April 17, 2012
So I haven’t had nearly enough time to work through the Census but I’ve found a few fun bits. I started off searching Bradley County, Arkansas from my Trotter and related families. Palestine township is E. D. 6-7 and 9 pages in I found Papa Monk (Harrison Trotter) and his family and was thrilled to find not only Grandma Rodie on one of the extra question lines confirming she had born 15 children but her daughter, my aunt Irene, on the other one. Harrison and Rhoda are actually listed as what looks like “Hysom” and “Rose” but from then on it’s my Grandpa and his siblings—definitely the right family. I have so much family in Bradley Co. That I’ve barely begun, but I wanted to find them first. I suspect without indexing finding Gran will take longer—I believe she was living with family in town by 1940. But I’m hoping to have time to go searching for her soon.
On the other side of the family, I’ve now gone through a good chunk of the 4 townships surrounding Rockford for and I’m now working on Rockford proper (I also have to do Plainfield still). I have located my (Great) Grandpa Bailey as the head of my grandpa’s household in Rockford. But I haven’t yet found my biological Great Grandfather Robert or his family. I don’t know where to start from Gran yet but I think I can get a street address and narrow down the search in Grand Rapids. I just haven’t put any time into it yet.
But I’ve got so much to do still… just need to grab more time for research!
March 4, 2012
Posted by JessLibrarian under Family Almanac
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Today would have been my Great-Grandfather’s 107th Birthday. I don’t know a lot about him personally. I don’t remember him, though I was seven when he died. For practical purposes my Great Grandfather was Grandma’s second husband, my Grandpa Bailey.
Robert was the son of William Amos Johnson and Lena Grove Baker, he had one sister, Betty Lou, who was much younger and died at the age of twelve. Like many members of the extended family, he worked a stint at the shoe factory in Rockford and is subsequently listed as working in manufacturing. He married my Great Grandmother Crystal in April of 1927 and they had four children. And sometime between 1933 and 1934 there was a nasty divorce. But regardless of the reasons for the subsequent estrangement, he was able to have a relationship with his family later in life.
This is a section of a photo postcard from the collection of the Rockford Historical Museum.
February 29, 2012
Tomorrow is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of my Great Aunt Rosie Lee Trotter Johnson. To the best of our knowledge she was oldest child of Harrison and Rhoda (Rogers) Trotter. She married Leroy Johnson in August of 1932 and the couple had nine children.
The digital file is from my father’s collection but the originals were turned in during a call for photos before our last Trotter-Rogers Reunion.
February 24, 2012
Yesterday marked the 135th anniversary of the death of, by all accounts, a grand old lady… Mrs. Hannah Gilbert Dubois (my 6th Great Grandmother), known at the time to Rockford and much of West Michigan as Mother Gilbert.
She was born in Vermont the daughter of Revolutionary War veteran, David Johnson and his wife Mary Joiner. At the age of sixteen she married Asa Gilbert in Saratoga, New York and they lived first in Genesee County and then back in Saratoga, New York. In 1828 the couple and nine children (two married), became pioneers of Washtenaw County, Michigan where Mrs. Gilbert faced tremendous loss. Asa died within the year, and a son followed during a harsh winter in 1843. She married a much older widower, Jacob DuBois of Alaiedon Township, Ingham County, Michigan in 1841 who died three years later. But Mrs. Gilbert, noted in reminiscences in the Michigan Pioneer Collection, as “Aunt Hannah” was evidently a devout, strong woman and this only accounts for the first 60 years of her life. Her remaining 30 plus, saw years of devoted service to the Methodist church, her large family, and her communities.
Mother Gilbert issued the invitations and enjoyed the festivities of her daughter, Katherine Gilbert Lapham’s, Golden Wedding in 1876. She saw the births of numerous great great grandchildren. And, according to her obituary in the Rockford Register, she was only slowed by age and infirmity in the last three years of her life. She died 23 Feb 1877 at the home of Smith and Katherine Gilbert Lapham.
Scan of an image from the Gilbert Surname file at the Rockford Historical Museum, Rockford MI
February 8, 2012
61 years ago, tomorrow, my grandparents married in the 1st Congregational Church in Rockford, Michigan, surrounded by family and friends. From Gran’s photo collection.
January 3, 2012
The family found out about the death of my cousin (twice removed) Kay (Ammerman) Miller at our holiday party on Saturday. I did not know her well but she has come up in conversation a great deal lately as my mother and I have talked to my grandmother about how she met my grandfather. If I have the short version of the story kind of straight (because it gets confusing), Kay went to Creston High School in Grand Rapids with my Great Aunt June and Grandmother Ethel and somewhere along the way she introduced Gran to her cousin, Gene Johnson. My impression was that he was younger by almost four years, a bit hot-headed, and handsome. It took him a long time to convince Gran to marry him and then it had to be before her birthday so it didn’t look like that much of an age gap.
Thank you, Kay, for whatever role you played in my being here today and my deepest sympathies go out to all of her loved ones!
December 21, 2011
‘Tis the Season…
Christmas for me has always been a time to share with family. This is a shot of my Grandparents from Christmas in 1979—the last before my grandfather died in May of 1980. The two younger children facing away are my cousin and my brother. I’m in the center.
November 11, 2011
Mine is not, in contemporary times, what I think of as a military family but I have cousins, uncles, and both grandfathers that served in the U. S. Army. And as I follow my lines back I have found whole generations shaped by the family’s military personnel and the trials and opportunities that came with that vocation. So I couldn’t let Veteran’s and Remembrance Day pass without expressing my respect and appreciation for the dedication and hard work of our military servicemen and their families. Thank you, all!
My grandfathers: Sgt. William Eugene Johnson and Sgt. Levie Trotter.
October 19, 2011
‘Tis the season for football… the Detroit Lions and my Michigan State Spartans are each 5-1 and all of this keeps bringing to mind this shot of my Grandfather, William Eugene Johnson, as a Senior on the 1945 Rockford High School football team which also included my Great Uncle, Louis, and at least a couple of their cousins (Ken Morris and Roger Baker). This shot came to my attention when used in a July 1999 Chalk Talk column by Coach Terry Konkle’s in The Rockford Independent.
October 5, 2011
I’ve always liked this shot because, from what most of my family has told me, my great-grandfather was estranged from his family for a good chunk of their lives after he and my great-grandmother divorced. But he was able to build a relationship with my grandfather later in their lives. This is a shot of Robert Eugene Johnson and my grandfather William Eugene Johnson taken at my grandparents’ home on Main St in Rockford, Michigan sometime prior to Grandpa’s death in 1980. The photo is one from my parents’ collection.