Friday, June 17, 2016

A few steps back in time

I always have loved these shows...

I thought how lucky the people on the show are to have someone research their ancestry.  I would love to know mine.  If I won the lotto, that’s what I’d do.  Hire someone to find out my ancestry. I had no clue how to research it or where to begin.  I grew up a Military Brat, as my father was in the US Army and we traveled my whole childhood between the US and Germany.  I ended up in Macomb Mi because my father’s last duty station was at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in MI.  Which also happens to be where I work. So I never felt any real connection to Michigan.  I would however discover I did have deep roots in Michigan.  I told my parents one night in a conversation that I wish I could research my ancestry like they do on those TV shows.  My Dad mentioned that a cousin of mine had done some research into our ancestry and had emailed it to him.  I asked for him to forward it to me and that’s where this new venture started for me.  I really knew little on my ancestry besides my grandparents. I had heard my maiden name Loranger might be French and that was about it.  I opened an account and began entering information from my cousin’s notes. 
I will note that you will encounter missspelling of names in documents because all was hand written by people that took names verbally and may have misspelled the names.  There also was no spell check! Also one of my relatives changed her name and acted as though she was widowed rather than divorced.  There are too many relatives to mention them all.  I did discover that my Grandmother and Grandfather were 2nd cousins.  It is legal and happened more often in the past.  So I will start my research with my paternal 2x Great Grandfather- Peter Joseph Loranger.  He was born in French Town, that was renamed Monroe in honor of the President visiting.  However the parents my cousin had listed from Peter's death certificate were misspelled.  I discovered this on the cemetery records of Peter J. Loranger.
His parents were listed to be Alexis Rivard dit Loranger and Catherine Tessier. This is the first time I saw the surname Rivard dit Loranger.  Peter was married to Marie Louisa Bratt and they had 7 children. Selena died at 3 and Lloyd at 2.
  Peter fought in the Civil war.  He was injured, shot in the chest in the Battle of the Wilderness depicted below.  By the time He recovered, almost his entire unit was killed, so he was put in another unit and that is why he is listed as being in 2 units.  Had he been killed in that battle my Great Grandfather Walter Loranger would not have been born and I would not be here either.
 I have the record of his draft registration.


 His cemetery record says he received an invalid pension
for his civil war injuries until his death
He lived for 3 years after the civil war in Monroe and then decided to sell his land and move to Northern MI in Vassar. Perhaps his injuries made it difficult for him to farm his land in Monroe.  Here are the Obituaries I discovered at the Historical museum in Monroe. The Loranger’s are some of the original settlers in
 French Town which became Monroe, MI.
There is a big family grave site in Vassar MI. where Peter moved to.  He is buried there, with wife and some of his children.   On 14 June 16 my husband and I took a drive to find the grave site.  There was no office at The graveyard and we literally searched for his grave for 3 hours. I called out to him a few times,
" Peter where are you?? Seriously?"
Then just as I was ready to give up, I hopped in the truck to drive
over to where my husband was.  I glanced to the left and boom.  I saw it!
in big letters stood out to me!
I jumped out of the truck and ran over to check...
left the truck running and everything
Someone was helping me in that last minute of
total frustration! 

 The Marker for the family plot
Peter's head stone marked Father with
 a medallion marking his grave as a Civil War Veteran
This is the entire LORANGER plot
Then across the way is
He is my 2nd Great Uncle and my
Grandmother's, mother's Father,
So my 2nd Great Grandfather also.
I have collected many documents through my ancestry searched over the past few months and am compiling them in folders to perhaps put in an album.
My research led me to know that my 3x Great Grandfather  Alexis Rivard dit Loranger and Catherine Tessier were married in Detroit Mi. on 15 Jun 1818. At St Anne’s Catholic Church. Normally the church wasn’t open and you need an appointment to see inside.  What a stroke of luck to find it open for a wedding rehearsal.
I should mention that he was 34 and she was 17 and one month later their first son was born. I did learn later that at the time of their marriage Catherine did not have a father. He had died a few months before she was born. Also although they lived in Monroe they traveled to Detroit to get married which is quite a way. 30 min by car on the interstate so you can imagine how long it took by horse and wagon. I went downtown to Detroit and the church is there.  It’s not the same church from 1818 but the corner stone from the 1818 church was put in the church there today.

What a surprise to find a ancestor of mine got married in Detroit in 1818 when there wasn’t much to Detroit
if you look in the right hand corner when you blow up this pic you can see a church, maybe it is St. Anne's as it does mimic today's current 2 tower look.
All the church records are in French, hand written and very difficult to read. According to historical accounts Detroit was 2/3 French. I called the Detroit public library Historical records department  and they had 1 book of all the French church records translated into English from the Archdiocese. I went to downtown as I wanted this because this would give me the names of Alexis and Catherine’s parents in writing.  Which it did! Augustin Rivard dit Loranger B1765 +Marie Josephine Pitard B about 1763 from Quebec Canada.
I have a lot of info on Alexis.  I was very drawn to him for some reason.  I guess because, I felt like it was due to him that I was an American.  He came to the United States alone and was born in Quebec, Canada.  Online he was listed as buried in St. Joseph Monroe Cemetery however when I called them they said they had no record of him. I was very disappointed, I felt compelled to find his grave.  I just felt it was very important for me to find this man.  So on one day off my husband and I drove to Monroe on the spur of a moment to take a look. I went to the St. Joseph cemetery hoping that maybe the lady was mistaken and I would find Alexis’ grave.  I saw a lot of Loranger graves and took pictures of them even though at the time I thought I wasn’t related to them. I later discovered, which I’ll explain later that I am.  My husband and I stopped in the office at the cemetery and talked to the woman.  She said I should go by the historical museum maybe they had some more information. So next stop the museum.  I didn’t anticipate finding anything but what I found was a treasure trove of documents.   I got land maps, showing the land Alexis owned.

obituaries, war records but most precious to me… the location of Alexis’s burial. I really felt guided to find this information. Turns out he was buried in one of the Catholic churches first grave yards that was forgotten.  The church was moved and may years later when they started to build a sub division and began disturbing graves.  It caused a big uproar and people rallied to save the graves of their founders burial ground. They erected a monument to all the first settlers and I was very happy and moved to find Alexis burial location.  They misspelled his name on the monument but in the church records it was spelled correctly. 

Further information is here and I was surprised
to see Alexis mentioned.

It was moving for me to find he burial location. I was very happy but my eyes did well up.

I later discovered that Catherine Tessier's father and their infant son is also buried here.

He was quite involved in St Antoine's Catholic church and choir.

He performed many funerals.  I also found out that Alexis fought in the war

Of 1812.  He didn't receive a military pension after the war. 

Alexis did die young at 50 from heart failure.  His wife did remarry 10 yrs.

after his death.  I have not located where she is buried.
Some of the documents I found at the Monroe historical Museum
Also a book that mentions Alexis

 Here in MI there is a Historical Museum called Greenfield Village  It houses many historical buildings that Henry Ford purchased and relocated to create a museum people could walk through and see like Thomas Edison work shop for example.  In this village is a “Loranger Mill”  which was built by Edward Loranger in Monroe, Mi.  I always wondered if it was an ancestor.  So I researched it.  I read a historical account that said Alexis and Edward Loranger lived together for a period of time in Monroe.  Which got me to thinking…Why would Alexis and Edward live together?… so I thought they must be family.  Also who would travel all the way from Quebec, Canada to a wilderness with Indians unless you know someone there…Right?  So I looked up Edward Loranger’s genealogy- and Alexis and Edward were cousins….their fathers are brothers…their Grand father Pierre Thomas Rivard dit Loranger (my 5X great grandfather)  So yes- that mill at Henry Ford Village is from one of my relatives!
Quite astonishing and impressive to me!
This is book that mentions Edward & Alexis

And this is the original Edward Loranger house in Monroe.  It is occupied. Historical records that at the time this was built Indians lived on all sides of Edwards land.

Also those Loranger graves that I photographed are from Edward Loranger’s line and they are also cousins of mine.  Apparently the Loranger’s were an important  part of the early civilization of Monroe.  There is even a Loranger Pavilion
I just found that Edwards father is the one who donated some of his land to the town of  Monroe after the Indian Massacre in the War of 1812. The towns people couldn't agree on where to put things so he donated land for town streets, the courthouse and town square.
So surprising to find out all this information that no one
in our family knew.  I know this is a long post but it was a lot of
Research I am excited to have found.
This is just the tip of the ice berg of the Loranger genealogy that I have been able to uncover with my research  I’m excited to say.  I will do another post that takes me to Quebec Canada ancestors.
I should note that my mother is 100% German and I will attempt to research her side of the family later, but I think it will be much more difficult with international documents.  I will have to upgrade to the International Ancestry Account.
So this is this is my paternal Line that I'm sharing so far

David Loranger  B1944+ Felicitas Dingler B1946
John W Loranger B1907 + Leona Walling B1911
Walter L Loranger B1872 + Mattie Greilick B1882
Peter J. Loranger B1829 + Marie Lousia Bratt B1838
Alexis Loranger B1784 + Catherine Tessier B1801
I have had an Ancestry DNA test completed which has verified that I am 99% European. 

So if you are interested in finding out about your ancestry, It can be done even if you are inexperience like I am. The Internet is a wonderful thing,  full of information right at your fingertips.

Friday, June 3, 2016

My spring that flew by...

Some bunny chewed up my charging cord to my surface and its taking forever for my new cord to arrive it seems. So I will do this post from my phone pics. Here are a few of my new clay creations.

garden plaques. 

Inspired from this photo I took of a real giant dragon fly on my work door.

Also I have been planting away...

My husband extended planting beds for me around my greehouse. I'm so thrilled with them and think it looks so much better than last year.

I used the extra space to plant a lot of cooking & medicine herbs, vegetables and flowers.

Now they all just need to grow.

Hope you enjoyed your spring and have a wonderful summer!