Monday, March 12, 2012

100 Blog Posts Celebration

This is my 100th Post written for this blog. I am almost to the one-year anniversary, but somehow feel that this is a milestone for me. For this 100th Post I wanted to share a little about my ancestors and where they were 100 years ago, but first I have to share the serendipity moment of this day.

Tonight I went to dinner with a genealogy friend and her relatives who arrived in Portland today from Chicago. We connected online almost two years ago and have collaborated with them ever since. These are the Hau family distant cousins. It has been an amazing journey and we spent three hours sharing stories and reminiscing. This was the first time for personally meeting each other. We share a comaraderie that is unique, a bond in time and place of discovery and treasures. Through phone conversations and emails we have accomplished the goal of creating a strong beginning for their family history. We shared documents, pictures and family stories. At the conclusion we took pictures, gave each other a hug and headed on into our personal lives. It was nice to take a pause and savor the moment of finally making a more personal contact.

Part two, commemorating the 100th Post and where my grandparents were 100 years ago. This is an exercise of placing my ancestors in a time and place. They are each unique individuals with very distinct lives.

Carl Ivan Olsen, was 14 years old in 1912 and lived in Orenco, Washington County, Oregon at Oakleaf Farm. This is the same farm where he and each of his six siblings were born. Both of his parents were born in Norway and were still living. Only his maternal grandmother was alive and lived part of the time with his family.  Carl enjoyed the company of his three brothers and three sisters. In 1944, for proof in applying for a delayed birth certificate, he used his baptismal certificate that included:
Carl Ivan Child of Philip Olsen and his wife Julia Olsen
Born at Oak Leaf Farm September 15, 1898, was baptized by me in the same place, Wash. Co., Oregon on the twenty third day of October in the Year of our
Lord 1898. M. Hansen, Pastor
Carl's father John Philip Olsen was a painter and when a new church was built in the community the family took part. Carl was always very inquisitive and worked with his father to build a radio tower so they could receive transmissions from far away places. He attended grade school in Orenco and at this time moved onto high school. A studious young man, he would later graduate from OSU in engineering.

Zella Alice Straw was nine years old and living in Sumner, Buchanan County, Iowa. Her mother died four years earlier and her father had not yet remarried. Zella lived near her surviving paternal grandmother and her maternal grandfather who she was very close to. Zella enjoyed many hours with Grandpa Tidd in her childhood. Living on a farm she helped to raise the animals and had a great love for nature. She drove the hay tractors and other equipment as a very young girl. She attended grade school, but always longed to be outdoors. Zella had an Uncle Herb and Aunt Rose Tidd who lived close by. Her other Aunt Jennie Tidd Hosmer moved to Oregon when Zella was a young child, but they sent many letters and packages back and forth. She would come to live in Oregon with her relatives as a young woman, and completed two years of college work. She met Carl in Sherwood, Oregon, where they were married in 1926. They had three sons.

Archie Orville Cole was three years old in 1912. He lived in Walthill, Thurston County, Nebraska. He was the seventh of eleven children. Two brothers died before he was born, so he was the eldest son. He was nine years old when his father died in 1918. In Walthill they owned on a farm, which they had to sell when their father became sick. Archie's two younger brothers were his constant companions. Another brother was born shortly before their father's death, but he died six months later. He was also very close to his six sisters throughout his life. Archie's surviving paternal grandmother lived very close to them and his maternal grandparents lived Omadi, Dakota County, the adjacent county. Archie loved the outdoors. Later in life he was known for his large victory gardens. He learned many skills as a young man, loved music and played the violin. Early in life he was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic and this was the cause of his early death at the age of forty-six.

Helen Eloise Anderson was two years old in 1912, having been born a twin on New Year's Eve in 1910 in Brunswick, Antelope, Nebraska. Hilda was born before the New Year and Helen after. On a copy of Helen's Baptismal Certificate by St. Ludgers Catholic Church in Creighton, Nebraska, birth date listed as the 2nd of January as their mother wanted them to have a combined birth date. They always had a combined a birthday celebration, even at age ninety-four. The sisters passed away within six months of each other, Helen in 2005 and Hilda in 2006. The brother born after them died at one year. They lived near their paternal grandparents, but their maternal grandfather lived in Iowa. Their maternal grandmother passed away in 1889 at the age of thirty-five. As the oldest of eleven children, they were expected to pitch in and care for the younger children. They were sent to Catholic schools and sometimes boarded at school in the city. This was a difficult separation from their family. When they were at home they enjoyed being in the outdoors and having many animals. They had several ponies, which they rode bareback. Hilda liked to work with her mother and Helen liked to work with her father. Their farm, on land homesteaded by their paternal grandfather, was a great place to raise a family. Unfortunately their mother died when they were twenty-two and had both married, Hilda in 1928 and Helen in 1930. Later they moved to Oregon with their families, first Hilda and then Helen. Helen's last child was born in Oregon.

So, as I celebrate 100 Posts, I also celebrate my grandparents and their extended families that were living 100 years ago. They were all honorable, hard-working people. In their individual personalities are the collective reflections of my own children. What do you know about your grandparents, where they lived, their daily lives, challenges and concerns? These are very brief synopsis of what I have learned about these four individuals over many years of collecting family information. 

With the upcoming release of the 1940 Census I will find another snapshot into their lives. This census will find my paternal grandparents, my father and his two brothers in Linton, Multnomah County, Oregon and my maternal grandparents, my mother and her brother probably still in Nebraska. I will need to determine the enumeration districts of these localities to find them in the census. Once the indexing is completed that will make finding them easier. If you would like to participate in the indexing projects, please register at


  1. Congrats on your 100th post! Keep 'em coming!

  2. Congrats on your 100th post! Thank you so much for sharing these family stories. I love seeing the connections that we share.