Tag Archives: great-grandfather

Anderson Ancestor Search: An Excuse to visit Scotland and Ireland

The bane of family searches is the recycling of names.  In my maternal grandfather Guy Anderson’s line, the overused names are John and Joe. What? It’s not bad enough that Anderson is a common name, you also have to call your kids John Joseph and Joseph John ad finitum?

Now that I have that off my chest, I’ll move on to today’s subject, Joseph J. Anderson (1848-1883) married to Mary Veolia Brink (1858-1932), my mother’s paternal grandparents. Joe Anderson accounts for both the Scotch and Irish blood in my veins (although it really all stems from Scotland). You’ll see how that ignites my travel desire in a minute.

Women seemed to keep the stories going about their mothers and grandmothers and I have no doubt many of those came through food and cooking, sewing and other acts of nurturing, so I have more stories about women in the family than men. And since Joe died very young, I’m left with few stories about him. He was only 36 years old when he died, which means Mary lived as a widow for 48 years.

On the other hand, official records favor research on male ancestors. Women tend to disappear as they change names at marriage. Of course in this case, Joe died when he was so young that there were not a lot of stories to tell.

In my earlier discussion of the fascinating Hattie Morgan Stout, I mentioned that Hattie taught at country schools at a very young age.  One of my mother’s (Harriette Anderson Kaser’s) stories goes like this:

There were evening gatherings for adults where the teachers taught  subjects like spelling, reading and music. Co-incidentally, our Grandpa Joe Anderson [my mother’s paternal grandfather] taught music and Grandma Hattie Morgan taught spelling.  Joe Anderson must have been a natural musician rather than a scholar, because his full time occupation was farming. Hattie laughed to Harriette, “I always thought he was awfully good looking, “but he was already pretty much in love with Mary Anderson.”

So there are a couple of clues to Joe Anderson.  He was handsome, and judging from his sons and grandsons, probably a charmer as well.  And he was a musician, so that may explain my Grandfather’s love of music and the community band.  How lovely that this man who worked on a farm, found an outlet for music, even though there may have been no community band for him to play in.

Guy Anderson in the band

Guy Anderson in the Killbuck Community Band

And then there’s the Robert Burns poem. Mary (Brink) Anderson, according to Harriette Kaser, said that the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote his poem entitled Joe Anderson for her.   I looked it up and the poem is actually John Anderson, My Jo.  Since the poem has to do with a couple growing old together, which unfortunately was not the case for this Joe and his Mary, the poem definitely does not fit. But Mary must have been a romantic. Wikipedia has a different story about the origin of the poem, than the one you’ll find at that first link.

I have no pictures of great grandfather Joe Anderson, but Mary Anderson said that my mother’s brother Herbert looked just like him. So maybe he looked like this.

Herbert Anderson

Herbert Anderson when he was twenty years old. Photo from another tree at Ancestry.com Thanks to K. H. Crissey

Joe Anderson was next to youngest of seven children of John Anderson of Pennsylvania (1797-1879) and his second wife, Isabella McCabe.  Most of the children were born in Pennsylvania, but Joe grew up on a farm in Monroe Township, Holmes County, Ohio, where his father had moved around 1840.  John Anderson started with 150 acres and grew the farm to 400 acres, and after their father’s death, the farm was managed by the youngest brother Frank.

Joe also had two older  half-sisters and a half-brother by John Anderson’s first wife.  As one of the youngest in this enormous brood, he no doubt got plenty of attention.

The Anderson Tartan

The Anderson Tartan in display at the Mac Isaac Kiltmakers in Nova Scotia

The Andersons came from Scotland, but I have so far not been able to pin down the exact time and the place they came from.  My sister and I visited a couple of Scottish kilt makers while we were in Nova Scotia and purchased some souvenirswith the Anderson clan plaid.

Joe’s mother accounts for the legitimacy of my wearing of the Green on St. Patrick’s day. Isabella’s McCabe’s grandfather was born in Ireland and immigrated in 1783. However, it turns out that back in the late middle ages, the McCabes were MacCabes who came to Ireland as mercenaries from the Island of Arran in Scotland. (I don’t think my mother knew that, but she always said we were Scotch-Irish on my grandfather’s side, and she was right.) Most of their territory would fall within what is now County Cavan in the far north of the Republic of Ireland. Ah, now THERE’s a couple of  lovely excuses for travel.

Joe and Mary V. Brink married January 7, 1877 , and his younger brother Frank married Mary’s sister Sarah Jane Brink.  (It was not uncommon in those days of large families in small towns for two sisters to marry two brothers.)  Joe and Mary V. had two sons–my grandfather Guy and his brother Bernard (Ben) Franklin Anderson– and a daughter who died as an infant.

When Joseph J. Anderson died in 1884, my (to-be) grandfather was only 5 years old, and he was taken in by a different Frank Anderson, brother to Joe.

The facts are sparse about Joseph J. Anderson, but at least he gives me an excuse to talk about my Scottish and Irish roots. I want to thank my cousin Herbert G. Anderson, son of the Herbert Anderson in the picture, for sharing his research into the Anderson history.

Do you find that you know more about your female forebears than your male ones? Or vice versa?

(Photos from the Isle of Arran come from Flikr and are used with a Creative Commons license. Thanks to the photographers for sharing.)


The Carpenter’s Apron: Great Grandfather Joseph Kaser

[This article pertains to Joseph Kaser, ancestor of my father, Paul Kaser (1909-1996). And the aprons hold nails instead of protecting from batter spatter.]

Joseph Kaser (b. c.1827-d.?), my paternal great grandfather, was a carpenter. And that is about all I know.

I inherited this little chest, which my father said was a “handkerchief chest” and I love all of it.  The wood, I think–because I’m not an expert–is walnut. A common wood in Pennsylvania and Ohio where Joseph lived.  It does have some small nails, so is not all put together with mortise and tendon joints like an earlier chest that I have from the other side of the family. But it has beautiful turned legs, and some lovely joinery. The chest has held up pretty well, considering that it must be somewhere between 120 and 160 years old.

I like the compartments in the drawer to hold odds and ends, and the large space under the lid for handkerchiefs. I put the Kleenex™ box there for a size comparison, but it turns out to be an ironic reference. People DID once use a lot of cotton and linen handkerchiefs!

Although I have tons of information about my mother’s ancestors–particularly following a maternal line back through the ages– my knowledge of the Kaser line stops in Bloomfield (now Clark), Coschocton County, Ohio with Joseph Kaser, born around 1827.

So why don’t I know more? Because I have only done on-line research and that only gets you so far. And also because I once counted up the variant spellings of Kaser and came up with a dozen before I gave up.  And then there is the first name, Joseph, (with so far, no indication of a middle name) which is about as common as it gets.  There are Joseph Kasers galore in Ohio and Pennsylvania around the early 1800’s. Not even counting all the Kayers and Kaisers and Casers, etc.

My father knew that his grandfather lived in Coshocton County when my paternal grandfather, Clifford Kaser was born. And father knew that his grandmother’s name was Catharine Sampsel. What I have been able to track down is that Joseph married Catharine Samsel (which also is spelled Sampsel) in March 1847, and the 1880 census tells us that Joseph was born in 1827 and Catharine was born in 1825.

According to that same census report, he and his parents were all born in Pennsylvania, so Joseph’s family may well have been in the United States during or before the Revolutionary War, but when and from where and how and why did they come to the United States?

Because their children are listed in the 1880 census, we can see that the Kasers lived in Ohio at least from 1852, because their oldest son, David was 28 in 1880 and was born in Ohio, as were all the other children. David is married in 1880, and still listed as living at the residence of his parents.  The complete list of Kasers in 1880 folllows.

  • Joseph Kaser, 53, carpenter Born in Pennsylvania
  • Catharine Kaser, 50 *However according to her gravestone she would have been 51 at the time of the census. Born in Ohio
  • David Kaser, 28, carpenter
  • Ellen Kaser, 18, housework [David’s Wife]
  • Johnathon Kaser, 20, day laborer
  • Anna Kaser, 17
  • Clifford Kaser, 13 (my paternal grandfather)
  • Edward Kaser, 10

Not only have I not been able to find out who Joseph Kaser’s parents were or when their family came to the United States, or what country they came from, I am searching for information on a rare Kaser relative that I actually met. She was “Aunt Jennie” whom I visited with my father in the 1940’s and 50’s in Mt. Vernon Ohio. How is she related to these people?

[NOTE: A little more searching and I discovered that Aunt Jennie was actually related to my father’s MOTHER rather than his FATHER–so she was not a Kaser. More to come.]

But I have many more avenues to travel down before giving up.  I can track every one of the siblings of Clifford Kaser to seek more information. I can post on bulletin boards on genealogy sites. I can follow leads in an old newspaper article I found in my father’s files about a band in Clark, Ohio that ties to another keepsake–a battered old trombone.

The family seems to be full of people who are handy with their hands–from carpentry to tin- smithing to playing the trombone.  My father enjoyed making things, but the things he built for me, I left behind as Ken and I moved from house to house. He had built bookcases in our Columbus, Ohio house and when we moved to Arizona, he built bookcases for us, and repaired anything that needed fixing in the five houses we lived in before he died.

Meanwhile, if you know anyone named Kaser, ask them if they know about Joseph the carpenter who lived in Bloomfield/Clark, Ohio. And let me know.