Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Frederick Adolph Olesen--Addendum

     Recently, my UK friend, Heather, uncovered an important document for my paternal great grand uncle, Frederick Olesen. When I blogged last week about Frederick, I was wondering where those folks that had to serve time doing hard labor was located in the Durham County area of England. This ancestor definitely falls into the "bad seed" category. With this latest piece of the pie, Frederick served with the army in England.

     Inquiring minds wonder if this was hard labor service oriented.

      The attestation paper was signed on September 27, 1898. Of interest to me is question 14 on the document, asking if the person had ever served with Her Majesty's service and Frederick's answer was YES. It appears that he is signing up to serve with the same battalion that he served with at a previous time--3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Also, question 12, asking him if he has ever been sentenced to imprisonment is answered NO. One would surmise that serving time of hard labor is not serving time in prison. Remembering my last blog about my paternal great grand uncle, this document is signed almost five months following the newspaper article when he was charged with larceny of a bicycle in Hartlepool, England. That newspaper account said he was sent to prison.

     The attestation paper naturally led me back out on the web to google 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry. My question here is whether Frederick served or was a member of a volunteer or reserve militia. From what I can understand, he actually served, the volunteer militia was not formed until 1908. I have also seen that this battalion was sent to South Africa during the 1890's and I found an immigration document for a F. Olesen born 1875 who was on the ship Lismore Castle, on September 12, 1896 bound for the Cape, South Africa. ( Again, this begs the question, is this my great grand uncle perhaps during his first service with this army group?

     I was easily able to locate the badge of the 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry and also there was a special badge for those who served in South Africa.  

     I also have a military photo post card that was among pictures glued into albums by my paternal grandmother. This one had no name attached to it. Unfortunately, even with various magnifiers I have at home, I was not able to say with 100% accuracy that the badge on this soldiers hat IS the Durham Light Infantry....but it is very close ;-) The face appears to be a younger man. The photo was taken by a photographer from Glasgow, Scotland. The army camp; however, it not identified as being in Scotland. Perhaps this is Frederick Adolph Olesen.

I will add here that I have a photograph of Frederick's youngest brother, Ernest Alfred Olesen that is identified by my paternal grandmother. She would have known Ernest as he immigrated to the United States. She would not have known Frederick, nor would my paternal grandfather have recognized a photo of his uncle.

     The attestation document has given insight into Frederick's life when he was not breaking the law as a young man.  I wonder if he was active in the military during World War I?  I wonder if he may have resigned up after the last newspaper article of him sleeping under the hay in 1923 or if he continued living the life of an indigent? Much more research is needed here to fill in the blanks.

Also on Flipside:

  1. Frederick Adolph Olesen
  2. William Christian Olesen naturalization. Frederick's brother
  3. William Christian Olesen blog.
  4. Ferdinande Weiss Olesen Bible. Frederick's mother. Also Ferdinanda. My paternal great great grandmother.
  5. Elizabeth Olesen Hughes. Frederick's sister and my paternal great grandmother. Search for blogs about her on Flipside search engine.
  6. Christian Invart Olesen, Frederick's father
  7. Emily Maud Olesen Richards Brown. Frederick's sister 

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2021, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Friday, March 25, 2016

Frederick Adolph Olesen--A chip off the old block


     Sheesh, this Olesen family just doesn't yield.  The apple doesn't fall far from the father like son......

Prayer Book of
Ferdinande Weiss Olesen

     Fredrick Adolph Olesen (also Frederick) was born on March 4, 1875, Hartlepool, England to Christian Invart Olesen and Ferdinande Weiss.  Records seem to indicate that Christian was employed at Frederick's birth as a ship's chandler and the family was living on Scarbrough Street in West Hartlepool.  Perhaps they were housed with Ferdinande's widowed mother.  Fredrick's birth record is listed on the FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915, Registration Year: 1875, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration district: Hartlepool, Inferred County: Durham, Volume: 10a, Page: 227.   It is also important to note that Fredrick was named for his maternal grandfather, Fredrick Heindrich Adolph  Weiss. And, that the spelling of Fredrick's name changed over the years to Frederick.

     Over the years, six siblings joined Frederick in the Olesen household--two sisters and four brothers.  Also over the years, the Olesen's moved from home to home in West Hartlepool, suffered financial setbacks and dealt daily with a father/husband who was, to say the least, very abusive and probably alcoholic.  (See Christian Invart Olesen on Flipside)

     I can remember back in 2003, when my brothers and I had the pleasure of actually spending time in West Hartlepool, England and meeting Hughes family members, that I asked one of the oldest if he knew what happened to Frederick Olesen.  His spin on the story was that Fred Olesen went to America.  At that time and up until a month ago, I had no idea where Frederick landed in life.  Two of his younger brothers died at young ages.  His mother, two sisters, Elizabeth and Emily and two brothers, Bill and Ernie, immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's. But, what about Fred??

     When his mother died in 1942, the obituary lists Fred, using his nickname, Best Olesen, as living in New Castle....that would be Newcastle in the UK, not New Castle, Pennsylvania ;-)  In 1946, in the obituary of his brother, Bill Olesen, Frederick is listed as living in West Hartlepool, England.  

     The 1891 United Kingdom census report lists Frederick, age sixteen, employed as a pottery laborer and living at 4 Bolton Street, Stranton, West Hartlepool, England. (1891 United Kingdom Census, Ref:RG12/4064  Folio:59)

     Once again, my UK friend Heather and her "free" subscription to an online newspaper archive began to shine some light on Frederick "Best" Olesen....who by the way....was certainly NOT the best of the Olesen bunch.  Yes, Best, seemed to have been a very attentive son, learning the behaviors of his father.  Nothing to be proud of.

Northern Daily Mail
West Hartlepool, England
Friday, August 17, 1894
page 3

    At the age of nineteen, Frederick was sentenced to two months of hard labor for assaulting his mother over her choice of the dinner menu one evening.  This article gives some insight into the two family members and their responses to the court. Ferdinande, that she was working and the wage earner following her husbands death. Frederick, who was not employed and apparently using his father's death, two years earlier, as a excuse.   Also, Frederick trying to push the blame of his abusive response to his mother on her, that she only called the police because she wanted him to be sent away. My response--smart Mom 

Northern Daily Mail
West Hartlepool, England
Saturday, April 23, 1898
page 8
     Theft at the age of twenty three and back to prison for stealing a bike.  Again, blaming his behavior on an employee at the cafe and a smart aleck reply to the judge.

     Recently I noticed that Frederick has a 1901 UK census enumeration, listed as a lodger along with a number of men of various ages in Throston an area within the Hartlepool, England area.  Once again, Heather to the rescue.  The census lists Frederick as a shipyard laborer, a lodger living at 221 Model Lodging House. (United Kingdom 1901 Census, Durham County, Hartlepool, Throston Parish, page 89)  Heather also sent me a link to an on line article regarding Model Lodging Houses.  Lodging Houses prior to the 1840's provided unsanitary, miserable lodging for many of the migrants who relocated to the UK during the industrial revolution.  By 1850, the Common Lodging House Act was enacted and encouraged a more healthy living environment for the lodgers.  Whether this goal was achieved is debatable; however the article goes on to state that many model lodging houses were opened throughout England. (

Northern Daily Mail
West Hartlepool, England
Friday, September 14, 1923
     This final newspaper article continues to show that Frederick lived a life a crime....some petty, some not.  At the age of forty eight he had already served time for twenty seven convictions.

     Nothing further on this bad seed in my family tree.  The two aforementioned obituaries show that he was still alive in 1946.  To date no death certificate has been found.

     I have often wondered what the reasoning behind my UK family immigrating to the US...perhaps for the Olesen' was to distance themselves from Frederick and the disreputable legacy of Christian Invart Olesen, husband and father. 

Also on Flipside:

1.  William Christian Olesen naturalization.  Frederick's brother
3.  Ferdinande Weiss Olesen Bible.  Frederick's mother.  Also Ferdinanda.  My paternal great great grandmother.
4,  Elizabeth Olesen Hughes.  Frederick's sister and my paternal great grandmother.  Search for blogs about her on Flipside search engine.
5.  Christian Invart Olesen, Frederick's father
6.  Emily Maud Olesen Richards Brown.  Frederick's sister

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2016, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Christian Invart Olesen--A character from the Dark Side of my Tree

Christian Invart Olesen
Carte de visite
Back of Carte de visite

     My paternal great great grandfather, Christian Invart Olesen, has been mentioned in numerous blogs on Flipside; however I have not spent the time putting together his story....until now.  Frankly, he has been somewhat elusive.  He died rather young and his widowed wife and several of his children, who crossed the pond, did not speak of him.  At least not to anyone who could have passed a story or two along to me.  Another stumbling block has been that he lived and died in West Hartlepool, England and obtaining records across the pond can be difficult.

     Fortunately, I do have a good genealogy friend, Heather, who lives about 10 or 15 miles away from Hartlepool.  She has sent me "bits and bobs" about my Durham County family over the years. There is also a fellow who lives in Hartlepool, who occasionally sends me family information that he finds in newspaper and church records.  The Olesen file begins to fill.

     A month or so ago, Heather emailed me to say that there is now a website with a search engine of numerous UK newspapers.  She decided to sign up for one month to access the records.  Without paying the search engine will find the names, although you only get a snippet of the article.

     She has located numerous articles about my West Hartlepool relations and the ones she sent to me on the Olesen Family has filled in some gaps in my research....enough so, that I think I can finally do a blog on Christian Invart Olesen.

     Christian was born about 1844 in Denmark, the son of Ole Tonne Olesen, a master mariner.  To date I have not found the actual date of his birth or what city or town in Denmark he was from. Christian also followed his father's lead in a seafaring life.  His primary occupation was that of owning a ship chandler shop in West Hartlepool.  He was also listed as a seaman, a clerk for a ship broker and a ship's steward over his lifetime.

1871 United Kingdom Census
Ferdinande Weiss Family and Boarders

     The first record of my great great grandfather in West Hartlepool, England is the 1871 United Kingdom census.  He is a boarder in the home of Ferdinande Weiss on Victoria Terrace, Stranton, West Hartlepool.  Christian is employed as a clerk for a ship broker.  My interest in this census report is not only Christian.  Ferdinande Weiss is the widow of Frederick Heindrich Adolph Weiss and the mother of Adolph and Ferdinande.

      Three years after the census, on August 30, 1874, Christian Olesen, age 30, married Ferdinande Weiss, age 19, at Christ Church, West Hartlepool, England.  Ferdinande's brother, Adolph Weiss and Mary Middlemass were the witnesses.  Two years later Adolph and Mary married in Hartlepool.

     The Olesen's first child, Frederick Adolph Olesen, was born on March 4, 1875 in West Hartlepool, England.  My paternal great grandmother, Elizabeth Ferdinande Olesen, was born on October 16, 1876, also in West Hartlepool, England.  Next was William Christian Olesen, born on March 18, 1880.  Emily Maud Olesen, April 1883 in Sunderland, England was their fourth child.  April 27, 1885 was the birth date of Adolph Heindrich Weiss Olesen.  Adoph died at age fifteen in January 24, 1901 in West Hartlepool.  George Invart Olesen was born on December 4, 1887 and died in December 1888. The Olesen's last child, Ernest Alfred Olesen was born on April 19, 1891 in West Hartlepool, England.

     The few years following their marriage and the birth of their first two children appear to have been difficult for the Olesen's.  When my great grandmother was born in 1876, the address listed on her baptism record is Scarbrough Street, which begs the question....were the Olesen's living in the same house as Ferdinande's mother?

The Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough
North Yorkshire, England
February 8, 1877
page 2

     In February 1877, Christian lost his ship chandler shop through bankruptcy.

     On December 4, 1977, Christian appeared in court to answer a charge of threatening a man in West Hartlepool, England.

The Northern Evening Mail
Friday, June 14, 1978
page 3
     On June 13, 1878, Christian was charged by his mother-in-law with threatening language and threatening to kill her son, Alfred Weiss.  He also became physical smashing the lock to the front door and entering the house.  The newspaper article lists his residence at that time as the Royal Hotel. Was he staying there alone or with his family.  Or was the family staying with Ferdinande Weiss at her home on Scarbrough Street?

     Christian was listed as unemployed in the 1881 United Kingdom census report.  There is no way of knowing how bills and rent were paid or what employment was available to Christian in West Hartlepool at that time, especially with residents knowledge of his violent behavior. 

The Northern Daily Mail
Hartlepool, England
Monday, February 2, 1885
page 4
     A new wrinkle to add to Christian's unsavory character, theft and time spent in prison.  I have to admit at this point, I can readily see why no mention of this fellow was given to succeeding generations in the United States.   

      He is not enumerated on the 1891 United Kingdom census.  Ferdinande is listed as married.  Perhaps he is at sea giving her some much needed relief.

     Christian left this world the way he seemed to live it....dramatically.  On his way to work, he stopped in at a local hotel to have a drink before boarding a train to Middlesbrough to join his ship. The article indicates that he was employed as a ship's stewart.  Due to the unusual nature of the death, there was an inquest and it was determined that my paternal great great grandfather died from syncope.

"Syncope is temporary loss of consciousness and posture, described as "fainting" or "passing out." It's usually related to temporary insufficient blood flow to the brain. It most often occurs when the blood pressure is too low (hypotension) and the heart doesn't pump a normal supply of oxygen to the brain." (from the American Heart Association website

     Truthfully, the story of Christian Invart Olesen may have been better left a "brick wall,"  although every family history does need a few colorful characters to enhance the tale.  I thank my friend Heather, for putting up with me during the research process...continually emailing her with new finds to copy for me and for her diligence in responding and finding Olesen articles on her own.  I think we fully mined the "free" month of the newspaper website.     
Christian Invart Olesen  time line on timetoast

Christian Invart Olesen Life in Denmark

Olesen's on Find A Grave:

Ferdinande Weiss Olesen

Elizabeth Ferdinande Olesen Hughes

William Christian Olesen

Emily Olesen Richards/Brown

Olesen's on Flipside:

1.  William Christian Olesen naturalization.  Christian's son
2.  William Christian Olesen blog.
3.  Ferdinande Weiss Olesen Bible.  Christian's wife.  Also Ferdinanda.  My paternal great great grandmother.
4,  Elizabeth Olesen Hughes.  Christian's daughter and my paternal great grandmother.  Search for blogs about her on Flipside search engine.
5.  Frederick Adolph Olesen
6.  Frederick Adolph Olesen--Addendum
7.  Emily Maud Olesen Richards Brown.  Christian's daughter
8.  Ole Christensen and Lisbeth Laustdatter.  Christian's parents in Denmark

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2016, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mary Frances VanGilder

Mary Frances VanGilder
From a group photo

     Mary Frances "Fannie" VanGilder, my paternal great grand aunt, was born on November 19, 1866 in the Eastern District of Monongalia County, West Virginia. (Monongalia County Register of Births, Eastern District, page 99-100).  Her parents, John Oliphant VanGilder and Mary Louise Hill VanGilder, welcomed Fannie into a family of six children.  At the time of her birth, her father was employed as a chair maker and a farmer.  The family was living on the VanGilder farm just outside the Morgantown city limits.

     At the age of twenty one Fannie signed her brother George's autograph book.  Her verse gives the reader insight into a young woman who is educated and well read.

     I have found no work records for Fannie.  She continued to live in the VanGilder family home until her mother's death on January 24, 1908.  I imagine she assisted her mother with running the house.  Following her mother's death, Fannie lived with her married sister, Lena VanGilder Farrar, on the Stewart Town Road (now named Stewart Street), near VanGilder Street, just outside the Morgantown city limits. (1920 and 1930 West Virginia Census, 1929, 1931, 1937 Morgantown City Directory)

     One of the family photos that my paternal grandmother passed along to my father--and is actually labeled!!--shows five of the VanGilder sisters circa early 1930's. The label reads, "Your great aunts (VanGilder) all graduates of WVU.  The one on the right was the first woman to be admitted to the school."  The aunt on the right is Mary Frances VanGilder.  To date I have only found two VanGilder siblings records of enrollment at West Virginia University.  My paternal great grandfather, George Ethelbert VanGilder and Lida Edna VanGilder.

     According to Fannie's obituary, she was an active 30 year member of The Daughters of Rebekah.  This service oriented organization is a branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF).  Her father, John Oliphant VanGilder, was a member of the IOOF.

     Mary Francis died on April 4, 1937 at the age of seventy.  She is buried at Beverly Hills Memorial Park, Morgantown, West Virginia.  There is no memorial marker on her burial site.  Two of her sisters are also buried at Beverly Hills Memorial Park, Bettie Levada VanGilder Pell and Emma Leona VanGilder Williams.

Mary Francis VanGilder on Find A Grave

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2016, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Thomas McElroy--An Irish link

     This St. Patrick's Day, as I sat down to a meal and drinks at local brewery with my son, he commented that it was unusual that we would celebrate the day since we really don't have any true Irish ancestors--except the transplanted Scottish Bruce, brother of Robert, who spent some time on the Irish throne before he was killed in battle.  I laughed.  I forget the connection now, but back when I was working on the Scottish it Ferguson or of them could have connected to Edward Bruce, Robert's brother.  Good fun.  

     Checking back on Flipside, I noticed that I have neglected the few Irish ancestors that I can legitimately claim.  One being, my paternal 4th great grandfather, Thomas McElroy.  I have also seen his surname spelled Muckleroy and McElray.  On ancestry I found that McElroy means, "Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Giolla Ruaidh ‘son of the red-haired lad’ (from ruadh ‘red’)."  More research pointed to County Clare, in the province of Munster as the first place the McElroy name has been found.

     Checking my notes and Family Tree Maker (yes I'm still using it and not upgrading to Microsoft, the primary reason I have not blogged on this ancestor is....I haven't much to blog about!  There are not very many records in Monongalia County, (West) Virginia where he settled in early 1800.  

     According to his American Revolution pension file, Thomas McElroy, of Irish descent, landed in America in 1773.  He enlisted in Chester County, Pennsylvania as a wagoner.  His pension was rejected due to insufficient evidence.  His birth date is approximated to be 1751

     He married Elizabeth, maiden name unknown about 1787.

     Children of Thomas and Elizabeth McElroy:

  1. Samuel McElroy born 1789 died in Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia in 1870.
  2. Elizabeth McElroy married William Watson
  3. Margaret McElroy married Joseph Walkins
  4. Sarah R. McElroy born June 11, 1797 in Maryland died February 8, 1881, Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia married Jacob VanGilder.
  5. Thomas McElroy born 1799 died November 13, 1851.
  6. Esther McElroy married Cose Butler
  7. Unknown Female McElroy
  8. Unknown Female McElroy
     Children known and unknown were taken from Monongalia County, West Virginia records.

      The first documentation of Thomas is a listing on page 124 of the 1804 Monongalia County, Virginia tax list:

          Thomas Muckleroy  1 white male over 18 and 2 horses, mares and mules

     He is also listed on page 165 of the 1805 Monongalia County, Virginia tax records:

          Thomas McElroy  1 white male over 18 and 1 horse, mare or mule

     There are two listings for Thomas McElroy in the Monongalia County District, Superior and County Courts book, Volume 6, 1805-1808.

1806-Thomas McElroy's daughter, Elizabeth, had a female child out of wedlock on February 4 and the father is Thomas Wells.  At this time the McElroy family lived at the Forks of Cheat in Monongalia County--some distance from Morgantown.

1806-a notice asking for property due Thomas McElroy $2.00 for corn fodder.

Federal Census of Monongalia County, Virginia--1810
Thomas McElroy   - 1 1 - 1     3 1 2 - 1
1 male of 10 and under 16 Thomas
1 male of 16 and under 26 Samuel
1 male of 45 and up Thomas--the father
3 females under 10 Esther, Unknown and Elizabeth's baby out of wedlock
1 of 10 and under 16 Sarah (my ancestor)
 2 females 16-25  Elizabeth and Margaret
 1 female over 45  Elizabeth--the mother

1812 List of Tithables of Monongalia County, Virginia:
Thomas Muckelroy  1 male over age 18       1 horse

Federal Census of Monongalia County, Virginia-1820
Thomas Muckelroy   - - - 1 - 1       - 1 1 - 1         - 1 - -
1 male 16 to 26 Thomas
1 male 45 and up Thomas-the father
1 female 10 to 16 unknown
1 female 16 to 26 Sarah (my ancestor)
1 female 45 and up Elizabeth--the mother

1 person engaged in agriculture

Pioneer tombstones moved to
East Oak Grove Cemetery
Morgantown, West Virginia
     That's about it.  No additional information is known about Thomas.  I imagine he is buried with several family members in East Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgantown. There is a hillside of old pioneer tombstones which were removed from an area in town to make way for development.  Many of the stones are so weathered that they cannot be read.  Elizabeth, Thomas' wife's tombstone is very readable.  Along side her are one of the McElroy's sons, Thomas McElroy, his wife, Amarah Doolittle McElroy.

McElroy information on Flipside:

Elizabeth McElroy tombstone
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2016, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser