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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Genealogy Dead End: Where is my Immigrant Grandmother Buried?

This query allowed us to examine the 1895 Minnesota state census and maps from that period.

Lovisa Bodine came to the United States, about a year after her husband Gustaf did, in 1893.  With her were their three children: Hilda, Walfrid and John. By 1900 Gustaf Bodine was a widower living in Michigan.  Where is Lovisa buried?

The first piece of evidence is the passenger ship record, which shows that Lovisa and the kids were joining someone in Minnesota.  There was an 1895 Minnesota state census, available on Ancestry, and although there is no Gustaf born ~1857 indexed, there are a number of Bodin/ Bodine.   

The 1895 census shows Johan L. Bodine and family living in Bancroft Township, Freeborn County.  Needing to learn more about this county, where it is, and what resources are available, lead us to these websites:

This 1890s map of bancroft township shows G Bodin owning 40 acres near the town of Itasca, and several Lutheran churches and cemeteries in the area.

A search of full text books on Google showed several county histories had been published.  Some of these may be available via interlibrary loan.  The county also has a historical museum, which has indexes to local newspaper obituaries and cemeteries.

Exhausting the leads for Lovisa for now, we also turned to her husband Gustaf, and her son Harry, who was born in Minnesota in about 1894, but doesn’t appear with his father on the 1900 census.

A search of the FamilySearch website for harry gave no results, but among the possibilities the website offered were an unnamed infant born in September 1897 to GL and Mary Bodine.  It turns out the Lovisa's middle name was Marie, so this is another child of the couple.  And leaving no stone unturned, research will lead you to learn more about Mansfield Township, Freeborn County, where this child was born.  Are there any Bodines among the cemeteries indexed on a FindaGrave?  What about among the Freeborn County resources?  For now we are looking not just for Lovisa, but for two children as well.

One last intriguing element that this initial search turned up was this Swedish Lutheran Church in Mansfield, which was formed in 1893.  The church has since been torn down, the church body joined with another church in the county, and the cemetery moved.  What what became of their records?  Could Lovisa, harry and baby Bodine have been members of this church, and at one time buried here?

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