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!

Monday, June 6, 2011

It pays to take a second look!

I wondered why Kristian Danielsen's 1930 federal census showed him having $13000+ worth of assets, when I'd also found a notice in the NY Times in 1930, showing he'd filed for bankruptcy.

I took a second look.  At 1920 Kristian owned his home at Williamsbridge Rd., occupation butcher.  At 1930 his son Christian Danielsen was at that address, renting, occupation butcher.  [Took over his father's business?]  Kristian was living at Kurting Ave. in 1930, retired.  In reviewing the NY Times notice, it said "Christian M. Danielsen, butcher and grocer" of Williamsbridge Road had filed for bankruptcy, owing $3294 and having no assets.  Kristian's middle name was Hoseas; Christian [Jr.]'s was Milton.  Evidently it was the son, not the father who filed for bankruptcy; seems he didn't fare very well with the business.

Friday, June 3, 2011


In contacting family members recently to get a more personalized picture of my grandparents and great-grandparents, whom I never knew, I recently learned enough about my great-uncle to realize there must have been a pattern of abuse in the family; it was not limited to one man alone, but repeated over 3 generations.

How much of a coincidence would it be that a man's brother is described as demanding and difficult to get along with; the [first] man's eldest son as an adult is described as violent toward his family, with episodes often taking place in the kitchen; and the man's adult grandsons exhibit abusive behavior to their families, with episodes centering around the kitchen. 

So, what kind of melt-downs did my great-grandfather Kristian have in the kitchen of his home, how did he treat his wife Mary Reynolds, and over how many years did this take place in order for it to be imitated by not only his eldest son, but probably his 2nd son as well, who in turn set the example for his 2 sons.

And why the kitchen?!  I wonder if there was some significance based on life in Norway.  Or was it as simple as the kitchen being the one place in the home the family gathered together on a consistent basis? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Following the suggestion for GenealBloggers Thursday writing prompts...I have only one "family treasure", something passed down from my paternal grandmother Gwendolyn [Anderson] Danielsen [1902-1970].  When she passed away, my father gave me a necklace that had belonged to her - a silver cross with diamond chips hung on a very fine silver chain.  It is very delicate looking, and I assume the chain is made of white gold, as anything other than "real" gold irritates my skin.  I've been thinking about it lately...I don't have a daughter.  To whom should I pass this on?  My one niece didn't know Nana, and wasn't raised Catholic.  My 9 cousins of course knew Nana, but their children certainly didn't; all have been raised Catholic, I believe.  My son will eventually fact at age 18 he is currently planning to marry within the next couple of months.  Dare I give it to this young woman, gambling on the necklace perhaps passing out of the family altogether?  

My father also brought home some of my grandmother's furniture - a sideboard [I think that's what it was called], a chest of drawers...I don't recall if there were any other pieces.  After my parents divorced and after the house was, eventually, sold, the pieces were put into storage.  Unfortunately, they were lost due to non-payment of the storage fees.  I always wished I had known about this before the fact, so that my grandmother's furniture could have been saved and kept in the family.

I don't know what, if anything, my father's brother took of my grandmother's belongings after her death.  I must ask my cousins - are there any other remaining family treasures?