On the search . . . .

For many years now I've been searching my past in an endeavor to unfold the tales of my family. I've traveled (via the internet) to England, Denmark, Norway, Ohio, Nebraska, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. I've spent time personally visiting historic Boston and their wonderful cemeteries and, or course, visited my ancestors right here in California. My ancestors have touched the world in many places... and I hope to enjoy some of their experiences. I want you to join me as I travel through my past... and uncover their stories..

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Joseph Garrett ~ My 6th Great Grandfather

My sixth great grandfather, Joseph Garrett, was born on 12 Mar 1743 in Goshen, Chester, Pennsylvania, United States to Mary Sharpless and Joseph Garrett.  He was one of ten children.  

In 1770, at the age of 27, Joseph married Charity Collins.  The 1770 census records indicate he owned: Acres - 210; Horses - 3; Cattle - 1; Sheep - 0; Servants - 0. 

Over several years they had six children; Benjamin (1772), Joseph (1773), Lydia (1775), Nathan (1778), Elizabeth (1780), and Sarah (1783).  While all their children grew to adulthood, Nathan died at a young age. 

The Garrett family had wanted to be part of the Quaker community however,  according to Quaker minutes because Joseph Garrett and Charity were married by a "priest" he was not permitted  to be a "Quaker".   The Quaker minutes also indicate that upon his death Joseph's children were then welcomed by the Friends by the Quakers.  

Joseph passed away at the age of 49, when his youngest child Sarah was only 9 years old.  His wife Charity was only 41. 

Charity passed away only 7 years later, at the age of 48. At that time her oldest child was 27 and her youngest was 16. 

A year after their mother's death, the following census of 1800 show the oldest son Benjamin with the remaining children - his siblings. He had living with him three (3) members of the household the age of 16 and younger and three (3) members of the household the age of 25 or older.  At that time it appears evident how the children had to take over for the family when they pass away at an early age. 

I have not found the burial locations of Joseph and Charity Garrett but assume they are somewhere in Pennsylvania.


Warm regards, 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Theodore Harold Moe ~ A Family Mystery Uncovered?

While there are some documented facts about Theodore Harold Moe there is much more we don't know about him.  I'll begin with what I do know.  

Theodore is my grandmother's (Bertha Moe Rasmussen) older brother and they were raised in a Catholic orphanage in Los Angeles, California since they were toddlers.   The orphange's records show him as "Harold Moe" and on Aug 27, 1908 he was 6 years and 9 months. That would make his birth date November 27, 1901*. Bertha Moe at 4 years and 11 months would have had a birth date of September 27, 1903*.   While his orphanage records indicate his name as Harold Moe subsequent records refer to him at Theodore Moe.  I will refer to him as Theodore Moe.

We also know his father died on August 27, 1908 as indicated by the Application for Admission and a copy of a letter I received by directly contacting the orphanage's archives several years ago.    We can only assume that both Theodore and Bertha were brought the the orphanage prior to that date to be cared for and the date of August 27, 1908 was the date on the application as that is when they were officially awarded to  Los Angeles County.  Both Theodore and Bertha could have been brought to the orphanage sometime between 1901 and 1907. There has been no information as to the mother of Theodore or Bertha except some records indicate she was Indian.

I frequently asked my grandmother, Bertha, and my mother Norma, for information regarding Theodore Harold Moe "Ted".  While I gleaned some information they both didn't seem very forth coming with information.  It appeared to be an emotional topic for my grandmother and while I pressed the issue she would just state small facts and then share she was unable to discuss it. 

Through the years I did obtain some photos of  Ted.
Theodore Moe & my mother Norma
Theodore Harold Moe - date unknown
The two photos I have here are the only two photo's I had of him for most of my research years.   In the first photo (to the left), I don't have the year but Ted looks to be in his late teens.  The photo to the right, is with my mother, Norma Rasmussen Booth.  She was born in 1927, and based on the appearance of her age, I would date this photo to have been taken around 1930.  Theodore would have been 26 years old.

Both my cousin and I kept researching Ted's history.  My cousin then discovered, through newspaper archives,  the information I posted here.   Wow!  Ted had been charged and convicted of stealing a phonograph and radio set from a patient at a private sanitarium.    While this occurred in Los Angeles, California, Ted was ordered to serve his time at San Quentin prison. 

This shows the newspaper article and some additional information regarding the sanitarium and it's location. 

So now my thoughts go to my grandmother and why she didn't want to discuss her brother.  I'm sure she was embarrassed. We didn't discover this information until after my grandmother's death therefore it wasn't a topic we could approach with her.   That probably was for the better. 

As one thinks about Ted, and the charges that were filed against him, in today's time it really would not have warranted any kind of prison term. It might not have even landed him jail. Fines yes, but jail time, who knows.  

Recently, as ancestry.com released more documents, my cousin found his mug shot and the initial documentation of his entrance into San Quentin State Prison.   It certainly is amazing that this document was found.   I search for information on Theodore Moe has taken decades.  I began inquires with the orphanage where they resided in the 1980's.  There was no internet.  It was mostly via phone calls and some written letters to them.   

Here is the last record that has been found on Theodore Harold Moe.  I find that the photo is very crisp and detailed, taken in 1924. In that photo he looks a lot like my grandmother.   I learned he had a prior record of being drunk and was in L.A. County jail.  The year that this took place, in 1920, was during prohibition - certainly an interesting time in history. 

So the photo I have above of Theodore (my mother's uncle) and my mother we had seen for many years. What we didn't know was that that photo was taken after his release from San Quentin. 

What I was told, by my Mother, was that Theodore struggled through life. She believes he had one child but had no idea what happened to her and his girlfriend.    She added that Theodore had worked part time as a barber and did other odd jobs for money.  He lived with my grandmother (his sister) and her husband off and on but they finally told him he had to leave, learn to take care of himself, and find work.     

Theodore's life ends with this death certificate.  It shows his father's name as Martin Moe and mother is unknown. Theodore was employed as a "cook".  He died of pneumonia and chronic alcoholism.  He was buried, via the county, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Los Angeles.  I recall my grandmother telling me she had no money for his funeral, and didn't claim him, therefore the country placed him in an unmarked grave.

A family member, since then, did purchase a marker for him which I believe gave my grandmother some peace.

So, it appears, my great uncle Theodore was a pistol.  Caused a bit of trouble and paid the consequences.  In today's day, he would not have gone to prison.

Rest in peace, Theodore, you are not forgotten.

Warm regards, 


* Their birth dates are calculated using this birth date calculator:  http://www.searchforancestors.com/utility/birthday.html

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jane White Booth ~ Died in a Union Workhouse

I enjoy GeneaBloggers and it's daily prompts which give me a nudge of ideas to keep me engaged in writing about my ancestors.  Each day we get encouraging topics to get our minds thinking of what has transpired in the past.   Today's daily I'm choosing is "Wishful Wednesday".  You'll understand why when you finish reading this post.

Jane White Booth was my 5th Great Grandmother who lived her life in Gloucestershire, a county in South West England. It includes the cities of  Gloucester, Cirencester, Stroud and Tewkesbury.

Jane was born about the year 1778 in Gloucestershire, England and died December 24, 1853 (Christmas Eve) in a Union Workhouse in Tewkesbury, England.  She was 75 years old.

Death Cert: Died at "Union Workhouse Tewkesbury" of "Natural Decay"

I have no photos of my 5th great grandmother Jane, just some records and an online photo of where she was living when she died.   As I was reviewing her records I noticed her place of her death.  It had passed by my eyes before.  She died  at a "Union Workhouse" and I didn't know what that was. So I began my research.

Wikipedia states, "In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment".  

I felt bad that she had to die in a workhouse.  She had a husband, George Boothe, my 5th great grandfather, but I have no record when he died.  I know he was born about 1782 and only can determine his death was before hers (1853) as her death certificate states she was a widow.   I also know she had at least one son, John Booth. John, my 4th great grandfather, was born in 1804 and his date of death is unknown.  I know John began serving in the Royal Marines at the age of 16,  married  Mary Hardy, and  had four children that I'm aware of.  My records indicate that her son John, and his family, lived in Wellington, England keeping John about 100 miles from his mother.

Tewkesbury UK Workhouse where Jane Booth died in 1853
I have to wonder why a son, and his family would have his mother live in a workhouse, when he is relatively close to her - 100 miles. Well, close in today's standards.  But in 1853 a 100 miles is quit a distance on a horse and buggy.

So, what was Jane Booth's life like in the final days of her life? At www.workhouses.org.uk workhouses in the mid-1800's are described as.. "To stay in one, you have to work to help pay your way. Jobs are menial and repetitive and some are simply punishments, such as oakum picking (separating strands of old rope). Until the 1840s, 'disorderly and profligate women' – a category that includes impoverished single mothers – are forced to wear distinctive yellow clothes, which leads to them being bullied. In the 1860s and 1870s, conditions in the special wards for the insane or for those with venereal (sexually transmitted) disease are especially grim."

So to my 5th Great Grandmother, on this Wishful Wednesday,  I wish your final days could have been spent with family.  I wish your final days were of happy memories of you and your departed husband George and your handsome son John.  My final wish is that I wish I could have met you.

Warm regards, 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Maren Rasmussen & Soren Poulsen ~ Aarhus, Denmark

For most of my genealogical searching years (over 30 yrs) I didn't have any information on my great grandfather's (Andreas Rasmussen) siblings. When my grandfather (Robert Rasmussen) was alive, for some reason, I didn't think to ask about them.  That was odd for me because I was always asking about family that had passed.

So now fast forward many years.  I found a wonderful photo of my great grandfather's sister and her family who lived in Denmark.  I was lucky to find this photo via another distant family member who has a family tree on ancestry.com.   That photo gave me the opportunity to get to know my Great Grand Aunt, Maren Rasmussen, and her family.  Through this photo,  and further research, this is what I learned.

est. 1915
The woman at the bottom left is my Grand Aunt Maren Rasmussen. To her right would be my Grand Uncle Soren Poulsen.  Behind are five of their children. L to R, Anders Johan Poulsen (b.1888), Johanne Poulsen (b.1893), Rasmus Poulsen (b.1898), Margarethe Poulsen (b.1895) and Christian Poulsen (b.1887).  I'm estimating this photo to have been taken around 1915.  That is based on their birth dates and the ages they seem to appear.

Maren Rasmussen (May 2, 1856 - June 2, 1941) married Soren Poulsen (June 19, 1859 - May 5, 1938) on July 29, 1882.  The census records indicate the family lived in Aarhus, Denmark. 

The Poulsens, had already experienced some of their children's passings. At the estimated time of this photo,  they had a son, Rasmus Poulsen (Sept 26, 1884 - Nov 29, 1888) who had died at the age of 4. Then they had another son, again named Rasmus Poulsen who only lived a few weeks (Apr 1, 1889 - Apr 14, 1889). Then in 1902, their child Paul Cort Poulsen (Aug 24, 1882 - Aug 25, 1902)  died, at the age of 20.

Here is the 1901 Denmark Census that shows the family.  Father, Soren Poulsen, is working as a "thatcher".  Mother, Maren, stayed in the home.  This census shows where each of them were born.

I wonder what that gathering was for, in the photo above.  They seem to be dressed in black.  Well, mother is dressed in black. It's actually hard to tell the colors they are wearing with the black and white film.

So on this Father's Day, I'm happy to be sharing a photo of a father and his children.  A father that worked as a Thatcher, had eight children, lost at least three before him, and lived his life in Aarhus, Denmark.

Happy Father's Day,  Soren Poulsen

Warm regards, 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Find ~ One Uncle, Three distinctly different names! Lesson on lost relatives

     I've known for many years that my Danish family immigrated to
the United States in 1891.  A few years ago I began searching to see if I could find them on manifest records.  I was curious if they all came together or made separate trips.    I was interested in my Great Grandparents, Andreas and Anna Rasmussen but today I was more interested in "Uncle Frank".  The family was never clear, exactly, on the relationship of "Uncle Frank Monsen". I recall being told he was my great grandmother's (Anna Monsen) brother. But I can't find him in any Danish census or church records. I have found him here in U.S. Census's but I am more interested in his life prior to arriving in the U.S.  So I was determined again to see what I could find.  
     After some hours of searching I found and looked closely at his "Declaration of Intention".  What I saw was quite interesting. First the only reason I know this is him is because of the address he has listed.  I know this is our family address in Los Angeles.  By deduction of other family members and verifying the birth date listed this was "Uncle Frank".  But the name listed was very different.   It's states his name as "Moyens Marius Magnusen".  Not close at all to "Frank Monsen".  This document also listed his date of arrival and the name of the ship he traveled on, so I began searching immigration passenger lists. But then I reviewed the Declaration document again and it clearly states he came through immigration with the name of "Mayeno Mayunson". What?  Why?  Another very different name.    So I go back to searching passenger lists on the British Prince that he traveled on. After scanning and scanning I find him.  There is "Mayeno Mayunson" on the list.   I look at other names on the manifest and can't locate any other family members.  However, if they are traveling under a different name they may be there and I just don't know it.   So as I read "Mayeno Mayuson's" information it shows he's only 10 years old and has one (1) piece of luggage.   I wonder to myself how he can travel to a new country, on a huge immigration ship, all alone.   I see his destination is listed as Independence, OH which coincides with where our family first settled upon arrival.
You can see his name here right below the center division black line.  It was an amazing find for me. I can't determine what that word is in the "calling" column.  It looks like "boy" but I'm not sure.  I did more searching and also found an advertisement for these immigration journeys. I find the description of the voyage very fascinating.
When searching for your relatives be very careful.  Don't give up.   Look very closely at all the documents.  See if you can discover a secondary or even third name that your relative may have gone by.  

So "Uncle Frank", or "Uncle Moyens"... no "Uncle Mayeno".. ugh..  he's my Uncle Frank who I remember well.   As we all know about hindsight... if I only knew to ask him about his journey here, why did different names.  I know Frank is a more Americanized name but why the second variation. I never realized he was only ten.  I'm still determined to find more information on him in the Danish records although now I know he only lived in Denmark for ten years there won't be much.   My thoughts are with you today Uncle Frank.

Warm regards,