Surname Saturday

19 May 2012

Ross Family and Some Old-School Genealogy Research

Today’s post is about my Ross family and some old-school genealogy research. I never knew my mother’s father, who died a few years before I was born. The youngest of ten children, William Watson Ross (1892-1947)  emigrated from Aberdeenshire exactly one month after the Titanic sank. By the time he and his parents embarked permanently for Chicago in 1919, his six surviving siblings had emigrated to the four corners of the earth, landing in New York; Chicago; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Auckland, New Zealand.  The Chicago Rosses soon lost touch with the rest of the family.
Recently I went through some papers my mother had given me and discovered a remarkable example of old-school, pre-Internet genealogical research-cum-luck.

My grandfather’s oldest brother, George left Scotland for South Africa in 1903. Only later did we learn that George settled in Johannesburg and became the Acting Superintendent of the Tramways Department and in 1913 had a son, also named George, with his wife.

In 1989, George in South Africa decided to write to the newspaper in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the last place he knew the Chicago Rosses were living. (top image). In a remarkable bit of luck, George Ross had his answer in less than a week when one of the cousins who still lived in the area saw the article.

Here’s how it happened:


8 Oct 2011

Schumann of Massow, Pomerania, Prussia: Surname Saturday

Research has gotten less complicated now that I know my German ancestors really were Prussian. I’ve had some success lately with the Schumanns, my great-grandmother’s line from Pomerania.

Anna Schumann’s father, Friedrich Wilhelm, was certainly adventurous. He left his native village of Massow for nearby Freienwalde, where he married his first wife, Auguste Marie Luise LINDE (1835-1886). Massow is now Maszewo [maˈʂɛvɔ], a town in Goleniów County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland.


14 Apr 2011

Death and Burial of Gottfried Hann (1861-1896) – Surname Saturday

I’ve got a birthplace for my brick-wall great-grandfather! YAY!

30 Oct 2010

Baptism of Florentine Mathilde Braun: Surname Saturday

Today’s Surname Saturday post is about one of those good news/bad news genealogy days.

Good: there’s a baptismal record for my great-great grandmother and she has a twin sister.

Bad: the village pastor had handwriting that strongly resembles a chicken on acid who ran through an inkwell before it made a break for freedom running across the pages of the parish register.

Here’s what I learned about Frederica Ida & Florentina Mathilde BRAUN:

[Entry No.] 280. 29 December [1814]
Twin 1  Friederica Ida
Born on the 7th of the same [month]

[Entry No.] 281. Ditto
Twin 2
Florentina Mathilde
Born on the 7th of the same [month]

Father:   [Carl] Heinrich BRAUN, merchant
Mother:  Joh[anna] Juliana née TRENKLER

The Trenklers lived in Rawitsch for many generations and are relatively easy to find, the Brauns less so, and the Kirschsteins are practically non-existent. I’m starting to think Florentina’s husband, Friedrich Kirschstein, was born somewhere other than Rawitsch.

If it were easy, it wouldn’t be fun, right?