Jenny's Genealogy


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Have you ever tried to trace your ancestry when your relatives didn't keep good records (or lost them)? If so, you will understand my dilemma. Like most people born in America, I have mixed European blood in my veins (Swedish, English, German, and Scottish). My ancestors, like most, came to the USA to find a better life and pursue the "American Dream". While I have only just begun tracing my roots, I have already found that early records here in the USA can be scarce--some birth certificates just don't exist. It is also possible that naturalization papers do not contain all the important information (i.e, birth city, etc) which is necessary in such a quest. To further complicate matters, the two oldest members of my family, my grandmothers, seem to only want to discuss future plans (anxiously awaiting the arrival of great-grandchildren I guess) and dislike discussing the past. This may explain why I am researching this information on my own. I have provided a Family Tree or text List on the bottom (for a visual). This text List supplements what you see on the Family Tree.
SWEDISH (maternal family name: Johnson)
Johnson is a Swedish surname, which stems largely from Johanson. My Swedish heritage comes from my mother's (father's) side. My grandfather, Howard Victor Johnson, was born in in 1920 in Somerville, MA to parents Frank Waldo Johnson & Helen Ranghilde (Johnson). For the record, my grandfather is not connected with the Hotel/Restaurant chain! :-)
  • Frank Waldo Johnson was born in1895 in Roxbury, MA to parents Victor Johnson & Almeida (Valdamer).  Neither of their birthdates or birth cities are known unfortunately.
  • Helen Ranghilde (Johnson) was born in 1893 in Stoneham, MA to parents Pehr Wilhem Johnson & Maria Lovisa (Dahlstrom) who came to the U.S. from Sweden in the late 1800's. Pehr was born in 1862 in Kalmar (Sweden) to parents P.E. Yohans (who was a baker, or mjolmare, in Swedish), and G. Petersdotter. Maria Lovisa was born in 1859 in Kalmar (Sweden) to parents Johan August Dahlstrom, who was a sailor (sjoman) with no known DOB, and Johanna Sofia (Holmstrom) of DOB 1830. Johan's parents were A. Johanson, a lumberjack (timmersman), and his wife;  while Johanna's parents were Holmstrom, also a sailor (sjoman) and Gronquist, who was a maid. No birthdates or birth cities were found. No further information has been found to date.  Please see the Family Tree or the List to visualize.
  • My younger brother Andy ('Drew') chose to spend a semester abroad in 2000 in Sweden (studying, or should I say making igloos and excited to see women in hot pants, at the University in Linkoping), giving my mother and I the motivation to realize one of our dreams:  visit the Scandivanian motherland! We met Drew in Sweden, and raced through Sweden, Norway, and touched upon Denmark as well. What was neat was that we were able to visit the summer palace ("Sofiero" in Helsingborg) where my ancestors Pehr & Maria Johnson met and fell in love, as well as combed through their birth records ourselves in Kalmar. Imagine the challenge though: trying to read handwritten Swedish, written in the 1800's, on microfische!!!!!! The Swedes have a funny way of listing professions or trades, rather than the needed pertinent information, like birthdates of parents, however!
    ENGLISH  (maternal family name:  Dodge)
    Dodge is an English surname. My English heritage comes from my mother's (mother's) side. My grandmother, Ruth Eleanor (Dodge) was born in 1920 in Stoneham, MA to parents Albert Dodge & Mary Jane (Holden).
    • Albert Dodge was born in 1893 in Somerville, MA to parents Arthur Curtis Dodge and wife Betsy (Avery).  
    I can trace back the ancestors of Arthur Dodge (above) to 1806 and the ancestors of his wife Sarah Avery (below) to 1557. The last known relative on Sarah's side is Sir William Herrick (born 1557) in England (lived in Leicester and London who was a member of  Parliament from 1601-1630! Sir William's son (Henry ~ born 1604) settled in Salem, MA and founded the 1st Church in Salem (dissenter from Church of England) in 1629! Mapping these details  is too cumbersome for this simple text page....
    • Mary Jane (Holden) was born in 1893 in Somerville, MA to parents John Holden & (unknown first name) (Hilton). No further information is known.  Please see the Family Tree or List to visualize.
    GERMAN (paternal family name:  Simpter)
    Simpter is a German surname. My German heritage comes from my father's (father's) side. My grandfather, Roger Urban Simpter, was born in 1921 in Greenfield, MA to parents Charles E. Simpter, Jr.& Clara D. (Bittner).
    • Charles E. Simpter, Jr. was born in 1888 in Montague, MA to parents Charles E. Simpter, Sr. (born in 1858 in Greenfield, MA) and wife Mina (Wagner) (born in Germany in 1862).  Charles' parents were Charles Simpter & Caroline (unknown surname),  and Mina's parents were Frank (DOB 1839 & naturalized in 1873) & Paulina (unknown surname).  Charles and Caroline were both born in Germany according to the 1920 Census (Montague, MA), but birthdates and locations are unknown.
    • Clara D. (Bittner) was born in 1886 in Adams, MA to parents Julius Bittner & Ernestina (Urban) both born in Germany. No further information is known.
    In December of I received an email from a woman whose roots also stem from Charles and Caroline Simpter. Apparently, Charles and Caroline had two sons:  Christian (her ancestor) and Charles Sr. (my ancestor). What she was able to provide for me was that according to Christian's birthrecords, his parents Charles and Caroline were both born in Germany (dates unknown). I unfortunately have not been able to trace any more information since this time on Charles and Caroline, or the Bittner/Urbans. Please see the Family Tree or List to visualize what I have found so far.

    It's a shame that when I was in Germany in 1994 I didn't think to try to track the birthrecords of these ancestors. But then again, maybe another trip to Germany is in order now that I am older and wiser. ;-)


    SCOTTISH (paternal family name:  Crosby)
    Crosby is a Scottish surname. My Scottish heritage comes from my father's (mother's) side. My grandmother, Marjorie (Crosby) was born in 1923 in Stoneham, MA to parents Wendell Franklin Crosby & Ruth Ester (Spear).
    • Wendell Franklin Crosby was born in 1899 in North Reading, MA to parents John Arthur Crosby & Alice (Eaton). John Crosy was born in 1868 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to parents Ashel Crosby & Melissa (Perry). No further information is known on Wendell's side of the family except for the fact that my grandmother informed me that Ashel & Melissa came over from Scotland prior to that, but I have not been able to trace more on this (yet).
    • Ruth Ester (Spear) was born in 1902 in Malden, MA to parents George H. Spear, Sr. and Janet Roke (Neil or Neal). George was born in 1876 in Ayer, MA, while Janet was born in 1875 in CharlesMagne, Three Rivers (Quebec). No further information is known. Please see the Family Tree or List to visualize.
    Family Tree
    List

    If you have any information that would supplement what I have already found, please email me and help fill in the holes of the mystery! Thanks!



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