Margretha Wolff’s origin—solved!

My longest-enduring genealogical brick wall has finally been broken through, thanks to the generous help of Serena Stuettgen, Museum Curator at the Luxembourg American Cultural Society and Center, and Jean Ensch, expert on Luxembourger emigration to the United States.

My grandfather’s great-grandmother Margretha Wolff (see this earlier post for a summary of details prior to breaking through the brick wall) was born in Luxembourg 190 years ago, and the link back to her birth country has been lost for at least the last 113 years, when she died in 1910. The last time her birth country was correctly recorded was on the 1880 US census. From 1885 onwards, her family seems to have forgotten where she was born and assumed it was Germany, presumably because she spoke German as her native language. Continue reading

Clyde takes work home with him

Just a quick post to share a photo I recently found among old family photos. In this photo, Clyde Lawson Askew, my great-grandfather, is seen standing in front of a Caterpillar road grader that he apparently parked in front of his house. Among his many other jobs (drayer, teamster, laborer, machinist, fireman, railroad brakeman, railroad bouncer, oil station manager), Clyde was also a road builder. Among other projects, he worked on the Washburn project in McLean County, North Dakota, and in Wadena, he had the title of “Maintainer of City Streets.”
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Research update: Washburn road-building project

In an earlier post about a road building project in Washburn, McLean County, North Dakota, I concluded that the photo was not of Clyde Askew, as my grandmother had stated, but of Frank Scott, as Frank is clearly pictured and one of the photos was found in a photo album that most likely had belonged to him.

While doing research for another post, I discovered that members of the Askew family also had connections to the tiny town of Washburn around 1916-1918, and may have participated in this same road building project. Continue reading

Hit the road, Clyde

Among the handful of photos my grandmother Harriet Prettyman gave me in August 2012 were these two curious images.  When I asked her about them, she said her father, Clyde Lawson Askew, was a hardworking man who did many different kinds of jobs.  One of his jobs, she said, was that of road builder, and these were pictures of a project he had worked on.  In fact, she said, she had been told that he’s pictured in both photos, somewhere among the faces. Continue reading