Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bohemian Ancestors - Hurt and Mrkvicka families

Six years ago, I was working diligently to locate sources in the Czech Republic.  I subscribed to mailing lists and picked the brains of the other members who were much more knowledgeable than I.  I was ready to hire a professional in the Czech Republic, but then I moved to another city and had to find a full-time job.  I no longer had the time and resources to stay connected on  My next move, four years later, all of my research notebooks went into storage totes that were stacked in a closet.  We had to live in a small cramped apartment until we could get the house sold.  A year later, we moved again.  My notebooks are still in totes in a closet but are accessible for the first time in over a year.  I never got around to hiring a professional.  

Trying to follow a cold trail has its challenges.  Combine this with a computer that dies, and well, you get the picture.  I have two Hard Disk Drives with information on them.  One is sitting in a Docking Station attached to my notebook.  The other one, with most of  my earlier research on it, resides quietly in the the tower.  In the early days I saved files and pictures to 3.5" floppy disks.  Yes, I still have those also and they are inaccessible.  No floppy drive available.  Originally, I printed everything I found.  I think this was definitely the best thing I ever did.  Paper does not fail!  I know, I should use the cloud!

Today, I pulled out my yellow legal pad with my Hurt notes on it as I unraveled this family line in America back in 2006. John James Hurt b 1832  and his wife Maria Ann Mrkvicka b 1839 were my 3x great grandparents.   They came to America 14 March 1876 from the "village of Ujezdec, town of Kutna Hora, County of Caslov, Bohemia." This is how the information came to me via my cousin's website, I need to review my notes on the location in the Czech Republic.
Czech Immigration Passenger Lists New York Passenger Lists 1870 - 1880 by Leo Baca, Vol. V, page 60, privately published, copyright 1993- Hurt, Johann 41, Anna 14, Maria 9, Johann 8, Barbara 6, Franz 4, Anton 2, Maria 39, Bohemia; Ship Weser, 14 march 1876.
Nebraska, Kansas Czech Settlers by Margie Sobotka page 131 Howard County, Kelso District; we find Mat. Mrkvicka from Lestina, Ceslav, Ant. Hurt, Vac. Hurt, Jos. Hurt and Fr. Hurt.
Ant. (Anton) and Fr. (Frank) Hurt are from Ujezdec, Kutna Hora, Caslav and Vac. (Vaclov) and Jos. (Joseph) are from Dubina, Caslav.  They all owned farm land in Howard County. this website has  a lot of information but has not been updated since 2008.  I am happy to see it is still online!

Learn more about the Nebraska Czech Settlers,

When I begin researching a surname, I always begin my search in the census records.  I have made many discoveries of lateral family lines.  One such line is the Przybyszewski/Sebeshasky family.  I first found the English pronunciation written in the marriage record of Anton Hurt.  Using  the census,  I then followed the family from Nebraska to Minnesota and put the two together and realized they were the same family.

Bk 3 p175 H630 Hurt, Anton .......... S120 Shebeski, Hannah Cralia
Howard County Marriages, Book 3 Nov, 1892 - Jan 1900.
 In old records, surnames may be recorded phonetically unless the informant gave the spelling of their name.  This proves challenging but if you keep searching, you will find the answer.  When I find a name I cannot pronounce, I look for a pronunciation guide online.  That is how I put these two names together.  Without this valuable tool, I would not have been able to solve this one!

So, today I dug out two notebooks containing my research from 2005-2006.  One notebook is resources I found for records in the Czech Republic.   It also contains print outs of the emails I received through the German-Bohemian list on rootsweb.  Nice thing about these, they should be in the archives if you want to go look.  One person whose value cannot be measured, in my opinion, is Aida Kraus.  She really set me straight when I was trying to figure out the location as written by my cousin.  All of our exchanges went through the mailing list so you may find them helpful to you as well.

The other notebook has copies of original documents.

  • Naturalization Record for John Hurt filed in Howard County, Nebraska.
  • Passenger Lists for the ship S S Berlin which sailed from Bremen to Baltimore on 5 June 1880 pg 20
  • Passenger List for the ship S S Braunschwieg sailing from Bremen to Baltimore 21 July 1877 pg 1 & 3
  • Passenger List for the ship S S Union sailing from Bremen to New York 30 July 1870 pg 1 & unnumbered page list beginning with passenger number 192, Franz Hurt is number 193..
  • Passenger List for the ship S S Weser sailing from Bremen to New York 14 March 1876, all pages
  • Census images from 1885 (NE) and US Census 1880 - 1910 Nebraska
  • Baptism and Marriages from St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Farwell, Howard Co., NE 1877-1905
  • Marriage records from the Marriage Books at the Howard County Courthouse.
  • Printouts of the cemetery transcriptions for Howard County, Nebraska
I have a printout of two books that have been transcribed and place on rootsweb, A History of Czechs (Bohemians) In Nebraska  by Rose Rosicky, Czech Historical Society of Nebraska, Omaha, 1929 and Nebraska, Kansas Czech Settlers, 1891-1895  by Margie Sobotka. Two awesome books with lots of genealogy information!

I found Cemetery records in the Dalby Database (
for the Hurt and Przybylski (lots of variations of the spelling) families.  This is a great database for Minnesota.  They also have Birth and Marriage records, but neither surname is found in the database.  I also found a print out in my notebook from a Minnesota Death Certificate Index website.  This printout was for the surname Rocek.  Another lateral line.  

Given the time span between my research and today, I hope to find more records available.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday's Child - Holley Son and Daughter

Numon and Elizabeth Holley lost two children in 1848.  Jane D just over nine years of age in February  and then little Preston just over eight months old died in May.    "I saw you pale and suffering; I heard your morning cry; your memory still upon my heart; with ....." the epitaph reads in part.  Preston was their last baby, the youngest of nine children.  I have not found information regarding the deaths of these two children. Just an entry in the family Bible noting their death.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hannah Augusta Pettingill Billings Rumsey Holley

I have been searching for the death date of my 2x great uncle, Anson Numon Holley.  His tombstone in Giddingsville Cemetery in Jefferson County, New York has his birth date but no death date.  I am not even certain he lies beneath his tombstone.  Let me start at the beginning...

Anson was born July 10, 1841 to Numon Holley and Elizabeth Fall Holley (her photo is at the bottom of my blog page.) Anson's name is recorded in the "Schedule I: Consolidated List of all persons of Class I subject to do military duty in the twentieth Congressional District, consisting of the counties of Jefferson, Lewis and Herkimer State of New York, enumerated in the month of June 1863."  I have not found any record that he actually fought in the Civil War.  When the 1870 census enumerator came around, Anson was a patient at the New York State Hospital in Utica, Oneida County, New York.  I don't know how long he was a patient.  By the 1880 census he is back home with his widowed mother and his sister, Lucinda Holley.  On December 29, 1882 he married Hannah (Anna) A Rumsey.  I searched as well as newspaper images for Anson Holley hoping to find more information on him.  I found a legal notice in The Watertown Herald; Saturday, December 7, 1901 edition. A surrogate had been appointed for Anson as his wife was requesting an annulment of their marriage, stating that she didn't know he was a lunatic at the time of their marriage.  Interestingly, they have been married 19 years.  The article also stated he had been committed to the St Lawrence State Hospital on February 2, 1893.  In my search I found another article from The Watertown Herald; Saturday, June 24, 1911 edition.  It was a legal notice to settle the estate of Anson's sister, Glorianna Chamberlain.  It reads, in part, "The People of the State of New York, To Alice F. Swain, Harry Freeman, Sarah Graves, Anson N Holley, Myron E Gray, Committee of the property of Anson N Holley, an incompetent person.  Francis M Muzzy, Byron J Muzzy and all persons interested in the estate of Glorianna Chamberlain late of the town of Ellisburg in the County of Jefferson, deceased, as creditor, legatees, next of kin or other send Greeting:"

I then started looking for Anson in the census records.  To date, I have found Anson in all Federal Census to 1920 and New York State Census to 1925.  He was always a resident of St Lawrence State Hospital.  In order to determine if he was buried on the state hospital grounds, I need to find his death certificate and then request in writing his marker number.  That is all I am allowed by HIPPA.

So, I decided to learn more about Anna.  I started out with just her name; Anna A Rumsey.  I went back to the newspaper sites and found a gold mine in the Fulton History collection.  I searched for Anson Holley.    The first article is from the Jefferson County Journal, Adams, New York dated January 18, 1887.  "Giddingsville." Anson and his wife sent out a hundred invitations to their fifth wedding anniversary.  They had quite a party with dancing to The Henderson Orchestra into the wee hours of the morning. They received a lot of nice gifts and cash!
The next article I found in the Jefferson County Journal, in 1890, "Harry Gill has taken Anson Holley's farm in Giddingsville.  He takes possession the first of March.  Will rent his place here."  This is three years before his is committed to SLSH in Ogdensburg. That is the last I find on Anson himself.

Searching further, I find that Anna A Rumsey was Hannah A Pettingill. Her death notice under "Mrs. Anson Holley." States she was born 26 July 1838  and died 25 April 1912.  Her parents were Eastman and Caroline Pettingill. She had one brother, M A Pettingill of Adams, NY, and two sisters; Miza S Nutting (Adams, NY)  and Mrs. H Holmes of Manchester, Iowa.  The next article I come across, is about her daughter Nettie Bushnell.  Nettie was a widow and in ill health and was staying with her mother.  The articles are not chronological due to the fact I searched  all the newspapers instead of selecting one newspaper. The next article is the death notice for Nettie it states she was born in 1858.  She died at her mother's home on December 22, 1901.  The notice goes on to state that Nettie's husband had died in 1892. It doesn't mention his name.  It states she was the only child of James and Anna Pettingill Billings and suffered from paralysis for many years.  So now, at least I have the name of Anna's first husband. That was the end of what I could find in the newspaper collections.

I then decided to track Anna/Hannah in the census starting back in 1850.  I find Hannah living with her parents in Henderson, Jefferson County, New York and  the census states they were all born in Canada.  On to 1860, I expect her to be living with James Billings but I am wrong,  She and her daughter, enumerated as C. A. Billings, are living with Hannah's parents.  James has already died. They are living in Rodman, Jefferson County, New York.  I know she married a Rumsey at some point after this so I search for Rumsey.  In 1870, I found Alanson Pettingill, hotel keeper as the head of household.  With him are Ishman Rumsey, hotel keeper, Hannah Rumsey and Annette Billings. Now, I know why she is called Nettie.  I would guess she was named after her grandmother, Caroline.  In 1880, Anna Rumsey is living with her daughter and son-in-law, Fred Bushnell.  I haven't found Nettie and Anna in 1900 yet.  I did find Anna in 1905 and 1910, she is using the name Rumsey not Holley.  So, at least, the mystery of Anna/Hannah is solve for the most part.  I need to find the 1900 census so I can determine if Anna and Anson Holley had any children.  None were mentioned in her death notice, so I feel comfortable accepting the fact that there were none surviving her.  She could have had other children since Nettie was not mentioned in her death notice.

This brings me back to the beginning of this post.  By 1925, Anson had no living siblings.  My 2x great grandmother died in Oklahoma in 1925. I believe his tombstone was set before he died.  I can think of no other explanation for the date of death to be missing.  So, is he really under here?
 Note:  this image was not sideways on my computer!