Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Grandfather's Sedgwick Line

After the recent spate of posts about my various distant Sedgwick cousins, I finally took a little break from reading about them to make some charts showing my own direct-line Sedgwick ancestors. Above is my maternal grandfather's chart. His great-grandmother was Tryphena Sedgwick, who married Micajah Pettis. The two charts below follow her Sedgwick lineage back to the 1600s.

Joseph Sedgwick was the fourth child of Captain Samuel Sedgwick and his wife Mary Hopkins. Joseph's youngest brother Benjamin was the father of Judge Theodore Sedgwick, whose descendants are the subject of two books I recently wrote about here, In My Blood and Edie: An American Biography.

In future posts, we'll look at my Sedgwick line one generation at a time, using the materials posted at Sedgwick Genealogy Worldwide and whatever else I come up with.


An Important Note About Mrs. Ezekiel T. Efner:

In the first chart above, you'll see Salina Bouck, Ezekiel T. Efner's wife, in the lower right corner. But was her surname Bouck or Burch? As a beginning genealogist many years ago, I found that someone had noted Selina's surname as "Bouck or Burch." (At this point, I can't tell you where I saw that!) I tried to determine which was correct, but to no avail, and I suspect that better researchers than I have also found a brick wall here.

Richard Efnor, in his extensive research, cites William B. Efner (Efner Family - Eugene Bouton Papers): Ezekiel T. Efner "married Selina Burch February 03, 1831." I haven't seen the Bouton papers. However, I found that Bouck was a common surname in Schoharie County, New York, where Ezekiel lived. I did some searching under both names, but I found no mention of anyone who might be Ezekiel Efner's wife. Consequently, although she is listed as Salina Bouck in the pedigree chart appearing here, I do have her listed both ways in my database, until some kind of documentation comes into my hands to show which is correct.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pedigree Collapse: A Worst-Case Scenario

Pedigree collapse is most often discovered several generations back, but...

(click to enlarge)


Aw, just having a little Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with fellow geneabloggers Randy, Sheri, Thomas, Diana, Tina, Robert, Taneya, Bill, Ken, Carol, Pam, and many more, thanks to the Trading Card generator at Big Huge Labs!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Last Will and Testament of Ezekiel T. Efner

click to enlarge

The last will and Testament of Ezekiel T. Efner of the Town of Lyndon, County of Sheboygan and State of Wisconsin:

I, Ezekiel T. Efner, considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last wil and testament in manner and form following: First, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Catharine E. Pettis the wife of D.J. Pettis, the sum of one hundred Dollars to be paid to her at any time within Two years from my death at the option of my wife Eliza Efner, such sum of money to be paid out of my estate.
And Second: I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Eliza Efner and my youngest son William A. Efner all my real and personal property lying and being situate in the County of Sheboygan and State of Wisconsin, and also all other property of whatever kind that I may hereafter become possessed of, all such property to be divided equally between them, when the said William A. Efner shall become Twenty-one years of age, and I further proclaim that my said wife shall have full control of all of my property, both real and personal, during the minority of the said William A. Efner, and I hereby appoint my said wife sole executrix of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set myh hand and seal this 3rd day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six.
E.T. Efner

Ezekiel T. Efner died on or about the 12th day of March, 1868, at his residence in Lyndon. His personal estate was valued at about fifty dollars, and real estate about fifteen hundred dollars. He had no unpaid debts.

Ezekiel Taylor Efner was my third great-grandfather.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Efner Tombstones at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (aka Abers Cemetery)
Mitchell, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
(click to enlarge any photo in this post)

I visited Mt. Pleasant Cemetery several years ago to locate the gravesite of my third great-grandfather, Ezekiel Efner. The cemetery is located at the northwest corner of High View Road and Parnell Road, Mitchell, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. From Cascade Village, you take Hwy. 28 south to County Trunk F; go west on F about a mile to High View, then north on High View about half a mile. [T14N, R20E, SE quarter of SE quarter Sec 24]

My notes are as vague as my memory on this fine point, but in the photo above, I believe you can just make out the two white stones of Ezekiel and Eliza Efner between the two shadowed stones framed by the cemetery sign. A closer view appears below:

Tombstones of Ezekiel Efner and his second wife, Eliza A. Davis

Ezekiel Efner died March 12, 1868. There's a Masonic insignia on his gravestone. If I understand correctly, both his stone and Eliza's were broken at some point, and were subsequently set into the ground such that the lower parts of the stones are not now visible. Ezekiel's stone once showed that his age at the time of his death was 67 years old.

Tombstone of Ezekiel Efner

Ezekiel's second wife, Eliza A. Davis, is buried next to him. The clasped-hands symbol on her stone is said to mean "farewell to this earth." From a cemetery transcription, I understand that the stone gave her age at the time of her death as 55 years, 3 months, and 11 days.

Tombstone of Eliza A. (Davis) Efner

Monday, September 07, 2009

Madness and Desire

The second book in my little stack of Sedgwick histories is called In My Blood: Madness and Desire in an American Family (HarperCollins, c. 2007). Written by John Sedgwick, another descendant of Judge Theodore Sedgwick and a cousin of Edie, this book is a study of what seems to be a genetic predisposition to manic depression in the Sedgwick family. But it's much more than that. It's a personal history, a family history and, in the telling of Theodore's story, a history of the early days of this country. However, it's quite unlike any dry, boring history book you might have had to choke down in school. Dare I call it a page-turner?

Yeah, why not? I turned every page, and as you may already know, I am not usually much of a reader, most especially of anything one might read about in a history class. But where your history textbook might tell you about what happened to an army, this book tells you about what happened to a guy. One particular guy. And history textbook readers may find this hard to believe, but the guy had a wife (or three!) and a mess o' kids! And personal drama! Yes, Virginia, there were real people involved in the American Revolution! Who knew?

The story of Theodore Sedgwick (1746-1813), his marriages, and his children fills the first half of this 400-page book, and their story is laid upon a framework of American nation-building that the patriarch of this family took part in. The remainder of the book follows succeeding generations and the legacy of ambition and madness handed down until it reached the author himself. A descendancy chart at the front of the book helps the reader keep track of who's who.

Due in part to the historical prominence of the Sedgwick family, great huge volumes of paperwork--documents, letters, published materials--have been preserved. John Sedgwick did an enormous amount of research for this work, and then somehow managed to make it read like a novel.

Despite the theme of manic depression which unifies the two-and-a-half-century timespan of individual histories in this book, I enjoyed reading it much more than the book I wrote about last week. My only wish is that there had been more than the fourteen photographs which were included. I was glad I hadn't returned Edie: An American Biography to the library yet, as there were about three dozen relevant family photographs in the first third of that book.

I enthusiastically recommend In My Blood not only to Sedgwick descendants but to anyone interested in an up-close, personal view of the American Revolution era, to genealogists and family historians who hope to write a family history of their own, and to anyone interested in mental health issues that have a genetic component.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Fog, Amphetamine, and Pearls

I picked up a few books at the library last week. I decided to read first the one with the oldest copyright date, 1982. That's more than a quarter-century ago. Sounds like a long time when you put it that way. The book focuses largely upon things that happened almost a half-century ago, in The Sixties.

To me, it hardly seems possible that The Sixties was almost half a century ago. I was growing up then. I remember stuff that happened: JFK campaigning for the presidency, the Kennedy assassinations, Vietnam War protests--well, I don't need to recite political history for you. You've surely read and heard all about it.

My own focus during that era was not so much on the front-page news, though, as it was on magazines (Seventeen and Mademoiselle, especially). And rock 'n' roll... and boys... but we're not goin' there now. We're going with the reading material which, I think, probably always was my biggest source of... well, let's just say ideas.

One of my ideas during my early teen years (i.e. the early Sixties) was that I thought it would be glamorous and exciting to move to New York City and be a fashion model. Never mind that I had neither the looks nor the figure nor the audacity to do it. It was an idea that lived safely in my imagination, which was pretty good back then.

But what if I had gone? Well, after reading Edie: An American Biography by Jean Stein, I'm happy to say we'll never know the answer to that question.

This book is about Edie Sedgwick. Having done a little data entry this morning, I can now tell you that she was my sixth cousin, twice removed, on my grandpa Rosmer's side--barely a fibril in my family tree, and I, of course, barely a fibril in hers. Our closest common ancestors were Captain Samuel Sedgwick (1667-1735) and his wife Mary Hopkins.

Edie was born in 1943, five years before me. About the time I was dreaming of having glamorous adventures in New York City, she was doing it. Oddly, I'd never heard of her until I came across this book. I say oddly because she seems to be something of an icon even now, although her main claim to fame seems to be only that she hung out with Andy Warhol and made some underground films with him. She also met and spent some time with Bob Dylan, and it's said that he wrote the song Just Like a Woman about her.

Roughly the first third of this book is about Edie's family. It opens thusly:
Have you ever seen the old graveyard up there in Stockbridge? In one corner is the family's burial place; it's called the Sedgwick Pie. The Pie is rather handsome. In the center Judge Theodore Sedgwick, the first of the Stockbridge Sedgwicks and a great-great-great-grandfather of Edie's and of mine [the speaker being John P. Marquand, Jr.], is buried under his tombstone, a high rising obelisk, and his wife Pamela is beside him. They are like the king and queen on a chessboard, and all around them like a pie are more modest stones, put in layers, back and round in a circle. The descendants of Judge Sedgwick, from generation unto generation, are all buried with their heads facing out and their feet pointing in toward their ancestor. The legend is that on Judgment Day when they arise and face the Judge, they will have to see no one but Sedgwicks.
The entire book is written in the form of quotations from interviews done with family members and people who knew Edie. There is a lot of family history here, very candid in the telling. I found that aspect very interesting, in a train-wreck sort of way. (My own parents would have died of mortification had such a book been written about our family.) A six-generation descendancy chart at the back of the book was very helpful to me--I referred to it again and again, and also to the many photographs included throughout the book.

As Edie's story evolved, or maybe I should say devolved, the book became increasingly darker and more depressing. Her addiction to drugs and alcohol finally resulted in her death in 1971. And, mercifully, the end of the book.

Even darker and more depressing than the book, however, are the many videos of Edie which you can find on YouTube, if you have the stomach for it. They're from the Druggies With Cameras school of filmmaking. I don't find them suitable for inclusion here. I did find this excellent 1966 performance by Bob Dylan though, which I think is not only timely and relevant but also much more worthy of your attention, as there is actual talent involved. (The version I originally had posted here was removed by YouTube. This one lacks live performance video, but the sound track, from a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 1966, is fantastic, especially the harmonica riff at the end.)

I could say more, but in the world of GeneaBloggers, it's Wordless Wednesday, so let's just go with that... more or less.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Tombstone of Hubbard S. Burdick (1816-1890)

click to enlarge

While photographing Sedgwick tombstones at Greenwood Cemetery several years ago, I happened to come upon this one and recognized two of my ancestral names, Hubbard and Burdick. My seventh great-grandmother was Deborah Hubbard Burdick, a daughter of Robert Burdick and Ruth Hubbard. So I snapped these photos showing the front and back of this large stone which marks the burial site of Hubbard S. Burdick, his wife, and four Burdick children who died young.

Although not in my direct line, Hubbard S. Burdick is said to be also a descendant of my eighth great-grandparents.

Greenwood Cemetery is located in Bloomingdale, DuPage County, Illinois (T40N, R10E, S14, SW quarter of NW quarter). According to the Illinois State Genealogical Society's Cemetery Location list for Dupage County, it's also known as Bloomingdale, German, St. Paul Evergreen Memorial, Evergreen, St. Paul's, or English Cemetery. Nothing confusing about that, huh?

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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