Friday, September 9, 2016

The original log cabin, maybe?

At the reunion last MONTH (sorry it's taken so long), I happened to be talking with Aunt Jeanette, Kenny and Gary.  The subject was the Janson farm house.  Did they think the original log cabin was incorporated into the brick house?

Now, this often happened--as the original building got too small, people would add extra rooms like a kitchen or bedrooms, and then eventually, a basement and an upstairs.  (That was true of the house we bought northwest of Royalton in 1970--since they built extensions on it, that small room became a walk-thru on the way to other rooms, but it was too main floor to be used as storage).

Aunt J and Gary said no--the house, built around 1890, was "stick built" and planned, even tho it seemed oddly laid out when we were kids.  (I suppose the house was finished before they realized an indoor bathroom was desirable.  Seems like it was carved out of the main floor bedroom and a closet).
Anyway, AJ mentioned an old shed that sat east of the house when she was first married..."they kept pigs in it, I think".  But wow, maybe the original cabin was still there in the late 1940s?

Well, they wouldn't have taken pics of it, right?  It was a shed by then--useful, and not bad enough to tear down, plus the land gently sloped away to the north right there--perfect for a pasture behind it, but not the best place for a permanent house.

Okay, it's a theory, but a sorta charming one, I think ☺

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Johannes Janson Family Reunion

Hooray, it's supposed to be nice on Saturday--see ya in Gilman, ok?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A new Naber (descendant)

If you've looked around the Janson blog before, you'll remember this family tree we posted in October 2009 (so pretend you remember, mkay?) It's a Naber family tree I found in mom's stuff.  Since posting it, a couple people have found it and figured out where they fit, the latest being this week ☺
Judy figured out she's descended from great grandpa Gerhard's brother Henry (JH) there in the middle.  She knew her gg-grandmother, Anna, had a brother named Bernard (1860-1926), and that he lived all his life in Iowa.  She knew, too, that Anna married Johann Wilhelm Erdmann June 16, 1876 in Petersburg Iowa, and that they eventually moved to Texas where they stayed.  Their youngest son was Judy's grandpa.  Isn't that just neat?  
Welcome to this end of the family, Judy!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

We met another Janson ☺

Early in April, a bunch of Jansons sat down together and talked family ☺.  It was great fun, and I'm sorry it's taken me this long to post about it, but I knew I'd need to do a little research first.
Part of the fun was the WHO part of it: Tom, Glenn, Bev, Gary, Bob and me.   Bob is a descendant of Johannes Janson, the cousin and traveling companion of Josef Janson on their trip to America in 1883.  He first emailed about the ship our two families arrived on, the Zeeland.  That was December 2014.  So, how does he connect specifically?  His mom was Bette, the daughter of Sophie (Janson) and Nick Daniel.  Sophie, of course, was Johannes & Marie's daughter.
(The rest of us at the meeting were descendants of Joseph's via Sebastian and Anton, but you knew that, right?)

Bob's been doing research into his family that connects to Joseph and Franziska, too, so he's read this blog to see if we have any family stories in common.  One, of course, is How They Left Germany .  Bob questioned it!
Now, Larry and I've found a few dubious stories over the years we've been researching the family, but usually there's something true in a story, even if it's not the WHOLE truth.  However, it sounds like mom's story of 4 adults and 10 kids leaving by night in a rowboat was only true in that they did leave Germany together.
According to Bob's research, they left by...train.
Still, I think I heard the story once, not over and over.  I don't know how old I was, but I recall being thrilled imagining the romance and danger of the river, with dark woods and towering castled promontories along the way and towns that needed avoiding.  Of course it stuck in my head.  In reality, they had to leave because 9 of those 10 kids were boys, and subject to the draft in a few short years.  I imagine tales of America's opportunities were pretty irresistible, too.
Another fascinating question we discovered is this strange photo.  Bob couldn't figure out how it fit with other pics of the John Janson house--it's configured totally wrong to be that house, and yet, the people in the photo are definitely John and Maria and four of their adult kids.  Gary picked it up and recognized the house he grew up in, before the porch was added.  The windows and door configuration, the lean-to on the back (right side, which was gone by the time we knew it; only the cement slab was left, remember?)  So, if the two families were at odds after John moved 4 miles south, why were they sitting here?  Certainly, the original cabin on this spot was long gone, so it couldn't have been nostalgia. (By the look of John & Marie, it was around the time of their 50th wedding anniversary).
It's another cool mystery for us to ponder ☺ **
** Hmm, going thru Pierz Journal clippings today (May 1), I found this puzzling auction bill, from 1921: it was published just days after Reinhard was born.  There was a follow-up note in the paper saying that Anton Janson got good prices for his stuff at the auction (they said that about all the auctions, but it means that the event was actually held).  Since Reinhard, Mom and Loretta grew up in that house, and Reinhard's family after them, what was grandpa doing having an auction?? Still, it might have been an opportunity for John's family to walk around in the yard, then.  OR...did they stop at the farm when they knew Joe and Franziska were not home?  Wow, that's possible, too.
We may never know.....

Here's Bob, by the way--5th adult from the left--white hair and glasses. 
THANKS for traveling to Minnesota, Bob.
Meeting you was interesting & fun!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Joseph Janson's last will and testament

Oh, such a beautiful fall day today!  It's breezy and 64° and I'm happy ☺.

Yesterday, we heard from Bob G, a Johannes Janson descendant (his mom was a Daniel).  Bob's sent info before, about that side of the family and about the Zeeland, too, the ship that carried both families to America.

If you recall, Johannes had a son named Joseph, who became the blacksmith and village clerk in Buckman.  That made two Joe Jansons to keep separate, i.e., if the newspaper said Joe Janson had visitors from New Munich, then you knew it was old Joe, but if the paper mentioned Joe Janson's daughter who was working in Little Falls, you knew it was blacksmith Joe.  The problem ended in December 1911, when our grandpa's father Joseph died.  What Bob found was a last will written by (old) Joseph and his wife Franziska, from February, 1911.

The document must have been a transcription because the handwriting is too even and legible and (carelessly misspelled), but it gives us a list of what they owned, as well as who their close friends were (Ignatz Ronellenfitch and Joseph Weisbrik). This is soooo cool!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Peter Janson 1893-1981

What a marvelous thing online family genealogy is.  Since we began researching the Jansons (mom's family), the Heschs (dad's family),and writing about them here, I've met amazing relatives that I wasn't aware of.  Each one has stories that compliment or enhance, or conflict, with what I heard as a kid ☺.  I love it!

Case in point:  Last summer, I heard from Ed and his wife Sue.  Ed is descended from John, our great grandfather Joe's cousin (the two Jansons who settled in Buckman in 1883).  Ed's grandpa was Dan Janson, whose daughter Laura was Ed's mom.
Zu Verstehen so far?

Yesterday, Sue emailed this cool newspaper article found among Laura's effects, about Peter Adrian Janson, her uncle.  It's from Janesville, Minnesota, February 1, 1978.  Pete is the guy on the right in this picture, when he still lived in Oklahoma.
The article's about his life, of course, but the part that most interests me is in the second column, where he talks about how his parents arrived in Buckman in 1883.

Pete's account is interesting to me because my great grandpa Joe was that cousin, and of course I heard a different version of the story ☺.  I always thought John was the stronger character, and that once they arrived in Mn, they simply couldn't get along because there were four adults, eight kids under 12, plus two new babies...all in a tiny cabin on the land a mile west of Buckman. Sounds insufferable to me ☺.
THANKS, Sue & Ed!

A couple days later:  I found a copy of the WPA bio of Joseph A. Janson, who was Peter's brother.  He became the blacksmith in Buckman and was a council member and clerk of the village.  Part of the biographies were a little about a persons' roots.  Here's what Joe said about his parents:
"John Janson was a cabinet maker by trade in Germany. In the spring of 1883 he immigrated to America with his family, settling in Buckman twp., where he purchased 80 acres of land in section 29. The land was improved brush land.  Ten acres were under cultivation. There was a log house and a log barn on the place.
Mr Janson bought a team of oxen which he used for about six years.  Then he sold them and bought a team of horses. He began to clear more land and hired team and men during the first years to help him.  In 1897 he built a brick veneer house and the same year he purchased 80 acres more wild land which they also improved..."

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Birth Certificate for another Joseph Janson c. 1901

 These two maps show Prince Edward County in the state of Virginia, where our Jansons tried farming for 10 months in 1900.   The map on the left shows the county in relation to larger Va cities, and the one on the right shows Hampden in the middle and Meherrin on the south edge, about 20 miles away.  Turns out that grandpa's brother Sebastian lived in Meherrin while their parents tried Hampton.  They all eventually moved back to Minnesota.

Larry found two interesting pieces of info online yesterday--both having to do with Joseph, Sebastian and Mary's son.  Evidently, in 1942, Joe had to prove when and where he was born to someone here in Stearns county.  Were they enlisting men over 40 then?  Anyway, these are interesting documents--see who little Joe's godfather was?  Anton was 20 years old.  We have no idea who the other sponsor was--looks like Mrs Zerknutzer?  Larry found a family named Zirknitzer but we have no clues beyond that.  Yes, new info always creates more questions!        

The very next day ☺:
Ha! It crossed my mind to check the 1900 census records for Hampden but I didn't actually do it.  Wanna guess who did? The Zirknitzer family lived next door to Joseph and Franziska Janson.  They were from Austria, so would have been as familiar as a lot of their Buckman neighbors.
In June 1900, Sebastian and Mary were still living in Buckman, according to the Minnesota census, with their adopted son John and Seb's brother Eugene.  We assume they left for Virginia shortly afterwords because their son Joseph was born in Meherrin, Va according to the green birth certificate above.
So baby Joseph's sponsors were Anton Janson and Katherine Zirknitzer.
(BTW, Larry scanned the rest of the population living around our great grandparents--almost every one, black or white, were born in Virginia of parents born in Virginia--not exactly the German settlement Joe and Fran hoped for).