October 27, 2016

William Burden Stevenson 1842 – 1926

William Burden Stevenson – Soldier, Sailor, World Traveler

Usually, when you begin researching someone in a family line you start at their birth and work forward, and backward as well to connect them with their parents and ancestors. With William Stevenson I think I began in the middle and worked both directions. I knew some people in his immediate had lived here in Washington State, but what really piqued my interest was that William had resided here in my town of Port Orchard and is buried in a local cemetery here.

William’s parents were John and Ellen Burden Stevenson who were both born in Scotland circa 1815. As an adult, John was an officer in the Irish Coastguard and as his career was ending son William, who had been brought up to also be a Naval Officer for Britain, was just beginning his time in service. William’s father John had retired sometime after 1860 and was awarded a land patent by Queen Victoria. John had his choice of British locations, but in the end he chose Canada. To be specific, on Lake Malcolm in Ontario. All of the family still at home, including the youngest, Jane Elizabeth who was born in 1860 when her father was still stationed in Killybegs, Wexford, Ireland set sail for North America.

I’m guessing that William, the oldest, entered his naval service before the rest of the family left Ireland. His entry paper states he joined 27 June 1860 and was on the 1HMS St. Vincent. At the time of William’s service on the ship it was primarily a training vessel for young boys. William’s designation was as an Ordinary Seaman. Later records (American Civil War) note that during his time on the Vincent they spent time in the Mediterranean Ocean.

1862 – William Stevenson deserts the Royal Navy

One can only imagine what life was like in the Royal Navy for nineteen year old William. In looking at the records for the St. Vincent it wasn’t uncommon for these young sailors to be caned or birched if the Captain deemed it necessary. I don’t know that William ever received that punishment, but perhaps there was a far greater peril on the ship: disease. 1864 Training Ship, Home Station, Portsmouth. 2Report of Fevers and Small Pox onboard. Number of Cases of Disease and Injury. No proof has been found as to just how and where William left the ship, but we next find him as new soldier in the American Civil War.

In William’s Civil War pension application records he states that about two weeks after leaving the Royal Navy as a deserter he made his way to Pennsylvania, and joined Company I of the 111th PA Infantry under the false name of Thomas Crawford.

To be continued…


1HMS St Vincent (1815). (2015, April 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:35, October 5, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=HMS_St_Vincent_(1815)&oldid=654963476

2(2015) HMS St Vincent. Retrieved October 05, 2015, from http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/18-1900/S/04400.html

© 2015 Carol Wilkerson. All rights reserved


Was Great Grandpa Named John GORMLEY Nordgren?

 His Middle Name Is Gormley?

My genealogical head-scratcher for the night is/was I was looking at some of my recent ancestors who might be in the latest release of the SS records and happened upon someone who has my GGrf in their tree with my pictures (which is OK, I make them public) but it shows in their tree that my GGfr’s middle name (of which I have no record) as Gormley. John Gormley Nordgren. This person who added it is connected to the Croasdill family, which includes John’s youngest child, my aunt Edith Nordgren Croasdill. Edith took care of her father near the end of his life, so maybe someone in her family ran across my Nordgren family documentation.

I think this person who owns the Chester_Chesler Family 2015 Tree on Ancestry will contact me soon so we can solve this mystery!

WordPress Users: Submit Your Blog To Apple News Now


Apple recently released the news that with its next update to iOS 9 this fall (September), and it will include a new app completely streamlined and and made for iOS with a customizable news feed. This is a boon to WordPress users because your content can be submitted ahead of time for inclusion. Like right now.

Publishers interested in signing up can visit www.icloud.com/newspublisher with additional publishing tools available later this year. iOS 9 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch® 5th generation, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini™ and later. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.

One thing I would suggest is that you have your image/logo ready to submit. Also, they will ask for your name, business name (if you’re an individual adding a blog, your personal name), blog name and address, contact information, language and audience choice. I chose “general” since my topics include more than just genealogy. If I’m accepted I would think I could change that to a specific audience if needed.

In the Apple Press Info they also intimated that at some point the app can be monetized by publishers.


I first read about this via WordPress Hacks (an excellent site, I must say) and you can read Kyle Eslick’s article about Apple News app here. Thanks Kyle!

Understanding The “M 7” Designation In The 1940 Census


Stevenson with arrow.jpg

I recently found a 1940 census record that listed the man as married but that designation was crossed out and a 7 was inserted instead. It occurred to me that other people might be wondering what it meant too, so I did a search and found Understanding the 1940 Census at Archives.com. That correction indicates the man is married but that his spouse isn’t living with him.

In 1935 Rex Stevenson was living in Seattle, he was unmarried and was working in the occupation of “Theatrical Booking” for movies. I knew that in 1940 Rex was living in San Francisco, so if I wanted to find a marriage record for him I would begin with a peek in the Washington State Digital Archives to see if he was married before he left for California. He was, to Nola Conn and the wedding took place in Coupeville, Skagit, Washington the 9th of August 1932.

I’ve looked to see where Nola might have been during the time after the marriage and found nothing documented, but I did find in 1940 she was still in Washington state living in her father’s household. In 1940 Nola’s father was employed by the city of Mt. Vernon as a patrolman. Nola’s twin sister Lola is in the household as well, divorced and there is a five year old child Dean Henry listed as Clifford Conn’s grandson.

Dean Henry is the son of Lola Conn, now that I’ve done a bit more research. Imagine, all these clues from one census record mystery!

To explain why I’m researching the Stevenson family, it’s because my nephew’s wife Jill Hohensee Yates is related to that family. While not direct, there is a connection to Jane Russell, the actress. Jane’s mother was the granddaughter of Otto Reinhold Jacobi. Otto Jacobi was the father of Louise Jacobi who married James Stevenson. James Stevenson was one of the older brothers of Isabella Katherine Stevenson who married Benjamin A Ferris. One of their children, Lorne A Ferris and his wife Blanche were the parents of Ernestine Isabel Ferris who married Wilhelm Fredrick Karl Hohensee.

Next on my agenda is to find out how Isabella Stevenson Ferris’ oldest brother William Burden Stevenson who emigrated from Ireland around 1862, just in time to join the Army and serve in the Civil War from Pennsylvania. Now, I’m on a quest to find out why he went to PA to serve.

Pin-up photo of Jane Russell for the Sep. 21, ...

Pin-up photo of Jane Russell for the Sep. 21, 1945 issue of Yank, the Army Weekly, a weekly U.S. Army magazine fully staffed by enlisted men. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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