Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Heading Home so Soon?

Well, that was quick! Thanks to the shared effort of our two helpful translators Per and Martin, it looks like the photograph of the Rosby family will be heading home as soon as I can get it packaged up and in the mail. As you may have noticed from the comments to yesterday's post, Susan, the third great granddaughter of "Mrs. J. T. Andersen," the woman to whom the photograph was addressed, has contacted me and we've finalized arrangements so I can mail the photo to her.

As far as I can tell, it looks like there are no living direct descendants of this particular couple or their daughter. The older woman, as we learned from the translation provided last Friday, was named Rønnøg Rosby and her daughter was Maria. Apparently, all three members of the family were born in Norway, and they arrived as immigrants to the United States about 1867, according to this 1900 census record for Polk County, Minnesota, where they settled.

By the time of the 1910 census, not only had their daughter Mariaapparently their only child, according to census recordslost her father and her mother, she had also been married and widowed. In 1878, Maria had married E. K. Overlandlikely Eivind Overlandin Freeborn, Minnesota, but the couple and their family can be found back in Polk County (location of Fertile, mentioned in Maria's notes) by the time of the 1880 census. By 1909, though, Maria's husband was gone, passing on December 2, 1909.

That was confirmed by the 1910 census, which also showed us Maria's three surviving children: Obert, Cora and Rosa. Of those three, each of the daughters died youngCora in 1915 and Rosa in 1920. Best I could tell about the Overlands' son Obert, he eventually moved to California, where he worked at the San Francisco waterfront for a shipping company. While Obert may have married and had children, I cannot find any such record, nor can I even locate an obituary for him. Obert Overland died in San Francisco in 1951.

One connection I could find, however, was to the aunt that Maria had mentioned in her notes written on the reverse of the photograph. Not knowing the maiden name for Maria's mother, Rønnøg, I looked first for the siblings of Maria's father, Ole. He did, apparently, have a sister named Bertha, who married a man named Jacob T. Andersonthe "J. T. Andersen" mentioned in Maria's inscription on the photograph.

That couple, in turn, had a son named Anton, who in 1891 married a young woman named Julia Bakke in Winnebago County, Iowa. It was a descendant of this Anton Anderson whom I found through the public trees posted at Ancestry.com, and emailed her to see if she was, indeed, related to the sister of Ole Rosby. With an immediate response, she confirmed that she was, and off the photograph will go to Susan, another diligent family history researcher who cares as much for old family photographs as the rest of us do.

Above: Closeup of the three subjects of a photograph found in a northern California antique shop: Ole Rosby, his wife Rønnøg, and their daughter Maria, taken in Fertile, Minnesota. Photograph on its way home to the third great granddaughter of Ole's sister Bertha, wife of Jacob T. Anderson of Iowa.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes! I'm so excited! Glad to see these photos make their way home!

  2. Yeah for a Full Circle! Well done! Fertile is about an hour away from me, it is a tiny town with a nearby Nursery with display gardens:)

    1. I was wondering how close Fertile might be to you, Far Side. Had you on my mind!

      And to think it took going halfway around the world, just to find out what was written on the back of this picture, before we could send it home.

  3. Thank you so much for the research information above - our family is looking forward to getting the photo! Thank you so much for your work and for a great blog! I'm can't wait to delve into reading more of your "lost treasures" and their stories! Susan Anderson

    1. Susan, so glad we connected! The photo is on its way to you today. Enjoy!


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