked at Spigerverk, for a time, along with his father and brother. 
In 1912, he accompanied his sister, Nora, and her children to the U.S. Nora's husband, Harald, had arrived in 1909 and settled in Waukegan, Illinois. Harald sponsored and paid for passage for all of them.
Some facts gleaned from the passenger list of the Franconia - Hilmar arrived with $2.00 in his pocket (Nora reported no money, but her daughter, Esther, had $5.00). Hilmar reported his occupation as painter and his next-of-kin contact was his mother, Gustava (Nora reported her sister-in-law, Davida, as her next-of-kin).  Hilmar's physical description was 5'6" with brown hair and gray eyes (Nora reported herself as brown hair and blue eyes and her children were all blonde hair and blue eyes). All reported their health and physical condition as good; and all reported their destination as Harald's residence in Waukegan (naturally). 
Hilmar's finacee, Ragnhild, would arrive seven months later, her passage being paid for by Harald, mistakenly recorded as her Uncle rather than her (future) brother-in-law. She recorded her next-of-kin as her father, Herman, and listed her physical description as brown hair and brown eyes; in good health, and with $25.00 in her possession. Her destination also being Harald's residence in Waukegan.
Hilmar and Ragnhild (now known as Gene and Emily) married a month after Emily's arrival in the U.S. The following year, the first of their four children was born - Rollie. Ivan would follow two years later; and two years after Ivan, Earl was born. Ester, their only daughter, would arrive about 2 years and 4 months after Earl.
Gene and Emily would raise their family in Waukegan and Lake Forest, suburbs in the Chicago area. Gene would also build a house there. He joined the Swedish Glee Club, traveling around with the club and performing at various functions. Gene was a painter by trade, but there was another occupation that very few knew about at the time  - an agent in the Secret Service.
The extent of his duties in the Secret Service are not fully known, but Mom used to tell the story of vacations with other families at Turtle Lake in Wisconsin. She talked about how wonderful those vacations were, only to discover years later that the purpose of them was actually part of Grandpa's job in the Secret Service. You see, while families of the Secret Service vacationed on one side of the lake, Organized Crime families vacationed on the other side of the lake. 
I have seen Grandpa's Secret Service I.D. badge, but I'm not sure where it is now. While Mom told me she gave it to my brother, my brother said he doesn't have it. It's one item that I'd really like to find and scan. It was such a cool badge.
Tragedy did strike the family when their son, Earl, died in a car crash in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I will blog about Earl next.
Shortly after Earl's passing, Gene and Emily moved to Southern California. Their daughter, Ester, was living there at the time, so I imagine this played a role in the move.
Their son, Rollie, stayed in Illinois. He was married with children of his own. Ivan, also married and also living in Illinois, would later move his family to Southern California, too. Emily's sister, Judith, and her family would move to Southern California after their arrival from Norway.
Nora and her family would move to Florida.
Gene passed away in 1953. Emily passed away in 1974. They are buried together at Mt. Hope Cemetery in San Diego.

This is Eva. Mom said she arrived from Sweden and lived with Grandpa and Grandma to help take care of their children. She also said that Eve was like a sister to her and that she thought she was a member of the family from the "old country". I am still trying to find out who she was, what her full name was, and what happened to her.

The Bjrokman family. Grandma (holding Mom), Rollie, Grandpa, Ivan, and Eva (holding Earl).

Mom kept this photograph of her father on her dresser for as long as I can remember.

Gene Bjorkman. This photograph was in his Memorial Card. 

The Hilmar Bjorkman Family

Gene, Emily, Rollie, Irene, Beverly, Ivan, Millie, Earl, Esther, and Welch (Rocky)

The Swedish Glee Club. Grandpa is in the middle row, second from the right.

The house Grandpa built on N. Butrick. It is still there.

The Bjorkman Children at Turtle Lake.