Friday, March 26, 2010

The Clare Line

Clare Name Meaning and History

  1. Irish and English: habitational name from Clare in Suffolk (probably named with a Celtic river name meaning ‘bright’, ‘gentle’, or ‘warm’). One of the first Normans in Ireland (1170–72) was Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, better known as ‘Strongbow’, who took his surname from his estate in Suffolk.
  2. English: habitational name from Clare in Oxfordshire, named with Old English cl?g ‘clay’ + ora ‘slope’.
  3. English: from the Middle English, Old French female personal name Cla(i)re (Latin Clara, from clarus‘famous’), which achieved some popularity, greater on the Continent than in England, through the fame of St. Clare of Assisi. See also Sinclair.
  4. English: occupational name for a worker in clay, for example someone expert in building in wattle and daub, from Middle English clayere, an agent derivative of Old English cl?g ‘clay’.

  5. The Clare Line

    Larry Clare (father)
    b. 1940, Kansas
    Carl Clare (grandfather)
    b. 1917, Kansas
    Harry Cleveland Clare (great grandfather)
    b. 1883, Kansas
    James Daniel Clare (2nd great grandfather)
    b. 1849, Kentucky
    James Clare (3rd great grandfather)
    b. 1805, Kentucky

    Not much is known about my main paternal line. I didn't grow up with this side of the family so I don't have much to go on at all. James Clare Sr. moved his wife Elisabeth and four children (Martha, Sara, James Daniel & Luella) from Kentucky to Illinois sometime before James Daniel was 12. What brought him to Illinois is unknown at this time.  I'm going to have to rely on a marriage record for James Daniel Clare to try to get me further in the search. Most of the Clare's that settled in Kentucky where English but I'm sure there must be an Irish connection somewhere with a surname like Clare!
    James Daniel married Amanda Clarke in Illinois and sometime between 1895 and 1900 moved the family (Ray, Harry Cleveland, Elsie, Katie and Carl) to Perry, Oklahoma.  During this time, the famous Land Runs were taking place.  I doubt that James participated in the land run as the 1900 census shows him as a "renter" and "day laborer"  in Perry.  It's more probable that he went there to find work because towns were quickly growing as a result of the land settlements.  Just five years later he was living as a widower in Winfield, Kansas.  My great grandfather was 24 at the time but two of his siblings were still teenagers and living without their mother.
    Most of the information I found for my great grandfather, Harry Cleveland Clare came from his WWI draft registration card which showed him married with 4 children (Clinton, Clyde, Carl and Laurence), working as a truck driver and having gray eyes and brown hair. All that my dad really remembers about his grandfather was that he was a boxer in his youth.  I like the sound of that...both the Oklahoma Land Run and an Irish boxer make me think of the movie "Far and Away". A distant cousin is researching my great grandmothers line and shared with me his funeral card which gives the date of birth, death and final resting place:

    I hope the luck of the Irish will be with me as I continue to search records trying to find the birth city and parents of James Clare, Sr. and his wife Elisabeth.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Spahn Line

Spahn Name Meaning and History

  1. metonymic occupational name for a carpenter or for a roofer who applied wooden shingles, from Middle German span ‘chip’, ‘shaving’, ‘splinter’.
  2. nickname for a skinny person.

Our Spahn Line

Betty Jane Spahn (grandmother)
Adam George Spahn (great grandfather)
b. 1897, Topeka, Kansas
John Spahn (2nd great grandfather)
b. 1864, Saratov, Russia
Adam Spahn (3rd great grandfather0
b. unknown, Saratov Russia

Part of the problem researching this line is lack of documentation for immigration for my 2nd great-grandfather, John Spahn.  According to family legend, he never wanted to talk about his life in Russia or how he came to the United States.  He told a story to his great granddaughter, Betty Jane when she was young about boys being forced out of their homes and made to go serve in the Russian Army.  It was rumored that John went A.W.O.L. from the Russian Army.  This rumor could be fact because out of all records from Saratov, John and his wife Mary are not among the passenger lists.  From the various Census reports, I was able to determine that they arrived into the United States in 1891.  I searched all the ships that came into port in 1891 and they weren't on them.  In addition, the Census tells us that they were naturalized as American Citizens in 1900.  They settled in Topeka, Kansas where my great grandfather and his siblings were born before the entire family moved to Offerle.

I had always wondered how the Spahn's ended up in Russia because I knew Spahn wasn't a Russian name but rather a German name.  Researching the Spahn immigrants in general, including John's assumed brother, George Spahn, yielded a wealth of imformation about how the Spahn ancestors ended up in Russia...they were Volga Germans who settled the region in the mid 1700's.  Here is the story from Wikipedia:

The Volga Germans (GermanWolgadeutsche or RusslanddeutscheRussianПоволжские немцыPovolzhskie nemtsy) were ethnic Germans living along the River Volga in the region of southern European Russia around Saratov and to the south. They maintained German culturelanguage, traditions and churches: LutheransReformedRoman Catholics, and Mennonites. Many Volga Germans emigrated to the Midwestern United StatesCanadaBrazilArgentinaParaguayUruguay and other countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries. During World War II, many died in Soviet labour camps. In the late 20th century, many of the remaining ethnic Germans moved to Germany.
Here is a lovely picture of Norka, Saratov settled by the Volga Germans:

Another issue with searching the records for John and George Spahn is an abundance of Spahn's with the same names...Adam, George, John are all popular and there are several of each, including the infamous George Spahn who owned Spahn Ranch in California, where the Manson Family stayed and hatched their murderous plan.  Even the female Spahn's had repeating names such as Elizabeth, Katherine, Mary/Marie.  Most are probably related to each other and to me in one way or another.  I will have to add the Saratov region to my list of ancestry travel destinations.  I could visit this church in Norka and just maybe I will find the birth and marriage records for John Spahn, which in turn, could lead me down a longer road back in time.  To a time and place where the Spahn's were once again back in the motherland of Germany.

Even though I can't currently get further down the line, I was happy to finally understand how the Spahn ancestors ended up in Russia. One mystery solved!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Dusing/Duesing Line

Dusing/Duesing Name Meaning and History

  1. from Middle High German duz ing, Middle Low German dusinc, the term for a particular type of belt, often ornate and richly decorated with bells, worn both by men and women, although often locally prohibited by the Church.
  2. probably a patronymic from one of the numerous old personal names related to Dietz.
Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

Our Dusing/Duesing Line

Eugene George Duesing (grandfather)
b. 1917 in Windthorst, Kansas
Joseph John Duesing (1st great grandfather)
b. 1881 in Windthorst, Kansas
Joseph John Duesing, Sr. (2nd g. grandfather)
b. 1842 in Halverde, nordrhein-westfalen, germany
Johannes Gerhardus Duesing
b. 1793 in Halverde, nordrhein-westfalen, germany
Johann "Jan" Dusing
b. 1762 Schapen, Germany

This was as far as my research online would take me.  The next step is to travel to the Nordrhein-Westfalen area parishes and physically look for birth/marriage records...meander through the local villages and graveyards to see if I can locate any of our lost ancestors.  Of course, any kind of travel is all right with me...especially if the villages look like the village of Halverde where my 2nd and 3rd Great Grandfathers were born:

Perhaps a trip to the Duesing homeland in the fall? 

Tombstone Tuesday- Duesing

Headstone for Joseph John Duesing and Caroline Agatha Nau Duesing
located at Holy Cross Cemetery in Windthorst, Kansas.

There are seven source citations, including Joseph's passport application which he filled out in his own hand that state his date of birth was June 16th, 1881.  The only place it shows as June 29th is here on his headstone.  There is a bit of a mystery here as to how the incorrect date of his birth ended up on his final monument.  Perhaps over time, no one could remember the exact date or documents weren't checked and verified before the stone was ordered.  Whatever the reason, it will remain a family mystery unless someone else out there knows a story behind the date.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Düsing Immigrant

It's raining today.  It's a damp, dark and gloomy sort of day.  A perfect morning to spend drinking a cup of java and researching my roots.  And this morning turned up a wealth of information on my Great Great Grandfather, Joseph John Duesing.  I discovered a passport application that he filled out in March 1907.  On this application was his date of birth (2/9/1842), place of birth (Halverde, Germany), when he arrived in New York City as an immigrant (Aug 1866), the ship he came in on (The S.S. Hermann) and the port he sailed from (Bremman, Germany). It showed that he traveled alone, without any family members or spouse. It also had his residency (Cincinnati, Ohio from 1866-1876) and where and when he became a naturalized citizen (Distric Court of Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio on 12th of October, 1874). It showed his current residency of Windthorst, Kansas and his occupation as a farmer.  It stated that he was about to go abroad temporarily and that he would return with in four months back to the USA and resuming citizenship duties.  It included his signature at the bottom of the Oath of Allegiance.  In addition it also included his physical description: He was 65 years old at the time of the application and was 5' 4.5" (he was short!).  He had a medium-high forehead, a dominant nose and blue eyes.  He had a mustache and full beard and his hair was listed as gray.  His face was round and his complexion was listed as "florid".
I tried to locate the passenger list for the Bremman but they were destroyed in 1875.
I found this great source on Passenger Departure Lists of German Immigrants 1709-1914 which lists all the ships carrying German Immigrants.  Here is a photo and a painting of the ship Joseph arrived on, The S.S. Hermann:

For what purpose Joseph was travelling back to Germany is not known yet...perhaps a family member was ill or had died.  I haven't found the ship he departed out on or the date but I did find the passenger list for his return back into the United States.  He arrived back from Bremman on August 8th, 1907 on the Barbarossa.
Here is a photo that very ship:
I have just begun researching the Dusing/Duesing line and will post additional information and photos as I discover them.  For now, the rain has stopped and it's time to set aside the search and do some actual work.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Hunt Begins

When I decided to start researching my ancestry I had no idea of the work involved.  Nor did I know just how quickly information would begin to pile up.  I needed a place to put it all and I've decided to load it here, this sister blog to my weekly blog about life, "Where the Gold Bees Dream".  I also wanted to use this blog as way to keep track of all that information and a place to get help on those lines that are a bit more challenging to research and follow.

Currently, I have about 61 lines on my fathers side and 44 on my mother's side.  As this blog progresses, I hope to post links on each surname line.  I encourage those with matching surnames to comment and post what they know, who they are looking for or anything else they may have regarding that particular line.

This project is exciting and has consumed me for the last couple of weeks.  My photography and art have taken a back seat while I dive into the deep sea of ancestors.  How fitting that I'm starting this blog the day before I turn 45.  If only I would have had an interest in documenting the family histories earlier.  Only one grandmother survives but I wish I could have heard stories from those who have passed on already.  Will they speak to me through my findings? I certainly hope so!