lilgryphon: (Ari)
( May. 30th, 2009 11:13 pm)
Well after I posted the next chapter of TE I thought I'd put up some ramblings of Genealogy. Mostly because it's driving me crazy, and if I get it out maybe I can clear my mind a bit to work more on Cassandra's chapters. This is really for my own benefit, as writing it out helps me think, but if anyone else is interested...

A little bit of background, my maternal grandmother is going to be 91 years old in a week, and her line is the one I've been trying to research. Her mother died giving birth to her brother (who survived) when she was only 18 months old. Shortly after they were both taken in by different families (although she was never adopted) and her father disappeared. The rumor she was told was that he left for California and started another family there.

I started out my search just trying to confirm who her parents were, all she could tell me was they were Verna Peterson and John Charges. Try a google search sometime with names like that and see what you come up with, lol!! Eventually I was able to track down the Peterson family and found out that John was from Greece. I have found no less than half a dozen spellings of his last name, all of them somewhat near to Chiazes. I've even had a Greek specialist help me, and apparently the name is uncommon all around, so for now I'm at a bit of a dead end with his line. Not that I've given up.

It is the Petersons, though, that drive me mad. Their story is one that is just dying to be told, and the more documents I find the more that it plagues me because I have this need to know what happened to them. I think it was the 1910 census that made this need surface, when I found their family on the same page as my grandfather, who was only a baby at the time. Imagine, he was right there listed beside my great-grandmother!!

So in 1910 John and Alette Pedersen (I've seen both Pedersen and Peterson documents, but I am almost certain they were Pedersens to begin with) had 7 children, ranging from the ages of 16 and 5. According to the census Alette had given birth to only these 7, which I think is amazing back then to have lost none of them in infancy.

After finding that census things started to fall together, and I tried to find the family again in the 1920s, which is also the year when my great-grandmother died, but it seemed as if the entire family had simply vanished. So I started searching death records. It turned out John tied shortly after the census was taken, in September of 1910. The thought of Alette with all those children tore at me, trying to continue alone when she had only been a homemaker before her husband's death. I should also mention that both John and Alette had been emigrants from Norway, and from all the records I've found it looks as if they had no family here in Utah.

I became obsessed at this point to find information on the oldest son, Carl. Certainly he would have to step into his father's shoes after his death, all the other children between him and the youngest were girls. Try as I might I could find nothing on him. So I moved onto the other children.

I found my great-grandmother's death certificate, Verna. She was buried here in the Salt Lake valley, and I had the pleasure of taking my mother and grandmother to her grave. It was unmarked, and my grandma cried when she was able to finally know where she was. She purchased her a gravestone, and was able to have it put on before Memorial Day.

It turned out that the Pederson family had an actual family plot there, with 10 members. Imagine my excitement when I found John and Alette's grave, Verna's, two of her sisters, and her youngest brother were also there. Too my surprise one of the sisters had died the same year my grandmother was born. I couldn't imagine having to bury two of my children within 18 months of each other. So I had four of the seven children found, but still nothing of Carl's and he kept gnawing at me.

I put everything on the back burner, went on my family trip last month, and came home and devoted my time to TE. Then I went back to the family history library two days ago. Someone suggested I look up Utah marriage indexes on slides, not the computer, and I found two more of the missing sisters. Carl eluded me again.

Then, with some bizarre streak of luck I was trying to find guardianship papers of my grandmother, even though she hadn't been adopted, I thought it was a start. Imagine my surprise when I found guardianship papers of the youngest son in 1918, 8 years after his father's death - papers to make his mother his guardian. Some six months before I was able to also find an estate taken to probate court for Carl. I still can't find his death certificate....I can only assume that the two brothers had been in residence together before his death.

So there is the very long background. I keep going back to 1910...When John died, where did the family live? I know by 1920 Alette was listed as a servant in another household with her youngest son also in residence. Those ten years drive me crazy...Verna, Mabel, AND Carl died in a span of 2-3 years (as I have not been able to obtain exactly when Carl died). And why, if Carl died so close to his sisters, is he not in the family plot?? I thought he may have died in WWI, but I cannot find a draft card for him, or any proof that he was a casualty. I keep digging, and every piece hopefully will bring me closer to answers.

Cookies, BTW, to anyone that actually read this madness!!!

ETA - I cannot believe how long that was after I posted it!! Double cookies...
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