Category Archives: Coleman

Part 1 – The Long Saga to Find Anna Elisabeth Johnson’s Family

She was only 45 years old and died a heart wrenching death. Her death certificate states that she died of shock following an operation. My grandmother Hazel filled in the details. Anna had been having stomach pains of some kind. The doctor came to the house and actually operated on her there. Anna bled to death and my then 15 year old grandmother had the job of mopping up what she recalled as being buckets of blood. Anna’s  death certificate also states that she was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and that her parents were F. W. O. Johnson and Margaret Brown, both born in Denmark. Anna’s birth date is not given, but says that she was 43 years old.

My grandmother knew her mother’s father, as he lived in the house with the family, at least until Anna died, but that is another story. She said his name was Frederick William Oscar E. Johnson. She never knew Anna’s mother, who died before Hazel was born. She didn’t even know her name. or had forgotten it if she had heard it when she was younger.

Back in 1979, the latest census open to the public was the 1900 census. Off I went to the library and found the Calais, Maine page with the Coleman family. In the household were the following:

Coleman, William, 65, born June 1834

Coleman, Sarah, 67, born May 1833

Coleman, Hartwell, 30, born Dec 1869

Coleman, Anna, 27, born Sept 1872, Denmark

Coleman, Hazen R., 5, born Feb 1895

Johnson, Frederick W.O., 55, born May 1845, Denmark

Redding, Rebecca R., 8, born Sept 1891

The immigration year is written over on the census record, but the Johnsons clearly arrived in the 1880’s. The last number could be a 3, 4 or 5.

Five doors down the street, I found a boarder, Henry Johnson, born Mar 1879 in Maine and parents born in Maine. Hazel told me that her mother had a brother named Henry that she had known, but that he died a long time ago and hadn’t married. Even though the census taker reported that this Henry and his parents were all born in Maine, I found it interesting that he lived in close proximity to my Colemans.

Six doors away was the family of Jones S. Coleman, brother to Hartwell Coleman and son of William and Sarah Coleman.

This was the sum total of what I knew about the Johnson family.  I was working at the time and I couldn’t travel to Salt Lake City, so I did the next best thing – I hired a Danish researcher.  More to come in my next post on the results of that project and the questions it raised.