Tombstone Tuesday – December 25, 2018 – Rolandus Denny


Rolandus Denny was born on December 9, 1848 in Brooke, Virginia. He was the son of Walter and Mary (Young) Denny. Walter and Mary had seven children; Jane Elizabeth (1843), Oella (1845), Rolandus (1848), Francis (1850), Mary Agnes (1852), Clara Virginia (1855), Walter (1859).

In the 1850 Federal Census, Rolandus is found in Brooke, Virginia with his parents Walter and Mary. He is three years old. By the 1860 Census, Walter and Mary and their children have moved to Lafayette Township, Allen County, Indiana. Walter is a farmer. Rolandus is 12 years old and attending school. In the 1870 Census, Rolandis is 23 years old. The Census does not list an occupation but he is still living with his parents.

Rolandus Denny married Elizabeth Jane Bell on October 17, 1871 in Indiana. They settled in Union Township, Wells County, Indiana where they had nine children; Elva (1872) , Francis (1874), Nellie (1876), Arlena (1878), Bessie (1880), Jesse (1883), Lucy (1887), Celia (1889), Milo (1892).

In the 1880 Federal Census, Rolandus is a farmer living in Union Township in Wells County, Indiana. He and wife, Elizabeth, have four children; Elva, Francis, Nellie and Arlena. The next available Census is the 1900 Federal Census and Rolandus is living in Lafayette Township, Allen County, Indiana. He is a fifty one year old farmer. He and Elizabeth have four of their children who are still living at home all of whom are under the age of 21 years old.

In the 1910 Federal Census, Rolandus Denny is found in Lafayette Township on the farm. He is sixty one years old. He and Elizabeth have two minor children who still live at home, Celia and Milo.

rolandus denney

One hundred and one years ago, Rolandus Denney died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis on Christmas Day, 1917. He was buried in Hoverstock Cemetery in Zanesville, Indiana.


Rest in Peace, Rolandus.

Love, Jan

Rolandus is my second Great Grand Uncle.

Tombstone Tuesday – December 18, 2018 – Phylura Sage Court

Phylura was the daughter of Joseph Sage and Betsy Giddings.  She was born on May 1, 1846 in Oakland County Michigan. Betsy Gidding Sage, Phylura’s mother, died on February 4, 1849 when Phylura was not yet three years old. In the 1850 Federal Census, Phylura is living with her grandmother Sarah Giddings.

In the 1860 census, she is in living with her father, Joseph Sage, in Farmington, Michigan. It appears that he has remarried a younger wife, Melanie.  Phylura is a fourteen years old and lists domestic working as her occupation. She now has younger half siblings; Amelia (1854), Louisa (1856), Mary (1858).

On March 20, 1865, Phylura Sage married Sidney Court in Oakland County, Michigan. In the 1870 Federal Census Sidney and Philura have two children, Sarah who was born in 1866 and Fred who was born in 1870. They also have a sixteen year old Amelia Sage living with them who is helping the family out.  Living next door to them is a 77 year old Sarah Gidding, Phylura’s Grandmother. She is living with her 37 year old daughter, Huldah Bush and her family.

By the time of the 1880 Federal Census, Sidney and Phylura have four children listed in the Census; Sarah (1866), Elizabeth (1872), Benjamin (1874), Hester (1878). There is no sign of Fred  from the earlier census.  Huldah and Harvey Bush live a few doors away now and Sarah Giddy is no longer living with them so she has likely died.

In the 1900 Federal Census, Sidney and Phylura are living in Novi. They have a married daughter, Elizabeth McVicar and James McVicar living with them. James McVicar is a sailor and currently at sea. They also have a son named Rolland Court (1885) who is 15 years old. There is also a Hester Cook (or maybe Court) listed as mother living with them. She must be Sidney’s Mother. She is an 80 year old widow. Phylura states that she has 7 children and that they have all survived but I never found Fred after the 1870 census nor an additional seventh child in any of the census records.

At some time after the 1900 Census, Sidney and Phylura move to the Clare Michigan area where several of there children reside.  Phylura has already developed her heart condition so they likely moved there to be close to Sarah Court Robinson, their oldest daughter.

Phylura Court died one hundred and ten years ago today on December 18, 1908  in Sheridan, Michigan of a heart condition.


She was buried in Cherry Grove Cemetery in Clare Michigan. There are no pictures of her tombstone unfortunately. There is a Court Plot and many of the children are buried there. Sarah and her Robinson family are buried in the Cemetery.

Cherry Grove Cemetery

Rest in Peace, Phylura!

Love, Jan

Tombstone Tuesday – December 11, 2018 -Andrew Clinton Best


Andrew Clinton Best was born on May 13, 1864 in Oxford County, Ontario, Canada, He was the son of Thomas and Rhue Anna (Pringle) Best. Thomas and Rhue Anna had three children; Alexander (1862) , Andrew Clinton (1864),  Elnora (1871).

In the Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal records for London Ontario,  Andrew and Alexander Best were both baptized on January 28, 1866 by Reverend James Kennedy.  According to US Federal Census records,  Andrew stated that they left Canada in 1868.

Two years after arriving in the United States,  the 1870 Federal Census indicates that the Best Family lives in Kingston, Michigan. Thomas is a farmer. Living next door is a Lockwood and Mary (Dale) Pringle who are Rhue Anna’s parents. The Thomas Best Family is found in Koylton township, Tuscola County, Michigan in the 1880 Federal Census. Andrew is sixteen and Nora is eight years old.

Andrew Clinton married Lemyra Sheffer on December 23, 1885 in Cass City, Michigan. The next available Census is the 1900 Federal Census so by then Andrew and Lizzie (Lemyra) are living in Clifford, Michigan. They have a daughter whose name is Lena. She is 13 years old which means that she was born in 1887.

His occupation is listed as Weaver. He has been in the United States for 30 years but has not yet become a citizen. By the 1910 Federal Census, Andrew’s status is still listed as an Alien,  not a citizen. They live in North Branch and they have an additional daughter names Dena who is three years old. The older daughter is no longer living at home and they have lost a child since there are three live births listed but only two are living as of this Census. By the 1920 Federal Census, Andrew and his family remain in North Branch. Their daughter is listed in the Census as Nina P Best and she is thirteen years old. Andrew is a Naturalized Citizen of the United States. By the 1930 Federal Census, Andrew is listed as Clinton Best and he is 65 years old. He was a general farmer. His wife who is sixty years old is listed as Almira. This is the first time I have seen this name listed. Both of the daughters are no longer living at home. They remain in North Branch.

Eighty years ago today, Andrew Clinton died in North Branch, Michigan. His cause of death is listed as heart attack and a Cerebral Hemorrhage due to Hypertension.


He is buried at the Arcadia Cemetery in Lum, Michigan along side his son, Earl who died in 1899.



Rest in Peace, Andrew!

Love,  Jan

Andrew Clinton Best is my first cousin four times removed.

Tombstone Tuesday – December 4, 2018 – Olava Hansdatter Andersen Jorgansen

Olava was the daughter of Hans Neilssen and Kirstian Pernille Hansdatter. She was born on September 23, 1828 in the Kjaere Farm on Tjome in Norway.  Tjome is a small Island in the Oslo fjord south west of Oslo about sixty five miles. It is very near the city of Tonsberg which is the oldest recorded city in Norway.  Tonsberg was founded by Harald Fairhair prior to 870 AD.

Hans and Kirstian had five children; Neils Amt(1817), Karen Henrikka (1820), Jorgen (1823), Hans (1826), Olava (1828). Olava married Anders Hansen on January 9, 1859 in Notteroy, Tjome, Norway. They were married for ten years. Anders died in 1869. Olava and Anders had two children; Hans Henrik(1859) and Kirstine Petrine(1863-1871). Olava married a second time to Nils Jorgensen on February 28, 1875.

The house of Olava

The white house on the left is Olava’s house around 1900.

Olava was a devoted Grandmother to Hans’ sons when their mother, Ingeborg Helene, died in 1894.  Hans and Ingeborg had three sons; Andrew (1883), Hagbart (1888) and Haakon 1891). Hans was a sailor and was left to raise his sons without a mother.  The boys lived with their Grandmother, Olava, when Hans was at sea until Hans remarried 1898. Olava remained near them and actively involved with their upbringing,  living a few yards down a lane on the waterfront in the house in the picture above.

When Andrew, the oldest of Hans’ children began sailing, Olava wrote to him regularly.  When he decided to remain in America, she continued to write to him.  She and Hans both begged him to come home to Norway at least for a visit.


Village of Grimstad 1900 – Home of Olava Jorgensen

This is a post card Birthday greeting that Olava sent to her grandson, Andrew, in America for his 25th birthday on September 16, 1908.  The post card shows Grimstad, the village that Andrew had left behind. It shows his house which is the small white house in the distance center left of the post card. Olava’s home is on the shore of the inlet of water that you see in the center of the post card and is out of view in the post card.

One hundred and seven years ago today, Olava died in Grimstad, Tjome. She was buried in the Tjome Cemetery.


In Norway, cemeteries are handled differently. Her grave does not remain because there was no money to maintain it.  In 2017, my sister, my nephew and I visited Grimstad and the Tjome Cemetery.  We could feel the spirit of our relative there but we found no evidence.

Rest in peace, Olava.  I am so happy to have found you and the village that we came from. You were a special Grandmother to Andrew and to me too.

Love, Jan

Olava is my two times Great Grandmother.

Tombstone Tuesday – November 27, 2018 – Emeline Drusilla Swackhammer


Emeline was born on June 6, 1831 in Halton, Ontario. She was the daughter of Jacob and Maria (Thompson) Swackhammer. Jacob and Maria had seventeen children; Nancy Ann (1818) Susan Margaret (1820), Catherine Jane (1822), Christopher (1824), Sarah Matilda (1826), Julie Ann (1827), Hannah Elize (1829), Emeline Drusilla (1831), Robert (1832-1832), Amanda Marilla (1833-1849), Phoebe Cordilla (1835), James (1836-1842), Hiram Denny (1838), John (1839-1842), Mary Priscilla (1839), Martha Rosena (1842), Caroline Lucinda (1845)

She married David Wardell Smith in 1853. They had four children; Albert (1854), Ella (1855), John Hiram (1860), Mary Elisa (1862). They lived in Wellington, Ontario where  David was a farmer.  It appears that they stayed in the same area throughout their lives.

In the 1861 Canadian Census, David and Emeline Smith are found with two small children and David’s parents seem to be living with them. By the time of the 1871 Canadian Census, David’s parents Deborah (69 years old) and John (74 years old) remain living with David and Emeline and they now have four children, Albert, Ella, John and Mary. They are living in Wellington Center, Ontario. In the 1881 Canadian Census, David and Emeline reside next to his parents, John and Deborah. The two youngest children remain at home, John and Mary. In the 1891 Canadian Census, there seems to be some confusion about who lives in what household by the census taker. Albert is married and lives next door to his parents. John and his wife may still be living with Emeline and David. John and May appear to have a son named Alvin. In the 1901 Canadian Census, David and Emeline live in Wellington with John and Albert and their families living on either side of them.


One hundred and fourteen years ago today, Emeline died.  She is buried in Churchill Cemetery where there are many Swackhammer and Smith relatives buried.


Rest in peace, Emeline!

Love, Jan

Emeline is the niece of the husband of my three time Great Grand Aunt.



Tombstone Tuesday – November 20,2018 – Edmund William Barkham


Edmund was born on October 1, 1882 in Commerce, Michigan. He was the son of Marshall and Lillian Cozadd. Marshall and Lillian had five children; Edmund (1882), Alice (1885), Ambrey (1887), Robert (1890), Beryl (1901)

Edmund married Ethel Slater in Traverse City, Michigan on June 17,1913. They lived in Petoskey, Michigan. Edmund and Ethel appear in Genesee County about 1917. Edmund registered for the WWI draft on Sept 12, 1918. He stated that he was self employed and living in Mount Morris, Michigan.

In the 1920 Federal Census, Edmund and Ethel are living in Mount Morris and Edmund is a florist. According to the Mount Morris Directory, Ethel and Edmund are living with Edmund’s parents, Marshall and Lillian, at 802 Stone Street.  They are listed as boarders of Marshall and Lillian. In the 1921 Mount Morris directory,  Edmund and his brother, Robert have formed a partnership called Barkham Bros and it is florist.

By the 1930 Federal Census, Edmund and Ethel now own a home at 550 Elm Street in Mount Morris. He list his occupation as proprietor and the industry is greenhouse. Edmund and Ethel have no children. The 1940 Federal Census shows the Barkham’s have remained in Mount Morris, Michigan. Edmund’s occupation is still a florist. In the 1942 WWII Draft, Edmund lists his name as Edward W Barkham but he signed it Edmund. He registered and stated that he was fifty nine years old and that his birthday was October 1, 1892, which would make him 48 years old.

Seventy Five Years ago today, Edmund Barkham died in Mount Morris, Michigan. He was buried at the Calvary Cemetery in Mount Morris, Michigan.


Rest in peace, Edmund!

Love, Jan

Edmund is the brother-in-law of my Great Grand Aunt Gladys (Losee) Barkham.

Tombtone Tuesday – November 13, 2018 – Merton Royal Losee



Merton (Mert)Royal Losee was born on October 17, 1882 in Thetford, Genesee County, Michigan. He was the son of Newton and Nellie M (Best) Losee. Newton and Nellie had ten children; George Stephen (1879), Edmon Edwin (1881), Merton Royal (1882), Sarah A. (1884), Frank (1888), Harry T (1890), Grover C (1892), Dorothy Emeline (1894), Gladys M. (1898) and Verna (1899).

Mert’s first appearances in a Federal Census is in 1900. He is an eighteen year old young man who is still living with his parents. They live in Clare, Michigan. Newton has a farm and the three oldest sons are helping him on it. In the 1910 Federal Census, Merton is living with his older brother, George Stephen in Thetford Township, Genesee County. He is single and works as a laborer. George, his brother and my Great Grandfather,  is a farmer and he is working with him.


George, Mae, Lester, Mert, Minnie, maybe Nellie or one of the Losee sisters –  in Clio around 1910

On December 14, 1910, Mert Losee married Minnie McComb. I find records which indicate that they were married in Oakland County and in Genesee County, Michigan. Did they feel the need to marry both places?  Mert’s residence is listed as Vienna Township, (Clio) Genesee County, Michigan.   Minnie McComb and Mae Boyer Losee, (George Stephen’s wife) are first cousins from the Holly area.

Mert registered for the draft on December 12, 1918. He lists his residence as Holly, Michigan and his wife is Minnie. In the 1920 Federal Census, Mert and Minnie are living with Amie (Boyer) McComb in Holly. Minnie’s father, Charles had died in 1916. Amie McComb died in 1922. According to the Flint City directories, Mert and Minnie first appear in the Flint Directory in 1924.

In the 1930 Federal Census, Mert and Minnie are living in Flint at 515 W Fifth Street.  Mert is working for the Auto Industry as a tool grinder. In the 1940 Census, Mert and Minnie are still on Fifth Street in Flint.  Mert remains working for the Auto Industry.

I find Mert and Minnie in the Flint City Directory at the same address from 1924 until 1959.  Mert also registered for the World War II Draft in 1942 listing his younger sister, Gladys Barkman of Mount Morris, as his contact.


Mert and Minnie – about 1960

Fifty two years ago today, Mert died on November 13, 1966 seven months after Minnie died. He is buried in the McComb plot in the Beebe Cemetery in Holly Michigan with Minnie.

McComb Plot

McComb Plot



Rest in peace Mert!

Love, Jan

Mert is my Great Grand Uncle.