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.
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.
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…