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Norwegian Lutheran Children's Home in Chicago, Illinois, US

Replies: 28

Re: Norwegian Lutheran Children's Home in Chicago, Illinois, US

Posted: 15 Feb 2012 4:05AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Westboy, Westby, Swanson, Johnson, Johnsen, Hansen, Olsen, Peterson, Pederson
While I realize that you all stopped posting here over a year ago, I feel that I just must say something. Get that you are saying that your great-grandfather may have "twisted" his age a bit because he was marrying an older woman, but, what you're not seeming to understand here, is, he would have had to have been adding almost 20 years to his age!

Honestly...and I've been doing tons of research on my own family members for many, many years now...it can be very frustrating, at times, because it just so happens that some surnames (lastnames), as well as given names (first names) can be very common, unfortunately. This can make it very difficult to sort it all out, at times. Which is why I have so many records saved at the moment, and it will take me months to get through them all and weed out the ones that do not apply. But, it's hard not to save some of them, even if they are very questionable, as you do not want to miss anything, or discount anything until you're pretty sure. But, if you think it's hard to find someone named "Westby/Westboy," try looking for a Swanson or Johnson! Ugh. Not only are they extremely common names, as are Hansen, Olsen, Peterson/Pederson, etc. Then, to make it even harder, a very common name (back then) like Arthur, or Harold, or Clarence, or Ruth...or William.

Keep this in mind, as someone already pointed out, on some of the census data, the first issue with names is that it seems that when a census-taker took down the information, they often spelled the names as they thought they should be spelled, I'm guessing, as through the decades, the same person's/family's name spelling could change several times! There are many variations on spellings of names, depending on where exactly they originated, though even if they originated in the same location, region, or country, they could still have 3 - 5 different variations of what "sounds" like the same name. That is why it is often best, when searching the records, to make sure you click under the field where you put the lastname, where it says something like "Restrict to exact..." and then click to also include results under "soundex" and "phonetic." This will add many, many more results in your search, and some you may wonder "why is this coming up?" but, trust me when I say, you will be a lot more successful in your search! Also, I believe that it may have, at times, been hard for a census-taker to understand the resident they were getting the information from, as they may not have spoken any english, at all, or may have spoken with very thick accents.

Another issue/problem with the Census data, is that, while I totally appreciate all of the work that they have done and are doing on this site, way too often whomever is doing the job of inputting the data (the data entry people) just do not seem to be taking the time to clearly read the handwritten data on the reports and input the correct spellings, or even the correct ages, at times. On one report, they listed my grandmother, who was 8 months old at the time, and where the census actually read under the age column "8/12" - for 8 of 12 months, since she was not even a year old yet, as being 68 years old, or something, and as being the mother-in-law or something to that effect. Seriously, and, again, I totally appreciate what they are doing, but, sometimes, if you just LOOK at the handwritten data, closely, if when it might be a little messy, the correct information can be deciphered.

One more thing to consider, very, very often, when someone came into this country they changed either the spelling of their names, or changed their lastnames entirely, by choice. I've been told that when they would reach Ellis Island, at times they would only let in so many of each nationality, or the origin from which they came, maybe to keep some sort of balance? I don't know. But, for this reason, people wanting to make it into this country, after traveling all that way, would change their names and where they came from. Apparently, from what I was told, one of my great-great-grandfathers changed his lastname from Pedersen to Stolnack! Go figure. It can make things even more difficult. :-/

As for the Norwegian Lutheran Children's Home, it seems that my great-grandmother's siblings were staying there for a time (a short time, I think), after their mother died, and what I cannot figure out is WHY my great-grandmother wasn't there at the same time. She was 14 during the 1910 Census, so, I wonder if that made her old enough to stay at home by herself, or what? Either way, it seems that eventually my great-great-grandfather got his children back.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
SherylChudnow... 15 Feb 2012 11:05AM GMT 
bichon_nancy 3 Apr 2012 10:30PM GMT 
SherylChudnow... 4 Jun 2012 7:53AM GMT 
ABritt40 18 May 2013 3:58PM GMT 
SherylChudnow... 18 May 2013 6:53PM GMT 
ABritt40 2 Jun 2013 3:39PM GMT 
bichon_nancy 3 Jun 2013 12:49AM GMT 
ABritt40 3 Jun 2013 1:48AM GMT 
bichon_nancy 3 Jun 2013 2:39AM GMT 
ABritt40 3 Jun 2013 2:32PM GMT 
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