Identifying the Westerlin Children

Since I had had no luck in searching for Westerlin in the 1900 Census, I decided to identify what I did know.  A lot of this is spelled out in the prior post, so I will summarize somewhat:

August and Hedda’s gravestone (Overton Cemetery, Overton, NE, from Findagrave) gave me their birthdates:  10 Oct 1858 and 21 Jan 1863.  (I would like to get a photo of this, but have not yet had a chance to visit.)

The 1940 Census told me they were born in Sweden, naturalized, and had a son named Harry born around 1903 who was born in Nebraska.

The 1930 Census adds that they were married at 22 and 18 (so around 1880) and came to the US separately, in 1889 and 1891.

The 1920 Census indicates that they were naturalized in 19-something (it looks like 1900 and as Hedda’s date of immigration is given as “before 1900,” that is my guess).  Just in case, I am having the index for the federal naturalization records checked (for $20), but if they were naturalized before 1906, the information won’t be there. Most likely I will have to write to the county.  If so, this is additional reason to figure out where (what county!) they were in as of the 1900 Census.  

The 1920 Census also states that August was a farmer (he was retired in subsequent censuses) and that he and Hedda had children at home ranging from 28 to 14, named John, Alice, Ester (probably Esther), Harry, and Mildred, all born in Nebraska.  As John would have been born in 1892, this therefore suggests that the family were in Nebraska quite soon after Hedda arrived in the US (and presumably she came when August had a place to live).  Thus, it would have been the planned designation.

Additional information from the 1910 Census is:  August and Hedda had been married for 29 years (so since 1881), and had 13 children of which 12 were living.  August was a farmer and raiser of stock.  At this time the children at home ranged in age from 22 to 4, with only the oldest (Carl) having been born in Sweden, and the rest born in Nebraska.  Carl is identified as having come over in 1891, at the same time as Hedda, which makes sense.  He would have been around 3 at the time.  The other children are named John (same as 1920), Helen (perhaps already married in 1920), David (again no longer at home in 1920), Alice (same as 1920), Ester (same as 1920), Harry (same as 1920), and Mildred (same as 1920). As 8 children are now identified, there should be 4 more living children.  The next task, then, is to find the remaining children.

Before this, though, I checked to see what had happened to David and Helen as of 1920. Searching for David Westerlin in 1920 quickly revealed that he was still in Dawson County (specifically Lincoln) and married to a woman named Rosetta.  Based on Social Security records for their son, Rosetta’s maiden name was Muirhead. That is helpful, because I found a Helen Muirhead (married to Thomas) of the right age to be Helen Westerlin also in Lincoln, Dawson, Nebraska.  Checking the Social Security records for Helen and Thomas’ children revealed that Helen’s maiden name was, indeed, Westerlin.  So David and Helen have been identified.

In an effort to find the unidentified 4 children (one of whom is my great-grandmother Lilian, of course), I started by searching for other Nebraska Westerlins in 1910.  This pulled up Gotfried in Lincoln, Lancaster, Nebraska, who was too be one of the children and did not immigrate until 1893 (although he could be connected in some way), Khasa [her gravestone identifies the name as Kajsa] Westerlin in Shell Creek, Madison, Nebraska, widowed and age 72, again, a possible connection, especially since she is living next door to a Harry and Agnes Farrar, and Agnes was born around 1886 in Sweden (making her the right age and consistent with what is known) and came over in 1892 (close enough so that she really could have come over with Hedda). Subsequent research into the Social Security records for Agnes’ children confirmed that her maiden name was Agnes C. Westerlin.  So one of 4 identified, probably.  

I also discovered (as expected) Lilian, age 12, in Omaha, with Jennie Carlstrom (her sister) and Jennie’s husband Charles.  Jennie was born in around 1884 in Sweden and came over in 1891.  Good reason to believe, then (as I knew from prior information about Lilian), that Jennie and Lilian are 2 more of the 4, meaning that 3 are now identified.

The remaining child is likely a daughter, as I did not find any more likely Westerlins.  Next door to August and Hedda in 1910 are Adebert [Adelbert] and Laura Miller, and Laura was born in Sweden around 1890, making her a possibility.  In 1920, the two are still in Logan, now next door to Lillian and Delbert Guess.  (Unfortunately her date of immigration is not listed in 1910 and is impossible to read in 1920.)  In 1930, she and her family are again in Logan, this time next to John Westerlin, and she is identified as coming over in 1892. Based on this, I checked the Social Security records for her children, and those confirmed that her maiden name was Westerlin.  So this identifies the remaining missing child.  

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One thought on “Identifying the Westerlin Children

  1. Pingback: Westerlins in 1900 | My American Journeys

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