Sunday, January 04, 2009

How I tracked down my grandmother's cousins.

In papers we inherited from our grandfather we had information about my father’s maternal grandmother and her parents. She was Telsche Friederika Lorenzen, born 11 Oct 1866 in the Village of Fedderingen, City of Heide in what was then Schleswig-Holstein, once a part of Denmark, an independent country for a while in the midlle of the 19th Century and, since 1864, a part of Germany. Her father was Johann Bracker Lorenzen, born 26 Dec 1828 and her mother was Wiebka Catharina Rohde born 1832, both also from Fedderingen. She had older brothers Hans, b. 1858, John, b. 1862, and a younger sister Sophia b. 1871 and a younger brother Augusta, b. 1874. The family immigrated to America when my ggrandmother was a little girl. My ggrandmother, Friederika Lorenzen, married my ggrandfather, William Beck in Iowa, where my greataunt Adele and grandmother Alma were born and then about 1897 the family moved to Minnesota where my greataunt Luella was born.

Here is a diagram of what we knew:

We had heard stories from my grandfather and father (my grandmother died when we were young) about my grandmother traveling to Oregon to visit her Lorenzen cousins and we had the following photographs:

In this photo we recognized the three young women as our grandmother and her two sisters. Writing on the back of the photo told us that the two boys were John and Gus Lorenzen and that the picture was taken at Lehman Springs, Oregon in 1915.

In this photo we recognized our grandmother and her sisters and we recognized the older women as their mother, Friedericka. Writing on the back said that the young woman in the center was Ann Lorenzen.

In this photo 'X's have ben penned in to show my grandmother and her 2 sisters. Writing on the back said that this was 'Uncle Henry Lorenzen's farm' and that the people in the photo were 'all related'.

This was all we knew about our grandmother's Lorenzen cousins until a few weeks ago when we visited my father's first cousin Herb, the son of my grandmother's sister, Adele. He is 85 years old and he has lost some memories but he could still remember a few things. Unlike my father he had visited the Lorenzen relatives out in Oregon. He told us that Uncle Henry's farm was near Pendleton, Oregon. He said that the John Lorenzen and Ann Lorenzen in the photos were brother and sister and he thought their father might be 'Uncle Henry' Lorenzen. Ann Lorenzen's married name had been Kilgore and John Lorenzen had had 3 daughters. He also remembered that his mother had had a first cousin out in Las Vegas, New Mexico named Ira Paulsen, so a sister of Friederika must have married someone named Paulsen.

I decided to see if I could take that bit of information and using the census, SSN death index and ship lists in, to which I had a subscription, to fill out this missing portion of our family tree.

This is a portion of the passenger list for the ship Vandalia sailing from Hamburg to New York, arriving 20 May 1872. It shows a Johann Lorenzen (age 41) with wife Wiebka (40), son Hans (14), son John (9), Telche (4) and Maria (baby). That seems to match our family if we assume that Maria is really Sophia.

Next I looked in census records for Lorenzens near Pendleton, Oregon.

Click on the image to see it larger. This is a portion of the 1900 census for a rural area of Umatilla County near the town of Pendleton. It shows a Henry Lorenzen, born in Germany 1862, emigrated in 1872, married 7 years to Bertha, born in Germany 1867, emigrated in 1887 and sons John, born in Oregon 1894, daughter Anna, born in Oregon in 1896, son Gustav, born in Oregon in 1898. There are the John, Ann and Gus from our photos and they would have been aged 21, 19 and 17 in 1915 when the pictures were taken. That seems about right. Henry's birthday seems to match the Friederika's brother John. Perhaps Henry (or Hermann) was his middle name and he used it the way my ggrandmother went by Friederika rather than Telsche.

Here is the family tree with this new information added:

Where was the rest of the family in 1900?

Click the image to see it full sized. This is a page from the 1900 census for Doon Township, Lyon, Iowa. I couldn't find any of the family in 1880 or 1890 census but here they all are. At the bottom of the previous page of the census is Hans R. Lorenzen, Head of Household, born Jan 1858 in Germany, married 6 years to wife Maggie, born April 1871 in Germany, son John H, born in Feb 1895 in (N.S.?). On this page we have son Fred M., born Jun 1896 in Iowa, son Herman C, born Jun 1898 in Iowa, and unnamed twin babies one male, one female born May 1900 in Iowa. Also in the household is Dora Paulson, sister-in-las to Hans. Wife Maggie's maiden name must be Paulson. The 1910 census shows this family has moved to Umatilla County, Oregon

The next line in the census, but listed as a separate household, is Wiebka Lorenzen, widow, born May 1832 in Germany. Johann had died before the 1900 census and Wiebka is living next-door to her son Hans' family.

Farther down the page we find John Paulson and wife Sophia and daughter Elma and son Herbert. The 1920 and 1930 census show this family moved to New Mexico and a son Ira born in 1907. This must be the Sophia married to a Paulson with a son Ira that lived in New Mexico.

At the bottom of the page we have a Gustav Lorenzen, born in 1874 in Iowa and married to a Katie Meyers. The 1910 and 1920 census show this family has moved to Umatilla County, Oregon. This must be Friederika's brother Augusta.

Goto Part2

1 comment:

Susan said...

We are related. My grandmother (Leona Lorenzen) was your grandmother's cousin.
Would love to be able to share with you some of the family notes I have if you are interested.