Need help tracing a name back

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eric5021
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Need help tracing a name back

Postby eric5021 » 02 Jul 2010, 01:01

I am trying to find out information about my great grandfather's parents. He was from Denmark, but my grandfather is pretty sure his mother was Italian. His name is Svend Henry Johnsen. When he came to America, he was called Sydney. According to my grandfather, he was born in New York while his parents were on vacation and went back to Denmark with them. He had 2 sisters, Ella Johnsen and Seia Johnsen who stayed in Denmark. He came back to America, fought in World War 1 and was discharged in New Orleans, where he settled. He was born in 1899 and died in 1964. He was married to Antoinette Valenti and they had 2 kids, Donald and Gloria. Gloria died and Donald is losing his memory, but swears his grandma was Italian. He does not know there names. I would appreciate any help because I have hit a dead end.

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Eric

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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby johnnyonthespot » 02 Jul 2010, 02:04

I must be tired as I am having a hard time following your narrative. :)

If any of the persons involved were in the US at any time after 1940'ish, they would have had a social security card, the application for which required that they list their parent's full names including mother's maiden name.

If this sounds at all helpful, then visit http://genealogy.about.com/od/online_re ... equest.htm to learn how you can obtain a copy of a deceased person's social security card application.
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby eric5021 » 02 Jul 2010, 02:27

Johnny,

I checked the SS Death Index and I could not find him. Do you have any other suggestions for finding something about him?

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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby johnnyonthespot » 02 Jul 2010, 02:36

Is it Svend/Sydney Henry Johnsen that we are looking for then? Born 1899 (Denmark?), died 1964 (New Orleans)?
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby eric5021 » 02 Jul 2010, 02:42

From what I know, he was born Svend Henry Johnsen to parents living in Denmark in 1899. I was told he was born in New York while his parents were on vacation, but some in my family think he made that up to join the Army in World War 1. They say he came back to America as a merchant marine. He died in New Orleans in 1964, and his obituary said Sydney, which everyone called him when my grandpa was growing up.

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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby johnnyonthespot » 02 Jul 2010, 02:46

eric5021 wrote:Johnny,

I checked the SS Death Index and I could not find him. Do you have any other suggestions for finding something about him?


The online index is far from complete:

Deaths included in this index may have been submitted by a survivor requesting benefits or in order to stop Social Security Benefits to the deceased. Most of the information (about 98%) included in this index dates from 1962, although some data is from as early as 1937. This is because 1962 is the year that the SSA began to use a computer database for processing requests for benefits. Many of the earlier records (1937-1962) have never been added to this computerized database.

http://genealogy.about.com/od/vital_records/a/ssdi.htm


You can still request a search of SS records, even without a social security number. See http://genealogy.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi= ... t/main.jsp
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby johnnyonthespot » 02 Jul 2010, 02:51

You can try for a Louisiana death certificate for Svend; http://wwwprd.doa.louisiana.gov/LaServi ... ce_id=3436

States vary; in New York, death certificates list social security number of the deceased as well as parent's names (although this information is often in error).
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby johnnyonthespot » 02 Jul 2010, 02:58

How firm is that 1899 date?

I found a WWI Draft Registration Card for Henry Sydney Johnsen, born March 13, 1898, occupation Farmer, residing in Evangeline, Louisiana. Next of kin Eliza Pitre (?) Johnsen.
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby eric5021 » 02 Jul 2010, 03:32

1899 is an approximation. My grandpa knew he was 65 when he died, and we know he died in 1964. This could be him Where did you find the WW1 Registration card?

Also, I remember his family was from 30 miles south of Copenhagen.

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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby johnnyonthespot » 02 Jul 2010, 04:05

eric5021 wrote:1899 is an approximation. My grandpa knew he was 65 when he died, and we know he died in 1964. This could be him Where did you find the WW1 Registration card?

Also, I remember his family was from 30 miles south of Copenhagen.


I found the draft registration on Ancestry . com; I have attached it below. Truthfully, Evangeline is quite some distance from New Orleans, about 175 miles.

See this thread ( http://italiangenealogy.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=15686/ ) for information on how you might be able to obtain a substantially better copy.

Getting back to the social security death index for a moment, the upshot of that section I quoted above is that if a person never collected or collected and died before 1962, they are probably not going to be listed in the online index. My suspicion is that Svend/Sydney/Sidney never collected, having died right around age 65 and that is why you cannot find him in the index.


http://i820.photobucket.com/albums/zz12 ... IDraft.jpg

Image
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby johnnyonthespot » 02 Jul 2010, 04:19

I think you are also going to need to consider the probability that "Johnsen" is most likely not the original spelling. Afew more likely choices would be Johansen, Jonsson, or Jonssen - not that I am expert on Danish names.
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby Seraphina » 02 Jul 2010, 11:20

Hi,

Have you checked on Ellis Island for entries for him? It might give you some idea of his family's movements to and from USA.

I found several Svend Johnsen (in fact, there are many people with that surname), but no Svend Henry Johnsen.

Seraphina

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eric5021
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby eric5021 » 02 Jul 2010, 13:05

Johnny,

The name may have changed, but my grandpa claims that his sisters in Denmark had the same spelling that we do. However, he is not very reliable anymore.

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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby PeterTimber » 02 Jul 2010, 13:29

In furtherance of your research perhaps www.danelink.com can be a source for you.

further go to www.familysearch.org and put in his name. Under ancestor search you will come up with all the variations starting with Svend. What you need here is research on your part for all the variations in the spelling and in the approximate birth year if the birth year is unknown. =Peter=
~Peter~

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eric5021
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Re: Need help tracing a name back

Postby eric5021 » 02 Jul 2010, 14:00

This is the only document I can find on him (his death notice)

http://files.usgwarchives.org/la/orlean ... pi1964.txt


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