Saturday, May 21, 2011

Norwegian genealogy

I've been learning a lot about Norway and Norwegian genealogy this week, but just today I was overwhelmed when I got an e-mail from a guy in Norway who had information about my 2nd great-grandmother's father side, Johan Nilsen. He sent me a Word document that was mainly in Norwegian but I managed to translate it into English, at least for the most part. I also found a webpage that contained information on Julia's mother's side but I was definitely more interested in her father's side since I hadn't found any clues.

The funniest thing so far is that Johan Nilsen translated into English turns into John SMITH. Now whether that's just the simplest way to translate it or because Nielsen is a common name in Norway and Smith is so common here in the US that it just made sense I don't know. I sent the original Norwegian document to another guy who lives in Norway and he's going to see how it actually translates.

I have to say that the Norwegian people, at least those that I have talked to so far are not only very helpful but also very nice and forgiving especially since the naming practices are confusing and a bit intimidating. I'm looking forward to what else Harald is going to send me and who knows we may end up finding out that we're related. That would be the coolest thing I think. To actually have a cousin in Norway that I could write to.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Genealogy learning something new everyday

Its been a pretty good couple of days for me genealogically speaking. Turns out I had the WRONG passenger list for Julia because I didn't take into consideration that she would've most likely traveled WITH her husband and child. So again with some help from fellow researcher Robert, I managed to find Carl, Julie, Anton AND another child from Carl's FIRST marriage, Ole Gustav. Its seems they sailed NOT from Sweden, although that's where Carl was born, but from Norway, Christiania to be exact and arrived in QUEBEC of all places. Now from there I don't know exactly when they went to Chicago, which again was their final destination but they left Norway 15 April 1871 and arrived in Canada 22 May 1871.

I also discovered with a little help (more like a hint) that Julia and Martin had another sibling and it was actually a name I had picked out but wasn't quite sure she was the right one because much like the name Smith, there are a LOT of similar surnames (for lack of a better term) in Norway and Sweden and with the females keeping their father's names ever AFTER marriage makes it a little hard to find the right couple.

But the family arriving in Canada reminded me of something my Uncle Clarence told me once when I asked him about Great-grandpa Ring's siblings. He had mentioned (I think) that two brothers had 'died' and/or killed themselves in Canada. I don't know exactly what he told me only that he DID mention Canada. That made me think that perhaps Albert and James were born in Canada and THEN they came to Chicago, but I haven't found any birth records for them in Canada, or even Quebec. So I will have to try on Monday and Ancestry Library Edition.

In the meantime I am learning about the naming traditions in Norway and have joined two message boards that focus for the most part on Norwegian genealogy. Hopefully I'll find researchers there willing to help just like Robert.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gotta love genealogy and instincts

It was an interesting weekend for me on the genealogy front. Facebook changed the design of the 'groups' so that they look like other pages and it makes it easier to post queries, especially for genealogy groups. So I thought I would try it out at the Norwegian group I joined some time ago. And between that and posting to a local message board I think I may have (with a LOT of help mind you) just cracked the mystery of my 2nd great grandmother Julia (Nielsen, Olsen, Johnson) Ring.

I posted my query first to the Norwegian group just to see if anyone had any suggestions. This was last week. After getting some suggestions and websites to try, I went to my library and used Ancestry Library Edition. There I found a passenger listed for a Julia Olsen who's final destination was Chicago. The time period when she left SWEDEN was right, but it didn't provide any other information. Upon a suggestion from a member I posted another query this time to a local message board, specific to Cook County, Illinois. I got some suggestions and provided additional information. One member on the board, Robert, took it upon himself to do some digging and like me went with intuition when looking for the elusive Julia and her first husband, who's name I only suspected was on the birth record of one of her sons.

This morning he sent me images of Julia's birth record and her name Julia JOHNSDATTER, as well as the birth record of Anton Julius Olsen, her first child AND her first husband Karl Peter Olsen. I was completely blown away (and still am) to the point I had tears in my eyes. This brick wall seemed to be getting higher and higher with no end in sight but thanks to Robert and his intuition I think I can (I hope) find other records including when Carl came to America because my ancestor, Albert John Ring, was born in Chicago and Carl IS his biological father.

There is still a mystery to be solved though; according to Anton's birth record, Julia and Carl Peter were married AFTER he was born (somehow I had a feeling about that). The mystery is how Martin, Julia's 4th and last child with Carl Peter, wound up with his father's name being Martin Olsen on the birth register. But I have found the records that Robert sent me at FamilySearch, now that we're sure they were born in Norway and NOT Sweden. That was the other sticking point to this mystery. The marriage record shows the names of their fathers so with that I can try to find their mothers and maybe Carl Peter's birth record.

Instincts and intuition are something all good detectives use when they have a difficult case they need to crack. The same holds true for genealogists since we are in a sense detectives ourselves. I've relied on my instincts more than once but this time I had to get some help and they were the ones that went with what their instincts were telling them and it paid off. I am more than confident that Robert found my 2nd great-grandmother, her first husband and their first child and I want to thank him for doing the digging in places he thought to go. This wall is slowly but surely coming down and once it does let the bricks roll. :-)