Family Legend

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 – 2019

I always wondered about my family’s naming patterns. Some families name their children in a certain sequence, honoring grandparents, aunts and uncles, my family sporadically sprinkles family names. My Maternal grandfather, Michael Martin was the first child of William and Teresa (Fitzgerald) Scieszinski, born January 1905. Michael is a family name on both sides, also the name of his maternal Grandfather. Martin, was the name of his paternal great grandfather. Piecing together family history is much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, the edges are clean, however, the middle gets muddy.

Stories were told that my Grandfather’s paternal great-grandfather, Martin Ciskey, was buried alive in a well accident, date unknown. As I pieced together family history documents, my grandfather’s paternal great-grandmother, Catherine Augusta (Barks) Ciskey is listed as a widowed, head of household in the 1880 federal census. She is living with her sons August and Michael, his wife Kate, and their 2-year-old daughter Mary. At that point I know Martin died before 1880. Catherine Augusta is also listed in the 1885 Iowa state census, still living with her two sons and now three grandchildren. (Her oldest son Michael would die of Typhoid Fever in August of 1885 at the age of 36, leaving a widow Catherine (Kate) age 26 and 4 children.)

Known Timeline Martin Ciskey

  • 1848 – birth son Michael (Ciska) in France (location per 1880 Census)
  • 1853 Feb. 6 – birth daughter Mary in Germany
  • 1855 Feb. – birth son Augustus in France or Germany ( Per multiple Census records.)
  • abt 1858 Immigration – lived in Ohio, Indiana & Illinois before settling in Iowa.
  • 1870 Feb. 5 – Rock Island, IL daughter Mary married Anistasius Scieszinski
  • 1870 Aug. 15 – daughter Mary listed in Federal Census in Rock Island, IL with husband Anistasius. Martin not listed.
  • 1870 Aug. 20 Wayne, Township, Monroe County Federal Census, Martin not listed.
  • 1871 daughter Mary, her husband Anistasius and newborn son Frank (born Jan 7, 1871 in Rock Island, IL.) move to Wayne Township, Monroe County, Iowa.
  • 1875 Dec. 22 – Monroe County Iowa, son Michael married Catherine Cullinan, daughter of Pierce & Martha (Donnelly) -married Aug. 14, 1854 in Jackson County, Ohio, living in Monroe County, IA for 1870 Aug. 20 Census)
  • 1880 Federal Census Wayne Township, Monroe County, Iowa – wife Cathirine Augusta Barks listed as widow, living with sons, daughter in law and granddaughter, Mary.

Newspapers would provide the clue as to when Martin died; I’m lucky that I have my cousin Deb, who scans old Iowa newspapers for family clues!

Iowa Voter, Knoxville, IA – November 17, 1870
From the same paper (The Albia Union, last Thursday) we learn that on the 5th Inst. an old German named Cisky, three miles north of Melrose, Monroe County, was buried alive by the caving in of a well while he was at work in it. He died before he could be extricated.

Tama County Republican, November 24, 1870, ALL OVER IOWA
On the 5th inst a well in Wayne township, Monroe county, caved in on the owner, a German named Cisky, and buried him alive. Of course, he was dead when rescued. –We learn from the Union.

Dubuque Daily Times, Sunday, Nov 13, 1870
A German named Cisky, in Monroe County, had just finished a well, forty feet deep, on the 5th inst. He was taking out the temporary wooden curb and stoning up the wall, commencing at the bottom, when a portion of the curb fell in, letting three or four feet of clay, with the boards, fall nearly twenty feet upon him, covering him entirely up. He called for his son for help, and his son went down the rope but could not relieve him. When help arrived, the clay was falling in at a frightful rate, and the young man was raised and curbing put in. The old man lived for two hours, and then could be heard to breathe no more. The work progressed from noon to eight o’clock in the evening, when the body was found and drawn out of the clay, a horrible sight, and carried in and laid upon the door of his nice new house, just built.

The Jackson Sentinel; Maquoketa, Thursday, November 24, 1870                                     A correspondent of the Albia Union says, that “Saturday, Nov. 5th, a Dutchman by the name of Cisky, living three miles north of Melrose, Monroe county, had an open well thirty-nine feet deep, which had been caving in some during the heavy rains while he was digging , and he had put in a temporary curb. On Saturday morning he went down and commenced the wall, and had laid one round of stone, when the curb gave way, letting three or four feet of clay, with the boards fall near twenty feet upon him, covering him entirely up. He called to his son for help, and his son went down the rope, but could not relieve him. When help arrived, clay was falling in at a fearful rate, and the young man was raised and curb put in. The old man lived two hours and then we could hear him breathe no more. The work progressed from noon until 8 o’clock in the evening. When the body was found by Mr. Pierce Cullinan, and just about the time he found him, there was a chunk of clay fell on him and knocked him down, so he tied a rope around under the arms of the corpse and drew him out of the clay. Then Mr. Cullinan was raised, and then the corpse came dangling out, a horrible sight, and was carried in and laid upon the floor of his new house, just built.

Anistasia and Mary Ciskey Scieszinski
Anistasia & Mary Ciskey Scieszinski Dec. 1929

The Albia Union-Republican, Thursday, February 6, 1941
Scieszinski Couple Celebrate Seventy-First Anniversary
Melrose Pair Still Hale and Hearty
Mr. and Mrs. A. Scieszinski are celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary today at their home in Melrose. They have lived in Melrose for the last 16 years and in Monroe County for 70 years. Mrs. Scieszinski will observe her 88th birthday tomorrow*. Her husband will be 95 years old May 3.

Neither of the pioneer couple was born in this country. He was born in Poland while his wife’s birthplace is in Germany. She said she was “very much” against Hitler.
After coming to the United States when she was five years old, Mrs. Scieszinski moved to Ohio, Indiana, and then to Illinois with her parents. She was married in Rock Island, Ill., where her husband worked in the coal mines.

In 1871 they took up an 80-acre plot in Wayne Township. This was gradually expanded to a 1,100-acre farm. A log cabin with oak floors provided the first home in this county for the pioneers. It was a one room cabin with a kitchen built on. Only one window was in the house, but it had a pane of glass in it.

Seven children of the couple are living and five are dead. About 40 grandchildren are also living. Oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Scieszinski is Frank, 69, of Melrose. Ed, 49, of Janesville, Wis., is the youngest one. Children of the couple who still remain in Melrose are Frank, Joe, Will and Dan Scieszinski and Mrs. Charles Leonard. A daughter, Mrs. Ed McLamar, lives in Ottumwa. Mr. Scieszinski owns no land now, since he has turned it ever to his sons to farm.
* Mary Frances Ciskey born February 6, 1853

Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk, Reflections on Family History – Family Legend, all rights reserved


Reunion – Generations of Dolls

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 – 2019

ann n andy I
Raggedy Ann & Andy – Generations I & II

Raggedy Ann, a doll with red yarn hair, a triangle nose and a heart that says “I Love You.” I’ll never know if my Maternal Grandmother  had a Raggedy Ann doll as a child, or if the stories were read to her as she grew up on the South Dakota Plains; what I do know is the doll is somewhat of a legacy in my family.

Raggedy Ann was created by author and illustrator Johnny Gruelle. The Raggedy Ann, doll received a patent in 1915, the year my Grandmother was born; published illustrated books followed. More than 150,000 dolls and 2 million books were sold before the Great Depression.

One of my earliest memories was of my Mom sewing my Raggedy Ann doll, when I was about three years old. That would have coincided with McCall’s release of sewing pattern #6941 for the two dolls, Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy. I slept with those dolls; they were well loved over the years. When my daughter was three years old, I sewed the two dolls for her, revised McCall’s pattern # 7131. Her Cabbage Patch Kid was her favorite doll, Raggedy Ann and Andy, family version II, showed little wear. My dolls sit on the shelf of my sewing room; my daughters’ dolls await new adventures with a future generation.

Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk. Reflections on Family History – Reunion – Generations of Dolls, all rights reserved.

Marleen and dolls
Mom,  with her dolls ( no sign of Raggedy Ann)

Out of Place – File Important Documents

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 16- 2019

My Great Grandmother Maggie Jane (Lynn) Boughton would tell stories of traveling by covered wagon through Kansas to Illinois as a child. What stories could her Great Grandmother, Mary Ann (Maupin) Lynn tell of her childhood?

Mary Ann Maupin was born December 17, 1811 in Henry County, Virginia, the second of four children born to Jessie Maupin (1780 – abt 1823) and Susannah Dent (1785 – abt 1825.) Mary Ann’s parents married in Henry County, Virginia on September 2, 1809, Jessie was age 29; Susannah age 22.

During the War of 1812, Mary’s father Jessie enlisted in 1813, at age 33; his occupation was listed as School Master. He was discharged March 21, 1815, in Norfolk, Virginia. Mary would have been a little over 3 years old, her older brother George age 6, her younger sister “Molly” (Elizabeth Ann) almost two years old when their father was discharged from the Army.

Mary Ann’s father, Jessie, is said to have traveled with his older brother Mosias Cyrus Maupin (1760 -1816) and Daniel Boone, through Kentucky and onto Missouri. Jessie requested from the War of 1812 Bounty Board for land in Missouri twice, in 1816 he was awarded land in Arkansas.

In July 1818, Mary Ann’s brother James Henry was born in Cumberland County, Kentucky and their father sold 119 acres of land in Kentucky two months before, on May 10th; it looked as if the family was headed West. On April 23, 1821, Jessie claimed his War of 1812 Land Grant in Arkansas.

Jessie Land Grant War 1812 Arkansas
Jessie Maupin Land Grant – War 1812

After filing for the Land Grant in Arkansas, Jessie has no further records. Researcher Phyllis J. Bauer wrote, in her publication Lynn/Linn Quarterly, April 1986, about family stories of Jessie being shot by an Indian arrow and knocked off a raft while crossing either the Tennessee or Ohio Rivers and died when Mary Ann was 10 years old. That would put her father, Jessie’s death about 1822. Eldest son George would have been age 13, Molly age 9 and Henry age 4. What of their Mother, Susanna (Dent) Maupin; I’ve found no record of her death.

Per Phyllis J. Bauer’s research, Guardianship Papers for the youngest child, James Henry Maupin were drafted in 1833, with Guardianship given to George Maupin, his cousin, son of Jessie’s brother Mosias Maupin. The Guardianship papers were found in the 1863 estate settlement papers of George, following his death in 1862.

Mary’s brother James Henry, age 15 in 1833, grew up with his cousins in Calloway County, Missouri. What became of his siblings in 1833, George, age 24, Mary Ann, age 22, and Molly, age 20? First records found for each were marriage records. George married Amanda Brissey in 1842 in Scott, Illinois. Molly married in May of 1834 to Marshall Belew and Mary Ann married in August 1838, in Greene County, Illinois, the second, or possible third wife to Lewis Francis Lynn. Mary Ann outlived her husband by 27 years, living to be 66 years old. She is buried in the Lynn Cemetery in Calhoun County, Illinois.


Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk. Reflections on Family History – Out of Place- File Important Documents,  all rights reserved

Baker’s Dozen – A Brick Wall

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  – Week 12 & Week 14 – 2019

I’m just a Baker’s Dozen generations away from proving my family’s lineage as a descendent of Isaac & Mary (Norris) Allerton and their daughter, Remember (Allerton) Maverick, passengers on the Mayflower in 1620; thus allowing me membership in the Mayflower Society. I’m just a half a dozen generations away in proving my lineage for the Daughters’ of the American Revolution, (DAR.)

Ironically, the oldest records have been the easiest to prove, as New England kept inordinate vital records, that have survived nearly 400 years. My ancestors of the 1800’s had a spirit for adventure and headed West into the great frontier. I imagine that life was hard, time and distance being an obstacle to record births, marriages and deaths at the county level. (Or perhaps, the ever-changing boundaries of state counties that makes for a genealogical scavenger hunt!)

Jeremy Wyman Rogers (1815-1878) was the first to head West with his wife, Sarah Norton Davis, with  five children, three sons, and two daughters in the mid 1840’s, settling in LaSalle County, Illinois. Perhaps they followed Sarah’s parents, as John and Hepsibeth (Norton) Davis were living in LaSalle County, Illinois in 1840. Sarah’s father, John, died at the age of 61, in 1848 and her mother, Hepsibeth, died September 8, 1850. Sarah died just 13 days later on Sept. 21, 1850, leaving her husband, a new-born son and five other children aged 8 -11.

9 Sarah Norton Davis grave
Sarah Norton Rogers Grave


Sarah N. wife of Jeremy W. Rogers
aged 35 years 11 mos 7 ds
Brower- Hess Cemetery – La Salle County, IL.

Following wife Sarah’s death, Jeremy remarried, widow, Laura (Warriner) Austin in July 16, 1851. They had two sons, and moved to Rogers Township, Ford County, IL. in 1864, where Jeremy was named to the Township Board of Trustees. Jeremy moved to Kansas, perhaps following his eldest son John D, as his Will was probated in Montgomery County, Kansas on Jan. 31,1879. Following his death, his wife Laura moved back to Ford, County, Illinois and lived with her son Herbert Austin.

Jeremy’s father, Thomas, son of Revolutionary War Patriot, Noah Rogers, must be the only lineage of Noah not proven into the DAR, or so it seems! Thomas’ Death certificate proved little additional information, nor does his tombstone. Thomas is my DAR challenge; I have yet to prove that Thomas is indeed the father of Jeremy. I have old family Bible records, that may or may not be acceptable proof for the DAR. I’m off to hunt for Thomas’ will!

Inscribed: THOMAS ROGERS DIED: Apr. 26, 1874, AE.88yrs. 2mos.12 ds.

Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk. Reflections on Family History – Bakers Dozen, a Brick Wall, all rights reserved

I Love to Knit

2019-03-03 13.56.1752 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 7 -2019

As I bound off the sweater that I have been knitting, since November, with no sense of urgency other to get it finished so that I can wear it to knit-night at the local yarn store, I was thinking about my ancestors.

Knitting was taught to me by my Mother, which was taught to her by her Mother, Lucille. Grandma, most likely was taught to knit by her by her Mother, Elizabeth Casey (1885-1971) while living on the South Dakota Frontier in the early 1900’s. Mom and I saw it as a creative outlet; I never saw my Grandmother knitting or sewing, other than mending and she lived until my freshman year in college.

I can only imagine what it would be like to knit for survival, socks to keep little one’s feet warm, sweaters and shawls to keep out the chill in the air, afghans to wrap up in by the fire. I imagine Elizabeth’s mother Sarah Anne Blake (1850-1936,) the first Blake generation born in this country, was taught to knit by her Mother Margaret O’Brien (1830-1891.) Margaret and her husband Patrick (1824-1893) moved their family of three young children from Pennsylvania to Washington Township, Cass County, Iowa when Sarah was six years old. My Great Grandmother Elizabeth was born in Griswold, Iowa.

Did you know that Henry Josiah Griswold, born in 1837, made an important improvement to the circular knitting machine in 1878, allowing the machine to knit ribbing or the cuff of socks? Circular sock knitting became popular in America during WWI when the Red Cross taught novice knitters how to master the circular knitting machine and knit a pair of socks in 40 minutes.

Is it a coincidence that my Great Grandmother was born in Griswold, Iowa and a man named Griswold has historic significance in the history of knitting… I think not!

Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk. Reflections on Family History – I Love to Knit, all rights reserved

Griswold Iowa Central Block

Surprise at the Library

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks –  Weeks 5 & 6 -2019

My first trip to the Allen County Genealogical Library in Ft. Wayne Indiana proved more than I could ask for! The Library was being remodeled, no more call slips, just books upon books arranged by Sir Name or location. I remember going to the section with the Lynn Sir Name, sitting on the floor with a pile of pulled books, (I’m sure a Librarian’s nightmare!) and skimming through to see if this was a book I wanted to dig deeper into. I was captivated by a book with family pictures and to my surprise, there was MY High School Senior Picture staring back at me! I guess this was MY family!

Lew Lynn Linage, Billie Allen Jines, Harlo Press, Detroit,1980 - Library of Congress #80-81323

In the late 1970’s, my Great Grandmother Maggie Jane (Lynn) Boughton, granddaughter of Lewis J. Lynn, had been contacted by the author, her 1st cousin, Billie Allen Jines, a cousin  that she never knew. At that time Maggie was in her mid-80’s and her memory was in decline. She spent time rotating between her son Don’s house in Racine, WI. and her Daughter Clarene’s house in Milton, WI.

Upon further investigation, my Grandmother, Clarene Fern (Boughton) Rogers, gathered information and shared it with her cousin, Billie and it was included in the publication of this book. How did I know it was my Grandmother? My name is spelled in the book the way she spelled my name my whole life, “Tammie.”

I contacted the author Billie, (she would be my 1st cousin 3X removed,) to obtain a copy of the book. Billie wrote back and told me she no longer had copies of the book, however, my Grandmother had received one. By then, both my Grandparents had passed away. Upon further investigation, I found out that the book had been given to my Grandmother’s cousin Dorothy, she still had it and graciously sent it to me.

20181021_173404[8187]I now hold dearly that copy of the book.

See also Blog Post:
MURDER! Published Oct. 21, 2018

Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk. Reflections on Family History – Surprise at the Library, all rights reserved

A Man of Many Names

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Unusual Name – Week 3 – 2019

When I first found the list of family names typed by my grandmother, I wondered if there had been a mistake. She listed my Great-Great Grandfather as Anistasia. I thought that to be a female name; here is his story and the many names he was known by.

A Sceiszinski birth record
Source: Church Records, Par. Dobrcz-Ch-34/1845 (12.05)

Born Anastasius Sciesinski, son of Jan and Marianna (Pawlicka) Sciesinski on May 3, 1845 in Trzeciewiec, Poland, he was the eldest of five children.

Origin of the Name Anastasius

St Anastasius
St. Anastasuis

Anastasiusis – Greek/Latin, meaning Resurrection or Rebirth. Was he named after Pope Anastasius?

From 1880-2017, less than five people per year have been born with the name Anastasius. The oldest recorded birth in the United States for the name Anastasius, is on March 18,1886.

Arrival to America

Anistatia arrival to us 1864
Year: 1864; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 240; Line: 22; List Number: 426

Name Anast Szeszinsky
Arrival Date 23 May 1864
Birth Date abt 1845
Age 19
Gender Male
Ethnicity/ Nationality Prussian
Place of Origin Prussia
Port of Departure Bremen, Germany
Destination United States of America
Port of Arrival New York, New York
Ship Name Elise and Mathilde
Search Ship Database Elise and Mathilde
Anast Szeszinsky – May 1864 – New York, New York Bremen, Germany Bremen, Germany – Male – Elise and Mathilde

From New York to Illinois

Family stories tell that he worked in stables in New York, then may have travelled to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. (There are about five years unaccounted for, from his arrival until his marriage in Illinois) In February 1870 he married Mary Ciskey, in Rock Island Illinois. I’ve been told original records were destroyed in a courthouse fire.

a n mary scieszinski marriage record

He is listed as Nostie Sechinza, on August 15th, in the 1870 Federal Census in Coal Valley, Rock Island, Illinois, working in a coal mine. They moved to Monroe County, Iowa in 1871, following the birth of their first son Frank in January. (It is assumed they moved to help Mary’s Mother, Catherine and her brothers Michael and Augustus Ciskey with their farm following the tragic death of Mary’s father Martin, in November of 1870.)

To Monroe County Iowa

Church Records in Monroe Country Iowa, of his children’s baptisms show his name as A. and Augustus Scieszinski.

St. Patrick’s Georgetown:
• Scieszinski, Michael John Oct. 27, 1872; child of A. Scieszinski & Mary Ann Siski; born Oct. 13, 1872; Sponsors: Michael Siski & Ellen Colgan; P. F. Harrison, Priest.

St Patrick’s, Melrose: 

• Scieszinski, Ann February 17, 1875 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary
• Scieszinski, Joseph Peter September 7, 1876 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary
• Scieszinski, William John June 5, 1879 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary (Note his delayed birth record reflects both John and Sylvester as his middle name)
• Scieszinski, Martin Paul October 22, 1881 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary
• Scieszinski, John Michael February 6, 1884 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary
• Scieszinski, Mary Catherine April 17, 1886 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary
• Scieszinski, Elizabeth Agnus September 30, 1888 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary
• Scieszinski, Dan James August 25, 1892 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary
• Scieszinski, Edward Richard November 28, 1895 Scieszinski, Augustus Cisky, Mary

A. Scieszinski, listed as a Farmer, in Section 21, of East Melrose, in the Biography section, page 503, The History of Monroe County Iowa, by Western Historical Company, Published in 1878, Chicago.

History of Monroe Co 1878

Federal and State Census – Monroe County Iowa

The Federal Census,  July 15,1880, it is difficult to read the first name he is using.

a n mary sceiszinski fed census 1880

In the 1885 Iowa State Census he is Anastasius Scieszinski

a n mary scieszinski 1885 iowa state census

The 1900 Federal Census taken on June 15, in Wayne Township, has him listed as Nostic Scieszinski. (Notice how world history/ geography changed, as they now list that they are from Germany, not Prussia, as listed in 1880 census.)

a n mary 1900 fed census.png

The 1905 Iowa State Census, (line 237,) lists him as Anastatius Scieszinski, (their daughter Annie, line 234, with her husband Michael Judge on the next farm.)

a n mary 1905 iowa state census.png

1910, April 15th Federal Census, he is A. Scieszinski

a n mary 1910 fed census

1915 Iowa State Census he is listed as A. Scieszinski

a n mary 1915 iowa state census.png

1920 – June 20th Federal Census listed as A. Scieszinski

a n mary 1920 fed census

1925 Iowa State Census – Listed as August Scieszinski

a n mary 1925 iowa state census.png

1930 Federal Census – April 2nd – Jackson Township, Monroe County. He is listed as Anastasia Scieszinski. (World History/Geography allows him back to being born in Poland.)

a n mary 1930 fed census

a n mary 1939
A and Mary Scieszinski Sept. 25, 1939 – Pioneer Days in Albia, Iowa – Oldest Married Couple
a scieszinksi obit
Monroe County News July 14, 1941, Albia, Monroe County, Iowa

My Great-Great Grandfather was a man of many names. Born Anastasius, known as Nostic, Augustus, August and simply A., which is what his Granddaughter’s Helen and Grace remembered. No children would be named after him; one Grandson was given his middle name.

a n mary scieszinksi gravestone

He Left a Legacy

The 1902 Wayne Township Plat Map has him listed as several names:
Sections 15 &16 as A. Scieszinski
Section 21 as Anastasius and August Scieszinski
Section 28 as A. Scieszinski

wayne twnshp Plat Map 1902
Wayne Township, Monroe Co. Iowa Plat Map 1902

His land legacy will have a new chapter, as the land of his son William, in Sections 15 and 21, land that was once his fathers, will soon be auctioned off.

A Family Farm for 148 years

Much Thanks to cousins Deb & Jane who provided items for this blog post.

Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk. Reflections on Family History – A Man of Many Names, all rights reserved