Sunday, December 11, 2011

Go For the Gold Day - Digging Deep in Hidden Sources

Yesterday I went back to work on the Post Office Ledger Books located at the Sherwood Heritage Center in Sherwood, Oregon. In the past few weeks I shared some of what happened in the process of discovering the books, organizing them and meticulously reading them for information on my ancestral family and the ancestors of Vicki Bonagofski. There had to be a limit of people being searched for, as there are eighty-four books, fifty-four of them with only postal tallies of the business and some loose papers, and thirty of them with lists of people as they conducted business with the Post Office.

So far this research required six trips to Sherwood of about thirty-two miles round trip. After the first two trips I had the nerve to inquire if they might allow me to check out a few books at a time, but they were reluctant to do this. Then I grew even bolder and asked if there was someone who might let me in earlier on the days they are open (usually three hours from 1-4pm). This received a warm response by one of the volunteers and has extended the research time on my last two visits. Out of the thirty books, there are seven left to review. These are some of the larger books and might require two to three more long visits.

Here are some views of the process:

Sherwood Post Office Boxes/ Books in metal basket and wood crate on the shelf. These are now the fifty-four books without names of individuals.

The books in the wood crate on the bottom of the bookshelf are the thirty that contain names of individuals.

Original workspace, with stacks of books. Lately I have been using their office and the school room as needed. They are very accomodating and happy to have someone show an interest in this collection. Saturday I was told there are more books, but those will have to wait until after the New Year.

My family and friends already probably think I have gone a little crazy with this project, but the results from this past week were worth all the time I spent. On Saturday I produced fourteen pages of names, compared with my other two high days of eight pages each. It will take some time to process the names and understand the total significance of each. The following individuals from my family were listed, helping me to identify when they arrived in this community.
They are only listed here once, but may appear several times in the records.

Name, Relationship, Date of first posting.
Miss Zella Straw (my grandmother) October 28, 1922
Mrs. W. Hosmer (my grandmother's aunt, Jane Tidd) September 26, 1921
Wesley Hosmer (my grandmother's uncle) July 7, 1921
A E Sherk (my grandmother's cousin's husband, Albert Earl) August 4, 1913
Carlson and Sherk (the family store, many entries for this) June 18, 1913
Mrs. A. E. Sherk (my grandmother's cousin, Annie Hosmer) December 6, 1913
E. D. Hosmer (my grandmother's cousin, Eldridge Daniel) September 30, 1914
Hugh W. Hosmer (my grandmother's cousin's son) April 2, 1923
H. H. Tidd (my grandmother's uncle from Independence, Iowa, Herbert H. or Herb) October 13, 1920; October 30, 1920; April 2, 1921.
Mrs. H. H. Tidd (my grandmother's aunt from Independence, Iowa, Rose Love) Jan. 4, 1921; March 8, 1921.
The Tidds obviously stayed for a lengthy visit. I am trying to determine when my grandmother came to Oregon and from this information I now wonder if they brought her out here from Iowa in late 1920. In the summer of 1920 she is shown living with her father in Iowa. In her personal history she notes that she was in Oregon by the time her father divorced her stepmother on February 15, 1921.

Mrs. Philip Olsen (my great grandmother, Julia Brown) November 16, 1921
Philip Olsen (my great grandfather) December 5, 1921
Rudolph Olsen (my grandfather's brother) November 15, 1921
Miss Edith Olsen (my grandfather's sister) February 7, 1922
Philip H. Olsen (my grandfather's brother) March 2, 1922
Miss Anna Olsen (my grandfather's sister) June 17, 1922
Fred S. Olsen (my grandfather's brother) July 6, 1922
Mrs. Helen Brown (my grandfather's grandmother) February 21, 1923
My grandfather, Carl Olsen, has not shown up yet, but there are a couple more books from the time period. He was attending college in Corvallis, Oregon at this time. His older sister Helen is not found; she was married by this time and lived in Hillsboro. Of interest is that the father John Philip Olsen was going by his middle name at this time. In earlier records he would alternate which name he used.
Julia Olsen later married Frank Carson of Sherwood. I have not found their marriage date, but they both show up in the 1933-1935 records under these names.

This is enough for today's post. There are also many listings for Vicki's Wilson family, but these need to be processed for sharing with her. Is this worth my time and energy? Only a true genealogist could really be the judge of that. For me, personally, it is like going for the gold in genealogy. The chance of these ledger books ever being indexed for use online is very slim, but maybe someone with more time and funds than I have is up to the task.

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