Friday, October 29, 2010

Searching for Melbourn Crapser

As promised on Thursday, here is the story of how I discovered the Marriage License for Melbourn Crapser and Libbie Walker:

When I started researching Great-Great Grandpa Melbourn Crapser, I knew the following:
  • He was born in New York in 1858.
  • His father's name was Timothy.
  • He married Teolina Kjolseth, my Great-Great Grandma. Teolina was born in 1878.
  • Melbourn and Teolina had seven sons between 1900 and 1915 in South Dakota. The seven sons were Lawrence, Cecil, Harold, Oral (my Great-Grandpa), Lyle, Ray, and Marvin.
So I started my search for Melbourn in New York.  In the 1880 U.S. Census records I found a record of Melbourn, Minerva and Percy Crapser in Catskill, Green County, New York.

I discovered the Greene County History and Genealogy site and learned of many interesting leads to the Crapser line.   I found a biography for Melbourn, baptismal record, and cemetery records.

From the Mini Bios for the Men of the Town of Catskill:
Melbourn W. Crapser was born at Kiskatom, Catskill, April 29th 1858, and married Minerva Lewis. They have two children: Percy L., born August 18th 1878, died December 11th 1881; and Charles M., born July 12th 1880.
 From the Kiskatom Reformed Church Baptisms 1843-1930:
Infant baptisms by Rev. Geo. J. Van Neste

Jan 27, 1885 Charles M., b. Jun 13, 1881, Nathan L., b. Jul 18, 1883, Melvin W. Crapser, Minerva Lewis, at Nathan Lewis'
And from the Round Top Cemetery records:
Percy L. Crapser b. Oct. 18, 1878 d. Dec. 11, 1861*
Charles M. Crasper b. Jan. 13, 1880 d. Mar.23, 1905
Nathan L. Crasper b. July 18, 1883 d. Mar. 27, 1905
*Transcription error.  Based on Melbourn's biography in the Mini Bios listed above, Percy's death date should be 1881.
So we've acquired four more relatives (and a possible 5th - "blank" headstone pleads for answers) and identified Catskill, Greene County, NY as an early home. Then I realized Melbourn was still missing for 15 years. He was in New York in 1885 and didn't reappear until 1900 in South Dakota. Where was Melbourn for these 15 years?

I started digging through census records for New York and South Dakota, trying to locate him in either Greene County, NY or Brookings County, SD. A vast majority of the census records for 1890 were lost in a fire and South Dakota and New York were amongst those lost.  I did find him in the 1900 census for South Dakota with Grandma Teolina.

Hold on here though ...  The 1900 census also lists four children, Minnie, Delbert, Laura and Lewis. These four children were born in 1888, 1894, 1896, and 1898 respectively. But Melbourn and Teolina only had seven sons and only one son that was born in 1900.  Who are these children? 

A closer look at the census record indicated that Melbourn and Teolina had been married 0 years and Teolina had 0 children!  (View the census image)   Who is the mother of these four children? And where is she?

Then because the census record indicated the children were born in Illinois, I searched the online Illinois archives.I started by searching for birth certificates for Minnie, Delbert, Laura and Lewis.  I was unable to find Illinois birth records at the time, though it wouldn't hurt to try again.

While searching for other Crapser birth certificates in the South Dakota records, I did find a delayed birth record for an Adelbert Timothy Crapser.  This record wasn't filed until July 1942, but lists his birth date as June 17, 1894 and the parents as M W Crapser and Elizabeth Crapser.  I'm assuming this is our Delbert.

Then I began thinking ... For what reasons would a mom "leave" her children?  On another side of my family a mom left home to care for an ailing relative. Death was another possibility.  The youngest child, Lewis, is less than two years old in 1900 (born in June 1898) and Melbourn remarried a little over a year after Lewis' birth (August 1899).  Did the mother die during childbirth?

So South Dakota death records were searched.  I found Melbourn's death record for August 6th 1938, but nothing for an Elizabeth, Libbie, Lizzie, "E", or "L". 

Returning to the Illinois Archives, I finally found a marriage record for Melbourn Crapser and Libbie Walker in Chicago, Illinois!  I was able to identify which marriage record to request and sent a letter off to the Illinois Regional Archives.  A couple weeks later, I received three copies of the marriage license in varying copy settings from lightened to darked (AWESOME! I wouldn't have thought to do that, but all three show slightly different detail!)

And, of course, the marriage license led to the new discoveries of Boone County and Cook Country in Illinois, which led to more research in Illinois.  I also found burial records for Great-Great-Great Grandpa Timothy and a Robert Crapser, who is listed as the son of MW&E.
Round Prairie (aka Coynes) Cemetery, LeRoy Twp, Boone Co, Il.
Last FirstName BirthDate DeathDate Notes-Row
Crapser Robert H 17 Jan 1894 s/o MW&E; 2y 1m 24d 1/43a

Crasper Timothy 27 May 1825 23 Jun 1895 1/43b
*The link to the site I found this on no longer works, but it was a Boone County Cemetery page on Rootsweb/USGenweb.
But, the story doesn't end here.  Melbourn and Teolina divorced on July 8th 1919 and Melbourn disappears again!  He's missing from the 1920 census, which was taken in January. His children from Libbie have been adopted or married and Teolina remarried in March 1920 (and then had 2 more children - daughters this time!).  He is also missing from the 1930 census, the last available census record that can be viewed by the general public. As previously mentioned, Melbourn died on August 6,1938 in Brookings County. 

So one final mystery remains, where was Melbourn W Crapser between July 1919 and August 1938?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Marriage License for Melbourn Crapser and Libbie Walker

Today's treasure is the marriage license for my Great-Great Grandfather Melbourn W. Crapser and his second wife Elizabeth ("Libbie" or "Lizzie") Walker.

From Penny's Genes

The Marriage License reads:
To any person legally authorized to solomnize marriage greeting:

Marriage may be celebrated between Mr Melbourn W Crapser of Popler Grove in the County of Boon in the State of Illinois of the age of 28 years and Ms Libbie Walker of Popler Grove of the County of Boon in the State of Illinois of the age of 26 years.

Witness: M.W. Ryan, clerk of the County Court of said Cook country and the seal ____ of my office in Chicago this 28 day of September A.D. 1886.
M.W. Ryan, Clerk of the County Court

I, Lee M. Heilman, a minister of Gospel hereby certify that Mr. Melbourne W. Crapser and Miss Libbie Walker were united in marriage by me at Chicago in the County of Cook and State of Illinois on the twenty eighth day of Sept 1886.
Lee M. Heilman, Pastor Grace Luth Ch

Witness: Miss Laura Walker.

More to come ... (There is a story about how I found this one!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: a Hobo Day parade?

Last week was South Dakota State University's homecoming week, Hobo Days.  I wonder if this photo found in Grandma Leola's collection might be of a Hobo Day parade.

From Leola's Unknown Photos

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow Friday: The We Tree Genealogy Blog
Amy Coffin over on the We Tree Genealogy Blog has a neat idea, Fun with Search Terms.  This caught my attention, maybe because I deal with data, documents and retreival of the data and documents all day long at work.  Amy takes the time to shed a little light on how users can better find the information their looking for, even when it isn't actually part of her blog.  Thanks for pointing us all in the right direction, Amy! 

On a whim, I decided to look at search querries for my blog ... "geneablog", the one and only search term.  Keeping with Amy's tradition - here is the Geneabloggers site.

Also of note Amy and I share a common (way too common!) name "Mary Smith".  I predict my Mary Smith line will be right near impossible to discover though.  My Mary married a Michael White.  Their daughter then married the son of William Carter and Margaret Miller!  This is my Alonzo Carter and Lorena White family line.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: An Evening at Earl Carroll Theatre

In Grandma Leola (Workman) Crapser's collection of photos, I found a folder containing a photo of Leola at the Earl Carroll Theatre Restuarant in Los Angeles, California.

The back of the folder indicates it was purchased from "Hollywood Nite Club Photos" in Los Angeles on April 22, 1940 for a Total Price of $1.50.

From Leola's Crapser Family Photos

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday's Tech Tip: Tag Photos For Easier Comparisions

After scanning my Grandma Leola's collection of photos and memorabilia, I frequently found myself digging for similar photos.  I see a photo of a farm and wonder if that was the same farm in another picture, but alas it is impossible to remember where that other picture is. 

Then I realized that Google's Picasa photo program had a tagging feature, so I could be adding tags or keywords to all the photos as I went.  Windows Explorer (at least with Windows Vista) also allows you to add tags to photos.

Now as I review pictures I have scanned, I tag them with words like kids, dogs, horses, farm, and cars.  I also tag any photographer or location references that are on the pictures. 

When all the pictures have the appropriate tags, it should be easier for myself and others to look through any photos of farms and identify if they are the same farm.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mystery Monday - A Carnie in the Family?

From Leola's Unknown Photos

I wish I knew more of this photo's story. The photo was found amongst the photos from Leola (Workman) Crapser's collection.   I have heard that one of the Crapser brothers was a carnie.  I'm not sure which which brother, which carnival company or even the location at which this picture was taken though.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Changing It Up ... already!

Since discovering the Geneabloggers site, I've discovered that my blogging themes of Tuesday's Treasures, Thursday's Theories, and Saturday's Stumble Upons just don't match up well.  If I were to follow the daily blogging themes provided by Geneabloggers, my posts might be found easier by other genealogists.  So on that note, I'll be changing things up a bit and following the Geneabloggers blogging prompts.

Don't worry, I'll still be sharing my picture collection - just during Wordless Wednesday or Treasure Chest Thursday now.   You may also be seeing more treasures like marriage certificates and immigration documents during Treasure Chest Thursday.

I've also noticed that one of the Tuesday prompts is Tech Tuesday.  I enjoy writing tech tips (I know that sounds crazy!) and enjoy my genealogy, so I'm sure you'll be seeing tips from me!

I see I've acquired several new followers this week since joining the Geneabloggers group.  Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoy my adventures in genealogy and blogging!

Sunday's Obituary: Thore Singsaas

Following one of the daily blogging prompts from the Geneabloggers ( ...

The obituary of my Thore M. Singsaas, my great-great-great grandfather, was originally published in the Hendricks Pioneer, Hendricks MN on Friday, August 9, 1932.  The copy below was found in the "Sodbusters, Sunbonnets, & Singsaas Immigrants" family history booklet.

Tore M. Singaas was born in Singsaasmoe, Norway, on November 30, 1849, and passed away at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Peter J. Ramlo on August 12, 1932, being at the time of his death 82 years, eight months, and twelve days of age.

In the year 1870 he was united in marriage to Karrie Ingebrigtsdatter, and to this union were born ten children, three of whom died in Norway.

In the year 1890 he came to this country with his family, arriving at Canby, Minnesota, the 6th of June.  The oldest son, Absalon, had preceded his parents here by about a year or so.  The first year in their adopted country they resided with J. R. Ramlo and the following three years were spent on a farm near the place that latter became the family's farm home until 1914 when they moved to Hendricks, Minnesota.

Mrs. Singsaas passed away in February, 1915.  A daughter, Ingeborg, (Mrs. Martin Christianson) died the 3rd of April, 1926.  The children who mourn the loss of a father are Absalon of Buette, Montana; Gulaug, of Montana; Ingebregt, of Bonetrail, N.D.; Mons, of Hendricks; Iver, of Hendricks; Inga, Mrs. Peter J. Ramlo), of Hendricks, besides 36 grandchildren and seven great grand children.

Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon.  A short service was held at the home at two o'clock and at two-fifteen at the Lake Hendricks Lutheran Free church with Rev. Edw. L. Erickson conducting the last rights.  Songs were sung by a quartette composed of Pete Hinsverk, Ingvald Hanson, Hans Hegstad, and Lewis Pederson.  Several gifts were given to the Orphans' Home and the Missions in his memory.  Interment was made in the East cemetery, the pallbearers being Mons Singsaas, Iver Singsaas, Peter J. Ramlo, I. O. Ramlo, Peter Hanson, and Martin Christianson.

Mr. Singsaas had been in ill health for the past several years.

Deepest sympathy is extended to the bereaved relatives in their hour of sorrow.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Follow Friday - Be Not Forgot-Quotes and GeneaBlog

Here are a couple Genealogy Blogs I'm following:
A blog about genealogy blogging, for the genalogy bloggers, by the genealogy bloggers.  Geez, I wonder how many times I can put genealogy and blog in one sentence!  This site should provide me with lots of good prompts to encourage my blogging habit.
I love genealogy and I love quotes.  So this neat little blog is one that I'm sure I'll spend too much time reading.  The writer has devoted an entire blog to quotes pertaining to family and genealogy.