Sunday, August 19, 2018

I am American!

Remember a little while ago I discovered there were some Germans in my family tree but alas not blood relatives. Now I have another email from a genealogy site with some detail from my maternal grandmother's side, a Dickson. She was born in 1892 and died in 1984. So, she was in her 90s when she died. I must ask Mother about her. She is some kind of 3rd aunt to me.

But what is interesting to me is where she was born. It is a place called Advance, which is little more than a meeting of two major roads, in the county of Shawano in Wisconsin, USA. There is a church and a sprinkling of neat enough houses. It just twenty five minutes to the western shore of Lake Michigan in the north of the US. Isn't that exciting. Now I will have to concentrate to see if she is a blood relative or not.

When I was looking around Advance using the electric street camera website, this house rather appealed to me. It must have been halloween.


I just entered Dicksons of Advance into search and there seems to be quite a lot of them still in the area and they have their own cemetery. Can someone from the US tell me what it means to have your own cemetery in the American context? It sounds to me like they were not poor people. There are around 42 people in the cemetery and those not named Dickson I assume were married to or children of Dicksons.


Ok, there are two Dicksons with the same first name who are mother and daughter and the time frame fits for my relative be the daughter of the younger one in the cemetery, who has a slight variation on the same name. Why did my relative come to Australia, probably in the quite early 20th century. I'd love to get stuck in and do some research, but I know how it just eats in your time. I'll save it for retirement.

I couldn't resist checking a bit more. I have it right. Grandmother and mother of my relative are buried in the cemetery and her father is buried there too. I have forgotten how the Dicksons fit into my family. I am looking at my less than accurate family tree, and of course, it was Mother's maternal grandmother's maiden name. From what I can see,  she was the niece of my mother's grandmother. The Australian Dickson's have been in Australia back to the early 1800s but it looks like some of them were of US origin...........enough. Or maybe the family split when leaving England. One lot went to the US, which of course wasn't the US back then, and another lot went to Australia. All speculation. Anyway, I don't see why I should have to family research when I fairly sure it has been done by other people already. It is hard to share though with these genealogy companies.

Later: Mother knows nothing about any American connection. I opened the conversation with Mother, did you grandmother Rose speak with an American accent. She did give me two female names her grandmother Rose talked about as relatives, but neither have the name of or even close to the relative from the US. If professional genealogists charge by the hour, it would be a very expensive process. And, I just know the work has already been done by other people, but who?

29 comments:

  1. A family cemetery sounds very posh to me. The family which is buried together stays together.
    One of my brothers (of the half variety) did do a lot of exploring of our family tree. He didn't explore my side though. Some day...

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    1. EC, staying together must be permanent hell for some family members. I hope your brother was able to share the tree with you.

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  2. My ancestry is all Scottish and Irish.

    An aunt on my father's side married an American soldier. They met when he was stationed here during the Second World War. After marrying they returned to the States where they had their family and formed a life. Years later they returned to Australia...and Rockhampton, which was where they first met, and married.

    Have a good week, Andrew.

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    1. Lee, they came back to live in Rocky? That was quite a big step and I assume without their family.

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    2. No bigger a step than moving to the States.

      As far as I am aware, their family (children) came with them back to Australia. Said children were no longer little kids

      The rest of my aunt/father's siblings were still living in Rockhampton....so no...it wasn't a huge step.

      My late brother, Graham and I were both born in Rockhampton, but, along with our mother and grandmother, left when we were both very young.

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    3. Must have a bit of a change for the kids who has grown up in the US.

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  3. Not an expert but little I know about private cemerties here in USA. I know religious base cemertries are consider private but state to state burial laws very.
    You might want to check this site http://coeio.com/burial-laws-state/...It will give you some ideal about different states law when it comes to burial rules from state to state...Coffee is on

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    1. Thanks Dora. Terrific link.

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  4. By blood relative do you mean direct descendant? Because that would explain my next query which is: if they are on your family tree how can they NOT be a blood relative, but of course on thinking about it there would be many branches that aren't directly connected to you.
    I'd like to know more about my ancestry but I'm not paying for any genealogy. I'll just be content with what my mother has done with her side of the family.

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    1. River, I am not sure I know myself. The German connection has no connection to me through birth.
      whereas Mother's grandmother and perhaps her niece does. May I suggest you use either Geni or Ancestry to map out what you do know and you don't have to pay for that.

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    2. I have it all drawn up in 'tree' form by hand, Mum did that and then dedicated a page per family with photos. That's good enough for me, but she couldn't find any information on my Dad's family apart from his parents and brothers who are now all dead with the possible exception of a cousin who vanished at age 16 and was never seen again.

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  5. That does sound very chic; having your own family cemetery.

    I was recently told that I have some Irish blood. I REFUSED to believe it. They must have made a mistake.

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    1. Lordy Cro, that explains everything. It is your Irish blood.

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    2. What's wrong with being Irish?

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  6. American? Oh dear... does that mean you are obligated to listen to Thump???

    Go over it all again with your mum, showing her all the formal and informal documents that you have. Ensure you note the names, dates and places on any photos you can find.

    We found dozens of documents and photos from my brother and sister in law, once they sold the family home. But they had no children or siblings, so there is noone left who can say how to name all their relics.

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    1. Hels, worse than that. I have to consider with great thought about what my president is saying. Mother has imparted much family history and I have noted it down. It is the old photos I worry about the most. Someone else has many old framed photos and the ones Mother has, I don't know who all people are.

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    2. Ask Mother if she knows the people, then write the names on the back. I need to do that myself, name and birthdate.

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  7. I have sent this post to my American bestie Sephyroth who lives in WI. He might know more about the cemetery thing. :)

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    1. Snoskred, I learnt a valuable lesson many years ago with my blog when someone assumed Bone Doctor was a man and not my sister's female partner. And so what I have done? I assumed Sephyroth was female.

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  8. Actually, having a family cemetery back in the Pioneer Days meant that you were usually not too wealthy, and lived int he middle of no where with no local cemetery to be buried in. In New Hampshire, there are many of these little fenced off cemeteries along country roads.
    I did find this explaining cemeteries in the USA.

    "While uncommon today, family (or private) cemeteries were a matter of practicality during the settlement of America. If a municipal or religious cemetery had not been established, settlers would seek out a small plot of land, often in wooded areas bordering their fields, to begin a family plot. Sometimes, several families would arrange to bury their dead together. While some of these sites later grew into true cemeteries, many were forgotten after a family moved away or died out.
    Today, it is not unheard of to discover groupings of tombstones, ranging from a few to a dozen or more, on undeveloped land. As late 20th century suburban sprawl pressured the pace of development in formerly rural areas, it became increasingly common for larger exurban properties to be encumbered by "religious easements," which are legal requirements for the property owner to permit periodic maintenance of small burial plots located on the property but technically not owned with it. Often, cemeteries are relocated to accommodate building. However, if the cemetery is not relocated, descendants of people buried there may visit the cemetery.
    More recent is the practice of families with large estates choosing to create private cemeteries in the form of burial sites, monuments, crypts, or mausoleums on their property; the mausoleum at Fallingwater is an example of this practice. Burial of a body at a site may protect the location from redevelopment, with such estates often being placed in the care of a trust or foundation. Presently, state regulations have made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to start private cemeteries; many require a plan to care for the site in perpetuity. Private cemeteries are nearly always forbidden on incorporated residential zones. Many people will bury a beloved pet on the family property." (Which is actually not permitted, but then, no one is the wiser.)

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    1. Maribeth, isn't that quite fascinating. I like the idea that the cemetery takes precedence over property rights. Thanks for article.

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  9. Well how exciting Andrew.. not so much the American bit.. kidding.. maybe kidding 😀 I can see how it could become time consuming though. Something to really get stuck into when you retire, goodness knows what you might find 😱

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    1. Grace, while I know the big picture of my family history, as you say, the devil comes in the detail.

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  10. I think the theory about he family cemetery being more about not having much is most likely. The two that I know of are a couple of miles out of major towns or settlements and so would likely have been for families who maybe didn't have the wherewithal to get to the town to bury their relatives.

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    1. Thanks Sephyroth. That never occurred to me really.

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    2. If you want to do some more diving into this, you may want to reach out to the Shawano County Historical Society http://www.shawanohistory.org/ - they may be able to dig more information up for you that you hadn't already received. :)

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    3. Sepyroth, thank you. You are too kind. It is a matter of time available to do such things. For better or worse, I put my blog, that is my social connections, first.

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  11. The family probably owned the land the cemetery was on. That used to be common. Well so you are sort of related to me, in a very expansive manner. Welcome to the family, Andrew.

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    1. Strayer, I can already feel the patriotism beating in my heart and I will learn where to put my hand against my chest. God bless.

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