Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ellis Island - Part Two

Those with visible health problems or diseases were sent home or held in the island's hospital facilities for long periods of time. Then they were asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money they carried with them. Generally those immigrants who were approved spent from two to five hours at Ellis Island. However more than three thousand would-be immigrants died on Ellis Island while being held in the hospital facilities. Some unskilled workers were rejected outright because they were considered "likely to become a public charge." About 2 percent were denied admission to the U.S. and sent back to their countries of origin for reasons such as chronic contagious disease, criminal background, or insanity. Ellis Island was sometimes known as "The Island of Tears" or "Heartbreak Island" because of those 2% who were not admitted after the long transatlantic voyage.

Writer Louis Adamic came to America from Slovenia in southeastern Europe in 1913. Adamic described the night he spent on Ellis Island. He and many other immigrants slept on bunk beds in a huge hall. Lacking a warm blanket, the young man "shivered, sleepless, all night, listening to snores" and dreams "in perhaps a dozen different languages". The facility was so large that the dining room could seat 1,000 people.

During World War I, the German sabotage of the Black Tom Wharf ammunition depot damaged buildings on Ellis Island. The repairs included the current barrel-vaulted ceiling of the Main Hall. During the war, Ellis Island was used to intern German merchant mariners and enemy aliens as well as a processing center for returning sick and wounded U.S. soldiers. Ellis Island still managed to process tens of thousands of immigrants a year during this time, but much fewer than the hundreds of thousands a year who arrived before the war. After the war immigration rapidly returned to earlier levels.

Mass processing of immigrants at Ellis Island ended in 1924 after the Immigration Act of 1924 greatly restricted immigration and allowed processing at overseas embassies. After this time Ellis Island became primarily a detention and deportation processing center. During and immediately following World War II, Ellis Island served as Coast Guard training base and as an internment camp for enemy aliens - American civilians or immigrants detained for fear of spying, sabotage, etc. Some 7,000 Germans, Italians and Japanese would be detained at Ellis Island.

The Internal Security Act of 1950 barred members of Communist or Fascist organizations from immigrating to the U.S. Ellis Island saw detention peak at 1,500 but by 1952, after changes to immigration law and policies, only 30 detainees were present. In November 1954, Ellis Island was closed and unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the site began until its landmark status was established.

As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, Ellis Island, along with Statue of Liberty, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

Today Ellis Island houses a museum reachable by ferry from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey and from the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. The Statue of Liberty, sometimes thought to be on Ellis Island because of its symbolism as a welcome to immigrants, is actually on nearby Liberty Island, which is about 1/2 mile to the south. There is also ferry service between the two islands.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ellis Island - Part One

Ellis Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor, is the location of what was from January 1, 1892, until November 12, 1954 the facility that replaced the state-run Castle Garden Immigration Depot (1855–1890) in Manhattan. It is owned by the Federal government and is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, under the jurisdiction of the US National Park Service. Ellis Island was also the subject of a border dispute between the states of New York and New Jersey (see below). It is situated predominantly in Jersey City, New Jersey, although a small portion of its territory falls within neighboring New York City.

Originally called Little Oyster Island, Ellis Island acquired its name from Samuel Ellis, a colonial New Yorker, possibly from Wales.

It was to be sold by Samuel Ellis, no. 1, Greenwich Street, at the north river near the Jewish Market, That pleasant situated Island called Oyster Island, lying in New Bay, near Powle's Hook, together with all its improvements which are considerable; also, two lots of ground, one at the lower end of Queen street, joining Luke's wharf, the other in Greenwich street, between Petition and Dey streets, and a parcel of spars for masts, yards, brooms, bowsprits, & c. and a parcel of timber fit for pumps and buildings of docks; and a few barrels of excellent shad and herrings, and others of an inferior quality fit for shipping; and a few thousand of red herring of his own curing, that he will warrant to keep good in carrying to any part of the world, and a quantity of twine which he sell very low, which is the best sort of twine, for tyke nets. Also a large Pleasure Sleigh, almost new.

The Ellis Island Immigrant Station was designed by architects Edward Lippincott Tilton and William Alciphron Boring. They received a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition for the building's design. The architecture competition was the second under the Tarsney Act, which had permitted private architects rather than government architects in the Office of the Supervising Architect to design federal buildings. The federal immigration station opened on January 1, 1892 and was closed on November 12, 1954, but not before 12 million immigrants were inspected there by the US Bureau of Immigration (Immigration and Naturalization Service). In the 35 years before Ellis Island opened, over 8 million immigrants had been processed locally by New York State officials at Castle Garden Immigration Depot in Manhattan. 1907 was the peak year for immigration at Ellis Island with 1,004,756 immigrants processed. The all-time daily high also occurred this year on April 17, which saw a total of 11,747 immigrants arrive.

Monday, December 21, 2009

UCLA Cemetery Project Honored

UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and research associate Dean Goodman have won the Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for high-tech mapping efforts at the Marquez Family Cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the Cotsen team early this year identified 15 possible gravesites, as well as a possible mass burial pit.

The results are being used by the descendants of Francisco Marquez, the Mexican co holder of the Rancho Boca de Santa Monica land grant, to develop a restoration plan for the site.

In 2000, the city of Los Angeles named the cemetery a historical-cultural monument and declared it an “extremely historic” landmark for representing the region’s early ranch families.

By Martha Groves, The Los Angels Times, December 18, 2009, Main Section, page A19.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Google Books - A Game Changer

These are exciting times in family research for all of us. There are two game changers that are worth talking about. One is DNA testing and the other is Google Books. Today I am going to talk about Google Books.

Google Book Search is a service from Google that searches the full text of books that Google scans, converts to text using optical character recognition, and stores in its digital database. The service was formerly known as Google Print when it was introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2004. When relevant to a user's keyword search, up to three results from the Google Book Search index are displayed above search results in the Google Web Search service ( A user may also search just for books at the dedicated Google Book Search service. Clicking a result from Google Book Search opens an interface in which the user may view pages from the book as well as content-related advertisements and links to the publisher's website and booksellers. Through a variety of access limitations and security measures, some based on user-tracking, Google limits the number of viewable pages and attempts to prevent page printing and text copying of material under copyright.

The Google Book Search database continues to grow. Google Book Search allows public-domain works and other out-of-copyright material to be downloaded in PDF format. For users outside the United States, though, Google must be sure that the work in question is indeed out of copyright under local laws. According to a member of the Google Book Search Support Team, "Since whether a book is in the public domain can often be a tricky legal question, we err on the side of caution and display at most a few snippets until we have determined that the book has entered the public domain.”

Many of the books are scanned using the Elphel 323 camera at a rate of 1,000 pages per hour. The initiative has been hailed for its potential to offer unprecedented access to what may become the largest online corpus of human knowledge and promoting the democratization of knowledge but it has also been criticized for potential copyright violations.

Here is a link to Google Books:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DNA Testing - A Game Changer

These are exciting times in family research for all of us. There are two game changers that are worth talking about. One is DNA testing and the other is Google Books. Today I am going to talk about DNA.

DNA is an abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid. The shape of DNA is a double helix and all living things are made up of DNA. Friedrich Miescher first isolated DNA in 1869. The only cells in the human body that do not contain DNA are red blood cells. If the entire DNA in the human body were unwound, it would reach to the moon and back six thousand times. A single cell can contain six to nine feet of DNA. All humans share about ninety-nine percent of the same DNA sequence. It’s the remaining one tenth of a percent that makes us each unique. We all share a considerable amount of DNA with many other species. Our DNA is ninety-eight percent the same as chimpanzees’ and even fifty percent the same as bananas!

DNA makes up our genes. The environment can affect DNA and as a result, environmental factors may result in certain genes expressing or not expressing themselves. In fact, it’s believed that the majority of our genes do not express themselves. It takes about eight hours for a cell to copy its DNA. This copy process must occur before cells divide. Each inch of DNA can store twenty-five gigabytes of information. An entire sequence of DNA is known as a genome. A complete map of the human genome was finished in 2003. Mutations are changes in the DNA sequence and can be caused by exposure to things such as radiation or chemicals. These mutations may lead to an increased risk of disease including cancer. All of DNA’s functions depend on proteins.

DNA testing can also help determine a person’s risk for certain genetic diseases. Paternity tests make use of DNA to determine if a father and child’s DNA make-up are sufficiently similar. Similar tests are available to identify sibling or grandparent relationships. Modern-day forensics also relies heavily on DNA testing to determine if someone was present at a crime scene. It can also help to identify victims of crimes or accidents.

The most reliable DNA testing service is

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

William Marsh Last Two Letters from Ommaney Bay

This is the second poster of Lt. William Marsh who died on January 4, 1945.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Guy William Marsh 1897-1988

Guy William Marsh was born September 18, 1897 at Farmington and Homer Townships, Day County, South Dakota. His parents were Leon Marsh and Trina Johnson. In the 1920 U. S. Census, Guy was living as a boarder at Hickman, Marshall County, South Dakota working with the Charles Tompkins family. Guy William Marsh was married on February 3, 1921 to Lillie V. Carlson, she was born in Sweden. Guy moved to Yakima from Seattle in 1978, after retiring from 50 years as a barber. He was a member of the Central Lutheran Church in Yakima. Guy died on Wednesday, April 13, 1988 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Yakima, Yakima County, Washington. Survivors include a son, Guy William Marsh of Bellevue, a daughter Verlaine Marsh Fontes of Yakima, seven grandchildren. He was preceded on death by his wife Lily. He lived for more that 90 years.

My sources are the 1900 U. S. Census, South Dakota, Day County and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leon Marsh Family

Leon Marsh is the brother of Arthur Marsh, they were both born in Broome County, New York. Leon was born January 1859 and married Trina (called Tina) Johnson. She was born October 1864 in Norway. Tina immigrated to the USA in 1888 and they were married in 1890. They had one son Guy Marsh.

My sources are the 1900 U. S. Census, South Dakota, Day County

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Julian Skalski 1915-1947

Julian J. Skalski was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, November 2, 1915, the second son of Stanslaw and Michalina Skalski. Julian graduated from Northeast High School and Drexel Institute of Technology before entering the U. S. Army during World War II. He rose to the rank of Master Sergeant and was in a Army B-17 flying over Chesapeake Bay on a bomb test run. The test bomb was released from the airplane at about 1,000 feet an had fallen about 65 to 70 feet from the plane when it prematurely exploded, ripping the airplane severely. Lt. Whitney gave the bail out signal and one man parachuted from the plane. It will never be known why Sgt. Skalski and eight other men never jumped from the B-17. Sgt. Skalski died on Monday, September 15, 1947 leaving behind his wife Bernice Skalski and two sons.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Friday, October 30, 2009

Arthur Jerome Marsh & Lillian Rose Whitfield

This is the first look at the Arthur Marsh and Lillian Whitfield poster that I am working on. If you look in the upper right hand corner of the photo, you will see Vere Preston Marsh.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus Marsh

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Irving Arctander Lange Poster

This is the first look at the Irving Lange poster. Irving is the brother of Earl Lange, immigrants from Norway.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Earl Lange and Ruth Finnerud Poster

Here is the first look of the Earl Lange and Ruth Finnerud poster that I made. I will be making an Irving Lange poster next week and will ship both of them out together.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Monday, September 28, 2009

William Marsh & Amelia Earhart Poster

This is the famous William Marsh and Amelia Earhart poster that I recently completed. I took William and Amelia back eight generations, to a common link, Joseph Jenks. Most of my information came from Ancestry, Military Service Records and death certificates. Other information I had in my database and from the Internet.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lt.jg William Marsh USNR 1921-1945

This is the second to the last letter that William Marsh wrote home.

Dec 18, 1944, South Pacific

Dear Mom,

Suppose you were wondering what happened to that Navy son. I know it has been awhile since I last wrote, but I am sure you know why. I could not have left the ship even if I had found time to write.

Expect you are in California now. Will you be staying for Christmas, or back to Washington and when do you expect to be leaving for home?

Here it is only seven more days until Christmas. I don’t believe I have given it a thought in the past two weeks. Just can’t realize that it is winter back home.

I am really looking forward to receiving a few letters, as I haven’t had word from you or anyone else for a least a month. Don’t know when this letter will go off either.

Where are Bob and John Sevenich now? Did Bob get back to the states and is John still in England?

Haven’t heard from John Marsh in a long time. Is he still working in Calumet or has he pulled out for Virginia? I hope the later.

Well, mom, it’s hard to find things to write about when no mail comes in and the censor rules forbid anything about our operation or ship life.

By the time you get this it will be 1945. I hope you had a swell Christmas and New Year and hope I can spend next years holiday season at home.

Write soon, Bill

This is the first telegram that Genevieve Marsh received about her missing son William Marsh.



My Sources are from my database and with information from cousins in Oregon and Florida.
Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Albert Jacob Lange 1856-1933

Albert Jacob Lange I was born on November 10, 1856 in Oslo, Norway, was christened on November 24, 1856, and was due for confirmation in Old Aker Church by Vicar Dop on October 6, 1872. He attended Nissen’s and later Gjertsen’s Schools, as he was supposed to study for his examination. However, he quit before he graduated and went to work at the bookshop. In 1878, he established a secondhand bookshop in Christiania and expanded it to also be a “normal” bookshop in 1880. From 1888 to 1891, he worked in the office of his relative, grocer Hans Jensen in Homansby, and was hired on June 1, 1891 as commercial manager of “Nora Brewery” and held this position until he resigned in 1893. From 1893 to 1895 he was the commissar for a couple of out of town breweries. Thereafter, he was hired on July 11, 1895 as conservator in the “Society for the Building of Eidsvold’s Equipment”, - a business he had established himself the same year together with two other gentlemen. When the position as janitor became vacant on August 8, 1896, as Johan Haslum died, he took over this job (permanently hired on January 15, 1898). He held both positions until June 30, 1916, when the state took over the national historical collections in the Eldsvold building on May 17, 1914 and Lange was hired as conservator and manager of “Eidsvoldmindet” from July 1 1916. In 1903 he founded the society “Broderfolkenes vel”. He was on lecture tours in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. On June 22 1899 the Portuguese order “San Tiago” appointed him ”Cavaleiro” with chain. He published some historical works and was co-author for the jubilee work Eidsvold 1814 that was published in 1914. He died on October 30, 1922 and was buried on November 4, 1922. A great number of people participated in his funeral in Christiania. (Note: Albert J. Lange was the publisher of the first and second editions of the Lange Slektebok.)

Albert Jacob Lange I was married the first time in the Castle Chapel in Christiania by J. C. Heuch on September 15, 1883 to Karin Karoline Charlotte Arctander who was born in Skien, Norway on August 6, 1857 and who was the daughter of secondary school teacher August Hieronimus Arctander (1818 to 1878) and Carolina Andrietta Rosamunda Ahlsell (1832 to 1911). Albert and Karin were separated on December 6, 1909. She died on March 13, 1933. They had five children.

Albert Jacob Lange I was married the second time in Old Gamle Aker Church by Father Hanssen on June 1, 1912 to Herdis Lampe who was born in Laksevaag, Bergen, Norway on January 11, 1888. She was the daughter of steamship captain Carl Henrik Lampe (born in 1846) and Thora Heltberg (1859 to 1897). Herdis passed away in 1966. They had two children.

My Sources are from my database, Lange Book 1917, birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Monday, September 21, 2009

Three Marsh Kids in Minnesota 1926

This is one the earliest pictures that I can find of John Preston Marsh born in 1917, William Marsh born in 1921 and Mary Jeanne Marsh born in 1922 They are at a lake enjoying the afternoon as so many kids do during the summer months. There are many lakes around Virginia, Minnesota and it’s hard to tell which lake they are enjoying themselves. I feel that this picture was taken in 1926, one year after their father, Vere Preston Marsh passed away.

My Sources are from my database and with information from cousins in Oregon and Florida.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lt.jg William Marsh USNR 1921-1945

I know that I have written about William Marsh before, but I wanted to share with you this last letter that William Marsh wrote to his mother on Christmas Day 1944 and the telegram that was received by Genevieve Marsh in 1945.

December 25, 1944

Christmas Morning

Dear Mom,

Feeling a little homesick this morning and thought it might help if I write a letter or two home. It’s only 0930 a.m. but I have been listening to Christmas carols most of the morning. The ship picks up some radio stations on short wave and most all of them have a Christmas program of some sort.

Received mail yesterday evening: the first in over a month. I was certainly surprised to learn of Mr. Mahoney’s death. From the date on your letter it must have happened about the 20th of November 1944.

Margy Mahoney must be pretty broken up as I haven’t received any letters from her, but I did receive a Christmas box that was mailed real early. I haven’t written her yet, as I have been hoping for a letter from her. I must write today or tomorrow even if I don’t get one. I wish I knew what to tell her, even thought it has been over a month since he passed away. I do not like to pass on too much advice as I’m too far away from her, and everything else. I wish I could help some way though. I have often thought of asking her to marry me on my next leave. I can’t bring myself to do it though, as things are really going to be unsettled after the war. I don’t think I’m going to be able to settle down in one place after this is all over. I have been jumping about too much and have become awfully restless.

I would think it a good thing if Margy went out West with Fran for a while though. She would be able to get away from Virginia for a while and it would help her forget. She would also meet a new bunch of friends and see how the West Coast gets along.

Didn’t expect Margy to send me a Christmas package, but I received it yesterday and everyone of the boys helped open the package. She had everything in it, all wrapped in separate little Christmas paper. She sent: Cuticura, Soap, a Dictionary, several kinds of smoking tobacco, Noxzema Cream, Shaving Cream, cigarette lighter, razor blades, tobacco pouch, a good pipe and cleaners and last but not least 3 pair of black socks. She surely boosted my moral coming on Christmas Eve with all those things. Just like Santa Claus.

I received two letters from you yesterday Mom and they helped a lot on the news, but you didn’t say anything about receiving the money order for you and Marge. I hope you got it in time. Let me know what you bought her.

Not being able to send off any mail for the past month I couldn’t wish you a Happy Birthday, but I did remember it once. I hope you had a good time in San Francisco, as I am sure Mary Jean helped you celebrate. Hope I can be with you on the next forty-five.

I will send this letter to Minnesota, as you will probably be home in the first week in January.

Hope you have a very Happy New Year,

Love as always, Bill


Genevieve Marsh received the first telegram stating that her son was missing in action on February 6, 1945. She received the final telegram on August 13, 1945. Here is what it said:



My Sources are from my database, birth, and death certificates and Military Service Records along with information from cousins in Oregon and Florida.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dorothy Mae Lange Marsh 1923

Dorothy Mae Lange was born April 16, 1923 in Calumet, Itasca, Minnesota. Dorothy was the youngest child of Earl Lange and Ruth Finnerud, who were immigrants from Norway. She was a graduate of Greenway High School in Coleraine and worked for Dr. O. C. Braun in the early years. She married John Preston Marsh June 22, 1946 in Nashwauk, Itasca, Minnesota. They lived in Splithand Township, Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota, from 1947 to 1961. In 1961 the Marsh family moved to Fort Pierce, St. Lucie, Florida. Dorothy was looking for something to do and purchased a small pet shop. Happyland Pet Shop sold household pets, as well as exotic animals from South America, such as monkeys, baby skunks, lizards, turtles and snakes. The pet shop prospered and had to move to a large location. John Marsh left Vaughn & Wright Auto Parts in 1966 to join his wife in the pet shop business. The pet shop soon became a complete family business, with all of the children working at the store after school and loving it. Dorothy clipped and groomed dogs in the back of the shop. She and her family also enjoyed raising Miniature Schnauzers and Irish Terriers. John and Dorothy Marsh retired from the pet shop business in 1983 and, much to the disappointment of their children, moved to Mena, Polk, Arkansas, in 1983. In her retirement Dorothy made a number of lovely quilts for her family, all hand pieced and hand quilted. She was known for her expert bread and bun making, including her famous Norwegian Christmas Bread. Dorothy still has a love for animals, especially dogs. Dorothy currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky near her daughter Patricia.

Dorothy Lange was married to John Preston Marsh. He was born August 24, 1917 in International Falls, Minnesota, the oldest son of Vere Preston Marsh and Genevive Anne DeNoble. John loved to hunt and fish in Minnesota until he had a hunting accident with his right hand in 1933. John Preston Marsh passed away on April 1, 2000 in Mena, Polk, Arkansas.

My Sources are from my database birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Erling (Bud) Albert Lange 1921-1995

Erling Albert Lange (called Bud) was born May 26, 1921 in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. He was a lifelong resident of the Grand Rapids area. He attended school in the Greenway School District and graduated as valedictorian of the Greenway High School Class of 1939. He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was an Army veteran of World War II serving in Europe with the 66th Armored Infantry (under General Patton) and was awarded the Purple Heart. He worked for several years at Itasca Tire in Grand Rapids and was co-owner and operator of Itasca TV and Appliance for many years. He also worked for Dairyland Electric in Grand Rapids, retiring in 1987. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Grand Rapids. He died Wednesday, May 10, 1995, at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota.

Bud Lange was married the first time to Dolores Margaret Kretsch, she was born December 26, 1925 in New Ulm, Minnesota. They were married about 1944 in Grand Rapids, Itasca Minnesota, and they were divorced in 1950.

Many of the grandkids have fond memories of Bud and his famous House Boat the Suzie-Q. He would take us fishing, on great picnics, camping and swimming during the summer months. It was on one of these trips in June 1965 when there was a terrible boating accident and five people drowned on Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. The accident took the lives of George Lange, his wife Wanda and son Robert. Also Calvin Lange and his girlfriend Joyce Ottison drowned in this horrible accident.

Bud Lange was married the second time to Evie (called Evelyn) Schack, she was born February 6, 1948 in Grand Rapids, Itasca Minnesota. She graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1966 and moved to Minneapolis immediately thereafter, but returned to the small town she loved after only a couple of years. She met Bud when she was a waitress at Soder's Diner, and they married in January 1971. After several years as a waitress, Evie transitioned into office work, starting as a secretary. She and Bud divorced in 1980, and she moved to Washington, in 1984. She became an accountant, which she pursues today.

She married Ted in 1988, and they currently live in the state of Washington, where they enjoy all the benefits of living at the coast in a small, quiet community, not unlike Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota.

My Sources are from my database, birth, marriage, and death certificates and information from several cousins.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Paul Franklin Lange 1920-1988

Paul Franklin Lange was born on January 12, 1920 in the family home south of Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. He had a paper route to supplement the family income during the depression. As a teenager he was hired out to drive foreign visitors around the area. In the 1930’s he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC’s). He served in the U.S. Army primarily in France during World War II from November 22, 1943 until his honorable discharge on January 28, 1946. In 1947, Paul moved with his wife and three sons to Port Huron, Michigan, for about a year and then moved to Wisconsin living in Madison, Waunakee, and Ripon over the next 10 years. They moved to Ogilvie, Minnesota, in 1959 where they lived the remainder of their lives. Paul and Luella purchased a farm about three miles north of Ogilvie and leased out the land. Paul worked as a mechanic in Milaca and Mora, Minnesota for about 20 years and worked at Arcon Construction in Mora prior to retirement in about 1979. He was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and also of the American Legion in Ogilvie. He was a kind and patient person, always willing to help others. Paul died on 8 April 1988 at the Veteran’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Paul Lange was married on August 17, 1941 to Luella Ineze Austin in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. Luella was born to Clarence and Martha Austin on August 21, 1923 in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. Her younger years were spent in Warba, where she attended school. She was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Women’s Club and the Pleasant 6 Hour Club. She enjoyed life and her family and was always willing to give of herself to help others. Luella died on August 28. 1988 in Bemidji, Itasca, Minnesota, while visiting her daughter. (How many Lange's can you ID in this photo?)

My Sources are from my database, birth, marriage, and death certificates and information from one son.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ruth Emily Lange Adamson 1918-1986

Ruth Emily Lange was born March 27, 1918 at her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lange family moved to Calumet, Itasca, Minnesota, where Ruth attended school and graduated from Greenway High School in 1935. She attended one year at Itasca Junior College. Ruth was always active in many church activities at the Community Presbyterian Church and was the first female elder of the church. Ruth was well known for her Norwegian Cookies, marzipan, and lefse. She knitted beautiful sweaters, many in a Norwegian pattern, did cross-stitching, crocheting, and made many of her own clothes as well. Ruth died on February 8, 1986 in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota.

Ruth Lange was married to Harry Thomas Adamson in the Calumet Presbyterian Church on September 5, 1937. Harry Adamson was born on December 12, 1915 in Menagah, Wadena, Minnesota, to William and Clara Adamson. Harry and Ruth first lived in a small upstairs apartment on the farm of William and Clara Adamson in Calumet, Itasca, Minnesota. (Calumet was formerly called Cooley back in the early 1900’s.) After that they lived in Nashwauk and on April 1, 1951 moved to Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. Harry was also very active in church activities and was Churchman of the Year in the 1970's. After his retirement, he spent some time practically every day doing handyman work at the church. Sometimes to Ruth's dismay, there were things to be done at home, too! Harry worked for Butler Brothers, Itasca Tire Company, and Blanden Wood Products all located in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. They were both active in the Sons of Norway and Boy Scouts. Harry died on July 9, 1991 in Holland while visiting his son and family.

My Sources are from my database, birth, marriage, and death certificates and family history from two sons.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Friday, September 11, 2009

Edith Evelyn Lange Grife 1915-1995

Edith Evelyn Lange was born December 28, 1915 in Rugby, North Dakota, and she moved with her family to Itasca County in Minnesota as a child. She was a graduate of Greenway High School in Coleraine. Minnesota. In 1945, they moved to the family farm near Ball Club. She was a charter member of North Grange Hall and served several years as grand master. She was a chaperone for the Deer River Parent Teachers Association, an eight-year member of the Deer River School Board serving two years as chairperson, and a member of the Cass County Nursing Services Board, and the Mississippi Headwaters Advisory Board. Edith passed away on February 14 1995.

Edith Lange was married the first time to Hans Toumala on September 22, 1934. They had one son.

Edith Lange was married the second time to Glen Albert Grife, the son of John and Luella Grife. He was born on May 24, 1914 in Barnes City, Iowa. The family moved to Minnesota in 1920, and Glen attended the Barnes School on Leech River. His first marriage was to Lucille Margaret Hemphill, and he was widowed in March 4, 1941. Glen then married Edith Evelyn Lange on September 20, 1943. He went to work as an independent logger and operated a sawmill in the early 1960s. He worked for the Minnesota Department of Game and Fish and then went to work at the Danube Mines, retiring in 1973. Glen passed away on October 12, 1997 in Duluth, Minnesota.

My Sources are from my database, Lange Book 1917, birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ruth Finnerud 1899-1980

Erling Breda Arctander Lange was married in Rugby, Pierce County, North Dakota, May 27, 1915, to Ruth Finnerud who was born in Christiania, (now Oslo) Norway, October 9, 1899. She was the daughter of grocer Hans Kristian Finnerud (1853 to 1908) and Karin Marie Hansen (born in 1875). Ruth went to America on February 21, 1913 on the Hellig Olav and arrived at Ellis Island, New York, on March 5, 1913. The Hellig Olav had 10,085 gross tons, one funnel, two masts, twin screw, and a top speed of 15 knots. Accommodations for 130 first class, 140-second class and 1,400 third class passengers. Built by A. Stephen & Sons, Glasgow, she was launched for the Scandinavia-American Line of Copenhagen on December 16, 1902. Her maiden voyage started on March 25, 1903 when she sailed from Copenhagen for Christiania (Oslo), Christiansand and New York. In 1922 her accommodation became cabin and third class only, and in 1927 became cabin, tourist and third class. Her last voyage started September 6, 1931 from Copenhagen to Oslo, New York, Christiansand, Oslo and Copenhagen and she was then laid up until 1933 when she was scrapped at Blyth, Northumberland, England.

Ruth lived as an indentured servant with her cousin, John Lund, in Rugby, North Dakota, until her marriage.

In 1962 Ruth Lange applied for U. S. Citizenship and received a Certificate of Naturalization number 7800194 on June 7, 1962. In researching Ruth Finnerud’s trip from Norway to USA, I discovered her passenger records and the ship manifest records from Ellis Island and learned that Ruth was born in 1899 and that she was only 14 years old when she arrived in 1913.

Ruth died on February 18, 1980 in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. She is buried with her husband Earl Lange at Harris Cemetery, Harris Township, Itasca, Minnesota. The plot number is

My Sources are from my database, ship passenger records, ship manifest records, Lange Book 1917, birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Erling Breda Arctander Lange 1896-1976

Erling Breda Arctander Lange, (called Earl) was born February 20, 1896 in Oslo, Norway and was christened in Uranienborg Church May 3, 1896 by Reverend Arnesen. Godparents were Mrs. Thora Hansteen, Ms. Nielsine Breda, Ms. Lul Klem, Bachelor of Law O. E. Kjoss, storage chief Gløer Thv. Mejdell and post exporter A. N. Corneliussen. He was first schooled at home at Eidsvold Works. He was in 1910 accepted at Vestheim School and in 1911 at Christiania Commercial College. He was due for confirmation October 1, 1911 in Fagerborg Church. For about a year and a half, he worked at Steen & Strøm in Christiania.

Earl left Norway on July 1, 1913 on the Kristianiafjord and arrived at Ellis Island, New York, on July 16, 1913. Erling moved to Rugby, North Dakota, where he met and married Ruth Finnerud and where their first child, Edith, was born. In 1916 Erling and his family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he got a position in the same company as his brother Øjvind and where their second child, Ruth, was born.

Erling and his family moved to northern Minnesota and lived in various homes south of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where three of their five children were born. The family then moved to Coleraine, Minnesota, around 1924. Times were hard for the family during the depression years (1931 to 1938) some of the jobs Erling had were delivering groceries, construction, and meat cutting. Also, sons Paul and Bud got paper routes to help out financially. Erling and Ruth built a retirement home in 1956 on the southern shore of Pokegama Lake, south of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. They were very proud when they paid off their mortgage in the early 1970’s and had a mortgage burning party to celebrate with friends and family.

In 1944 Earl Lange applied for U. S. Citizenship and received a Certificate of Naturalization number 5799880 on May 8, 1944.

Both Earl & Ruth Lange participated in The Ground Observer Corps.

Before electronic sensors guarded the approaches to North America, before satellite-warning systems peered down from space, before air defense aircraft carried identification equipment, the US had the Ground Observer Corps. In World War II, and then again during the early years of the Cold War, the nation’s air warning system lay largely in the hands of the Ground Observer Corps, a U.S. Military adjunct composed almost entirely of volunteers, intently studying wall charts and model airplanes to memorize the characteristics of “ours” and “theirs.” They were men and women, manning search towers and bare rooftops, equipped only with binoculars. Through the war years and most of the 1950s, Ground Observer Corp members spotted and plotted the movements of potentially hostile aircraft. These almost always turned out to be friendly, but they might well have been intruders bent on mounting a surprise attack. The observers worked from any site that offered a clear and unobstructed view of the sky. “We had a set of binoculars and a small space heater, because it did get cold in the wintertime,” recalled Ruth Lange. “We also had a telephone line to the center in Canton, Ohio, where they plotted the aircraft by direction and numbers.” Over the years of the Cold War, more than 800,000 volunteers stood alternating shifts at 16,000 observation posts and 73 filter centers.

A newspaper article written by Ken Hickman in the Grand Rapids Herald stated that Erling’s father, Albert Lange, was in charge of the Eidsvolds buildings in Oslo (Christiania), Norway, and a museum, which had been used for meetings of congress in the 1800’s. Erling’s childhood home was less than two blocks from the palace park where Erling played with the future King Olav V in 1910 to 1911. When the King visited Minnesota on two occasions, Erling was invited to renew his acquaintance with the King.

Erling (Earl) Lange died on March 23, 1976 in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota. He is buried with his wife Ruth Lange at Harris Cemetery, Harris Township, Itasca, Minnesota. The plot number is

My Sources are from my database, ship passenger records, ship manifest records, Lange Book 1917, birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stephanie Teresa Skalski 1921-2009

Stephanie Teresa Marek was born on January 20, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Polish immigrants John and Theresa Marek. On November 17, 1946 she married Charles Edward Skalski, a tavern owner.

They had two children, daughter Charlotte and son Robert, and lived in the Burholme section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for over 50 years. During World War II, Stephanie proudly worked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard preparing parachutes for the soldiers.

Later, Stephanie spent many years working for F. W. Woolworth & Co. in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania. In the spring of 2004 Stephanie moved to Huntington Beach, California to be near her daughter Charlotte.

Stephanie passed away quickly and peacefully on February 1, 2009 at Orange County Memorial Hospital. Stephanie is buried at Crystal Cathedral Memorial Gardens in the Garden of Peace, Garden Grove, Orange County, California.

My Sources are from my database, birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Charles Edward Skalski 1919-1989

Today we are moving over to the Polish Tribe.

The son of Polish immigrants, Mr. Charles Edward Skalski was born May 13, 1919 and grew up in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania helping out at a tavern operated by his mother, Michalina, near 10th Street and Montgomery Avenue. In the evenings, his father, Stanley, played clarinet in a Polish band that filled the pub with the sounds of polkas.

It was here that Mr. Skalski met the former Stephanie Marek, whom he courted and married on November 17, 1946. His late brother Julian did the same with Stephanie’s sister, Bernice.

As a young man, Mr. Charles Skalski opened a bar called the Little Spot in Port Richmond. Later, he decided to join friends in a Frankford tavern business, running a place called the Old Spot. After his friend died, he operated his own bar in Center City for a while.

In the early 1960s, the friendly looking, bespectacled Mr. Skalski opened Ski’s, a pub he ran with his late brother Theodore at Sixth and Luzerne Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was a neighborhood bar popular with the neighborhood community. It was a social outlet for him. He developed longtime relationships with customers who became his friends over the years. The business fared well and he was successful, and to be successful, he had to be well liked. He was a congenial guy and soft-spoken, a determined fellow. If he thought something was this way or that way, he wasn’t leery about saying it.

Throughout his life, Mr. Charles Skalski also was known for his love of sports. Baseball was his game of choice. He was a stalwart for the Phillies.

Twenty-four hours a day, he’d listen to games on the radio or TV. He loved trivia. If you asked him who hit the first homerun in the World Series game of 1953, he’d know.”

Always proud of his Polish heritage, Mr. Skalski delighted in a 1976 trip to Poland with his mother. He thought it was great trip and they traveled all around the town where his mother grew up.

After retiring, Mr. Skalski passed much of his time with his family. He enjoyed traveling to California to see his daughter Charlotte. He also spent a lot of time with his son and infant grandson in New Jersey.

Mr. Charles Skalski also made a daily trip to the home of his invalid older brother Miecyslaw “Edward” Skalski. He cooked for him, did his shopping and tended to his needs, occasionally taking him to the casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Charles looked after him like it was his mother. He had many, many good characteristics. He loved his children and he loved his family,

An Army veteran of World War II, Mr. Charles Skalski served in Guam and the Philippines as a sergeant, and he was assigned to the 41st Infantry Division. He was a graduate of Northeast Public High School, Philadelphia, PA.

Charles Edward Skalski died Wednesday, October 4, 1989 at his home of 36 years in the city’s Northeast section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There was a viewing at Resurrection of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church, Castor Avenue and Vista Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated October 8, 1989 at the church. Interment is at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

My Sources are from my database, birth, marriage, and death certificates and Military Service Records.

Copyright © 2009 by Gus J. Marsh