Monday, August 4, 2014

Posting a photo for Jay - her gr-grandfather Christian (far right), great-great-aunt Mae (far left) and their parents Kristian & Mary Danielsen (center).

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Yesterday Raymond Danielsen passed away at age 77.  He was the son of Christian Danielsen, and grandson of our immigrant ancestor Kristian Danielsen.  He was the oldest living member of that branch of the Danielsen family.  

I first contacted Ray and Grace by mail many years ago - probably 20 to 25 years ago.  We wrote back and forth a time or two about the family genealogy, then lost track of each other until he contacted me by email around 2008.  We stayed in sporadic contact ever since and shared what we could about the Danielsen history.  We never met in person.  

Ray was spared some of the family drama as a child as he was confined with rheumatic fever for some time. When he was well enough, he spent summers safely at his maternal aunt's home until age 17 or 18.  He married at age 21 and he and his wife were taken in by her family, which was a large and loving one. 

You can get a feeling for a person after years of corresponding.  My impression of Ray was a large but gentle man, successful, talented, to whom family was all-important.  He greatly enjoyed exploring and learning more of his Norwegian roots.  And after 50 years of marriage, I know he missed his wife, Grace, who passed away in 2008.  They are now reunited.  Rest in peace, Ray.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bits & Pieces - Mary "Mae" Danielsen

Just for the heck of it, I recently searched for Mary "Mae" [Danielsen] Williams and her family.  Lo and behold, I found her in Florida in the 1945 state census.  She, her daughter Muriel, age 17, and son Donald E. age 19, all worked for the "USN" which I assume means the US Navy. [...had to be as civilians...]  They resided in Dade County.  Her brother Edward Raymond Danielsen, who died in Florida in 1950, also resided Dade County [Coral Gables] at the time of his death.  I did not find him in the 1945 Florida census; perhaps when he moved south for his health, he moved nearby to his sister, sometime between 1945 and 1950.   [Funny - the only occupation I'd heard about Mae was she either owned or ran a boarding house in Florida where she served dinner to gentlemen...]

I did not find anything further on Muriel or Donald Williams:  no marriage or death records that I could even guess belonged to them.  It appears their parents were already divorced by 1945 as their father was not enumerated in the Florida census with them.

Mae Williams supposedly returned to NY upon the death of a grandfather in the early 1950s.  Her maternal grandfather William Anderson died in 1951; [correction: Wm Anderson was her brother Ed's father-in-law whose funeral she may have attended.]  her father Christian Danielsen died 1953.  I'm also told that (a) during her visit she announced her engagement to the vice president of a hotel in Bermuda, and (b) she lived with her father during his last year or so [and absconded with whatever there may have been of value...].  I found her marriage to Jean Vernet:  25 Jun 1953 in Guilford, North Carolina.  Her father had died the previous month, 28 May 1953.  Thus, time-wise, it must have been her grandfather's William Anderson's 1951 funeral at which she announced her engagement, giving her plenty of time to return at a later date to care for her father during his last illness.

North Carolina Marriages, 1759-1979

Name: Jean L. Vernet
Groom's Birth Date: 1892
Groom's Age: 61
Bride's Name: Mary D. Williams
Bride's Birth Date: 1901
Bride's Age: 52
Marriage Date: 25 Jun 1953
Marriage Place: Guilford, North Carolina
Groom's Father's Name: Jean Philip Vernet
Groom's Mother's Name: Marie Louise Robert
Bride's Father's Name: Christian Daniels
Bride's Mother's Name: Mary Reynolds
Groom's Race: White
Bride's Race: White

Jean Vernet is a bit of a mystery.  I found him living in Minnesota in the 1930 federal census, living with a wife and daughter.  His occupation was "chef, hotel".  I found the death record for his wife, May 1952 in Minnesota, approximately one year before his marriage to Mae Williams;  "J.L. Vernet" was listed as her spouse.    How then did he happen to be engaged to Mae in 1951?  Perhaps this family recollection is off by a year or so - perhaps Mae came to take care of her father in approx 1952, announced her engagement, then married one month after her father's death.  Jean Vernet's daughter with his first wife appears to have never married; I found her death record in Minnesota, as well as her mother's.
Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990
Name: Alice Ruth Vernet
Gender: Female
Death Date: 20 May 1952
Death Place: Wabasha, Wabasha, Minnesota
Age: 62
Birth Date: 1890
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: J. L. Vernet
Father's Name: Francis Vibert
Mother's Name: Mary Hudson

Jean Vernet, chef at a hotel...the "hotel" part fits Mae's announcement. If it is true he had some interest in a hotel in Bermuda, his residence in Minnesota seems odd; it would make better sense had he resided Florida where he could have met Mae, and from whence they might easily travel to Bermuda.  The marriage in North Carolina was a surprise...was Guilford some sort of resort town?  More of a surprise - Mae's SSDI entry indicates her social security number was issued in -- Minnesota!  I shall have to obtain a copy of her application to see what date that would have been.  A sheer guess would be that she was in Minnesota with her new husband...Lastly, the Vernets ended up in the state of California, where they died in the early 1970's.  What a mysterious pair!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


See my Reynolds blog for an exciting find - a couple of generations on Mary Reynolds' side of the family!