52 Ancestors: #2 Louise Mathiesen (1890-1950)

Louise Mathiesen
Louise (Mathiesen) Maguire, 1935

This is my great grandmother, Louise (pronounced more like “Louisa”). I didn’t know her, and my dad and his brothers didn’t know her (as far as I know). The oldest of his siblings was 6 when she passed away. When I was a kid, I didn’t really think to ask my grandfather about her; for one, I didn’t see him that often, and for two, I was more into riding my bike and building forts in the woods than learning anything about people who I didn’t know that were dead and gone. I would still like to ask my uncles if they remember their father talking about her at all, but I just haven’t gotten around to it, and we’re just not close, sadly.  I haven’t seen any of them in years. Poor excuses, I know.

Louise was my first international discovery. The first ancestor that made this whole genealogy thing really exciting for me. I was in high school – maybe a sophomore or junior – when I decided to order the death certificate of my grandfather, George, from the McLeod county courthouse. You know, like most high schoolers do. The document listed his mother: Louisa Mathison, born in Denmark.  HOLY CRAP I’M DANISH is what I said when I read that, I’m pretty sure. So this must be where our family tradition of eating pickled herring at Christmas time originated.  And where I got my ability to hide my emotions so well. Everything was starting to make sense.

Over the next couple/few years, on and off, I tried to find out more about her, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, and didn’t find much. At some point, I gave it another good go, and ended up finding another living relative of Louise’s – who didn’t even know of Louise’s existence – and who had done tons and tons of research on her ancestors! Thanks to him, I know exactly where I need to visit when I finally make it over to Denmark!

Louise was born on the 7th of September, 1880 to a shoemaker, Jacob Mathiesen Handevidt and Caroline Christensen Smith in Lindeballe, Denmark.

Louise's Record of Birth
Louise’s Record of Birth

I really don’t know that much about her life in Denmark, except that her family seemed to relocate relatively frequently.  She came to America with her parents and one sister, Caroline on 26 July 1890 on a ship called the Rugia, dropping Handevidt and using Mathiesen as their surname. Louise had 10 siblings including Caroline – some who also came to the U.S. at different times, and some who did not.

S. S. Rugia
S. S. Rugia

On 28 March, 1909, she married my great grandfather, John Maguire. Together they had 6 children – including my grandfather – while living on their farm in Collins Township, McLeod County, Minnesota. She passed away at the age of 69 on 04 January, 1950, and was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Brownton, Minnesota. I wish I had more to say about her – but I’m afraid that’s it for now.Some things I would still like to find on Louise:

  • I would like to find out what she was like – the things she liked to do, what people thought of her, etc.
  • I would like to find a photograph of her when she was younger – I do have some hope that one does exist!

Until the next ancestor…

Marriage & Naturalization Records

Marriage Records

Saturday, I headed to St. Paul for some research; first to MNGS (it was Irish Day, where they have people on staff to help with Irish research), and then to MNHS.  At MNGS, my goal was to find the church records for Anthony & Bridget’s marriage on 12 Sep 1860.  These church records are housed by the chancery of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, but they have provided MNGS with some of them. The woman helping me says that the Archdiocese has recently put some sort of freeze on all of these records – meaning you cannot order them, or request them? I haven’t really been able to confirm this, but I am happy to report that they had what I was looking for.

The neat thing, is that this record is in Latin! FamilySearch has a handy Latin Genealogy word list that helped me translate a few of the words. Here’s what I could transcribe:

60
Antonius Maguire
Brigitta Caverty

A.D. 1860 [??] September 13 [??]  [??]  proclamation juncti in matrimonium Antonius Maguire [??] Birgitta Caverty. Testes Edwardus Essing [??] Kenna.

And then a few of the translations:

Juncti in Matromonium = joined  in marriage
testes = witnesses

I’m happy that I found this, but I wish it would have given me more information, and less confusion.  The confusion is regarding the marriage date.  The other marriage record that I have – the state record – says that they were married on 12 Sep 1860, but it was signed on 13 Sep 1860.  This new record says they were married on 13 Sep 1860, I think?

After a few paper jams while trying to print this record on an old microfiche reader/printer, they moved me over to a newer, fancier, digital-er microfiche reader/printer.  I didn’t even have to print it if I didn’t want to, because it scanned the images and made them digital. In all of my genealogy research, all of the microfiche machines I had used were totally old school and crappy. I think they didn’t put me on the new machine in the first place because they didn’t really know how to use it – I had to kind of figure it out on my own.  Helper woman told me that they used to sell flash drives for people to save their images, but they didn’t have them any anymore, and weren’t getting more.  Their computers let me access Google, so I thought I’d just scan and upload them to my drive – so convenient!  I didn’t have to print the marriage record, but I did anyway, to have for reference while I was there researching. Good thing I did, too; when I got home and downloaded all of my scanned images (.tif files), none of them would open.  GD. I had grabbed a few other records while I was there, but didn’t print them.  So I’ll have to remember to scan them again when I’m there next (and check them!)

Land Records

It seems that every time (lately) that I take a day to do research, I end up picking up a new hint or tip for something to try next.  That happened this time, too.  The woman helping me told me that if Anthony homesteaded, I could contact the Bureau of Land Management, and ask them to send me anything they might have on him.  Back in the day, when a person was homesteading, the government would “check up” on the person and their land, make an assessment of their property, and record the progress they were making on the land.  Adding to my to do list!

Naturalization Records

Next, I headed over to MNHS to try again at finding the rest of Anthony’s naturalization records.  I asked a nice volunteer about the record that I already had, and he confirmed that it was what I suspected – Anthony’s Declaration of Intent. I still had to find his “Final Papers”, the thing that would confirm whether or not he actually did become naturalized. And since you had to be naturalized to own land, and Anthony owned land, I was pretty sure that these records should exist.  It took a bit of effort, but we finally found it! On SAM 56-I Roll 1, McLeod County. District Court. Naturalization Records Index., I found Anthony, and by chance, two of my other ancestors (my Danish 2nd Great Grandfather Jacob Mathiasen, and my Polish 2nd Great Grandfather Lawrence Mochinske). The index gave me this, for Anthony:

Next I had to figure out which roll had “Vol. A-1. P.2” so I could find the actual record. Volunteer man helped me determine (from this list) that I would find it on SAM 56, Roll 3. And he was right.  The top portion of the image below reads,

State of Minnesota
September 15, 1868

Dist. Court 4th Judicial Dist.  McLeod County

September 1868

The following persons came into open court and produced the proof required by statutes and were admitted to [free?] citizenship.

Once again, I was kind of hoping for more information, but this is still cool. And the story is coming together! He came to the US in 1857. By law he had to live in the US for 5 years before he could apply for citizenship.  Shortly after his 5 years are up, he starts the process on 06 Mar 1863 and signs (marks with an ‘x’) his Declaration of Intent, renouncing his allegiance to the Queen of Great Britain & Ireland. Another 5 years have to go by before he can get his Final Papers and become a citizen, which he did on 15 Sep 1868.

I ran out of time, and wasn’t able to get the final papers for my Dane & Pole — next time.  (And now I know how to do it!)

Etc.

I stopped by the MNHS gift shop on my way out, and I purchased a couple of really neat, small maps of old Minnesota – one from 1855, before we were a state, and one from 1860, shortly after we became a state. They are very cool, but now I don’t know what I’m going to do with them.  Maybe I’ll be able to use them in my research?

I’m also wondering if I should become a member of the history center. Every time I spend money there (copies, food, …maps, etc.), they ask me if I’m a member, and I say “no”, and I don’t get the member discount. I certainly go there often enough, and I give them money almost every time — maybe I should become a member?  I think I would feel good about helping them keep doing what they’re doing. I also wonder about volunteering at the library.  The thought is kind of appealing, and I’m sure I would learn a lot more about what they offer if I were to volunteer there. I always appreciate the volunteers that take the time to help me, like this weekend, especially when they’re busy running around helping other people as well. I don’t know that I have the time now, but I think that’s something I’d like to do, someday.

What’s next?

  1. Contact Bureau of Land Management
  2. Find church marriage record for Anthony’s second marriage to Mary O’Meara