Tracing SSNs

I was up late one night trying to remember the date of my father’s death. As it turns out our neighbor whom I did some caregiving for in hospice died on the 25th anniversary of my father’s death. Somehow, the website that I looked at to find the date of of my father’s death (Yes, it does seem I should either remember it or look at my documentation but, I keep my documentation on memory sticks) also explained why my Dad’s SSN started with the digit 7.  My father worked for the railroad (Burlington Northern & Pullman company), so, that is why his ssn started with a 7.

Here is what I found in my search that night:

Carl Branstrom sorted by name

Here is a link to a website that explains the first 3 digits of SSNs. I found it very informative.

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The Olympia Fields golf club years

My latest genealogy search has taken me to the 1920 census for my father. This was the only time my father and his family lived outside of Evanston, IL. The 1920 census has them living on Lincoln Hwy near Western Ave in Olympia Fields, IL. This confirms that they were living on the grounds of the Olympia Fields golf course. The census shows that they had a boarder living with them named Harry David.  I had always heard this was the case and that Gramps was a caretaker/greenskeeper. In 1920, my father was 7 years old.

Dad Gramps Uncle Ed Olympia Fields Gramps Nana Branstrom Olympia Fields

Hjalmar Annie Carl Olympia FieldsUncle Ed Dad Olympia Fields

It is interesting to me that some of the other census entries have addresses on caddy ave. I could only find Caddy street north of Vollmer rd on the Flossmoor country club. Scott ave. is also listed on the census and is located east of Western ave. in what is now Chicago Heights, IL.

I have always wondered how my grandfather was chosen for this opportunity and recently I found the following article regarding the development of the Olympia Fields country club that provided me with some of the answers:


Matteson clearly was the focal point for area farmers, but in the 1890’s it began to be economically surpassed by the new Chicago Heights. In that decade, thousands of acres in Bloom Township were bought by the Chicago Heights Land Association. That group of investors was soon able to get Bloom to change its name, and announced the creation of a new manufacturing and industrial center. The population went from a few hundred in 1890 to about 4,000 in 1900. Chicago Heights became, at least for awhile, one of the most important new industrial towns in the Midwest.

In the booming, speculative 1920’s golf courses and housing developments were mushrooming in the suburban Chicago area, though few made it much past 1929. Olympia Fields is one example; the town dates from 1927, fashioned around the earlier golf course. One such venture was planned in 1926 by Victor C. Carlson, an Evanston builder and developer. He envisioned a complete city–Indian Wood, he called it–centered on the old Batcheldor farm at Sauk Trail and Western. A sales office was constructed, and an 18-hole golf course laid out on the northwestern corner of that intersection; three more courses, he promised, would be added. That golf course today would be roughly bounded by Western, Orchard, Sauk Trail, and perhaps Lakewood. It was to be for the private use of the many new homeowners who would shortly be moving into the Indian Wood development.

The trouble was, they didn’t. The idea didn’t catch on. No new homes were built. Consequently, in the spring of 1929 the new Indian Wood Golf Course was changed to a public daily fee course, and it was quite successful that summer. A “Station Wagon” was provided to bring people from the Flossmoor IC station, greens fees were reasonable, and the food served in the old Batcheldor farmhouse, now the clubhouse, was good.

In October 1929, Carlson lost much of what he had. There are conflicting reports of the extent of his Great Depression losses and when they occurred, but the Indian Wood property was later taken by a syndicate of individual investors and eventually by Chicago’s First National Bank. Carlson made what seems to have been his last substantial effort to make his property succeed in 1933. In the area just west of Western, between Sauk Trail and Monee Road, he built a camp-like resort, with small wooden cabins, a dining hall, and a recreation building, all renamed Beacon City. He advertised for Chicagoans and tourists to see the big city during the day and then come out to Beacon City to spend a lovely night in the country. It didn’t last very long.


Gramps worked construction and landscaping in Evanston. He must have worked for Victor Carlson. I am not sure how long they lived in Olympia Fields but, I know my father was confirmed and went to Boltwood jr high in Evanston, so, they must have returned by 1928 – 1929. My Dad became friends with Alice, Mabel, Sue & John Carlson. The Olympia Fields Country Club must have also been where my Dad learned to play golf. I wonder if they still lived there in 1928 when the US Open was held there.

olympic-fields 1928 US open

I also notice a large family with the last name Spaulding on the 1920 census. This family was originally from Scotland. After reading some of the history of the Olympia Fields CC and golf courses in general, I find A. G. Spaulding of baseball and sporting goods fame  was instrumental in the development of golf courses and also known for sponsoring golfers. Tom Bendelow the designer of the Olympia Fields country club was sponsored by A. G. Spaulding. I wonder if the Spaulding family in the census were related.

My father worked most of his adult life for the railroad (Burlington Northern and Pullman Company). This is yet another connection to this article. The Olympia fields golf course was played by many Chicagoans that took the Illinois Central to the Flossmoor stop. Dad used to talk about the Illinois Central quite a bit and I certainly remember the grand Illinois Central Station that is no more.

Another piece of the puzzle has been discovered.

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Grandma Anna Burgund Huber

I feel as though I sometimes leave out / overlook my mother’s family. Maybe it’s because their American roots go back further than my father’s family. Maybe it’s because she died in 1946 which is 10 years before I was born

My mother’s mother Anna Burgund Huber was born in Ste Marie, Illinois, December 12 1883 according to the information regarding her death. My birthday is December 13th and my first cousin Liz Huber Webb’s birthday is December 12th.

1900 Census information:

Name:    Anna Burgund
Event Place:    St. Marie Township St. Marie village, Jasper, Illinois, United States
District:    100
Gender:    Female
Age:    16
Marital Status:    Single
Race:    White
Relationship to Head of Household:    Daughter

Birth Date:    Dec 1884
Birthplace:    Illinois

Father’s Birthplace:    France
Mother’s Birthplace:    Ohio
Sheet Number and Letter:    7B, Household ID:    134, Line Number:    72
Affiliate Name:    The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number:    T623, GS Film Number:    1240308
Digital Folder Number:    004113767, Image Number:    00410

Household    Role    Gender    Age    Birthplace
Peter Burgund    Head    M    51    France
Rosalia Burgund    Wife    F    52    Ohio
Joseph P Burgund    Son    M    18    Illinois
Anna Burgund    Daughter    F    16    Illinois
Clemence Burgund    Son    M    14    Illinois
Rosalia Burgund    Daughter    F    14    Illinois

I cannot find any information regarding her marriage to Francis (Frank) Huber but 1910 is the year my Aunt Sis (Lenora) was born and here is the census information:

1910 Census information:

Name:    Lenora Huber
Event Place:    Ste Marie, Jasper, Illinois, United States
District:    84
Gender:    Female
Age:    0
Marital Status:    Single
Race:    White
Relationship to Head of Household:    Daughter
Birth Year (Estimated):    1910
Birthplace:    Illinois
Father’s Birthplace:    Illinois
Mother’s Birthplace:    Illinois
Sheet Number and Letter:    9B, Household ID:    201, Line Number:
Affiliate Name:    The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number:    M1283, GS Film number:    1374306
Digital Folder Number:    004328188, Image Number:    00999

Household    Role    Gender    Age    Birthplace
Frank Huber    Head    M    27    Illinois
Anna Huber    Wife    F    24    Illinois
Lenora Huber    Daughter    F    0    Illinois
Theresa Valbert    Servant    F    53    Illinois
I find it very hard to believe that they had a servant! Maybe it was because it was pre-depression. Maybe it was Anna’s Aunt because her mother’s maiden name was Valbert.

Death Information from

Name:    Mary Anna Huber
Event Date:    30 May 1946
Event Place:    St. Marie, Jasper, Illinois
Gender:    Female
Age:    62
Birth Year (Estimated):    1884
Birth Date:    12 Dec 1883
Birthplace:    St. Marie, Illinois
Father’s Name:    Peter Burgund
Father’s Birthplace:    Germany
Mother’s Name:    Rosalie Valbert
Mother’s Birthplace:
Occupation:    Housekeeper
Residence Place:    St Marie, St. Marie, Jasper Illinois
Spouse’s Name:    Frank Huber
Burial Date:    01 Jun 1946
Burial Place:    St Marie, Jasper, Illinois
Cemetery:    St. Marys
Digital Folder Number:    4005313, Image Number:    1846
GS Film number:    1991242, Reference ID:    cn 19219

Citing this Record:
“Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947,” index, <i>FamilySearch</i> ( : accessed 17 Sep 2014), Mary Anna Huber, 30 May 1946; citing Public Board of Health, Archives, Springfield; FHL microfilm 1991242.

In the picture on the left, Grandma Huber is standing between her sisters Bathilda & Rose. In the picture on the right, Grandma Huber is sitting with my cousin Jack on the steps of my Aunt Sis (Lenora) farmhouse.

bathilda_rose grandma_huber_jack

My mom used to tell me that Grandma Huber had 13 0r 14 children & that only 7 lived to adulthood. Their oldest son George (Poss) died at age 26. His daughter was born after his death from parkinson’s disease.

Grandmother Anna Huber grave

Grandma Anna Huber obit

George Poss Huber grave

George Poss Huber obit


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Irish Genealogy

I did some family research for my friend Patty Spellman Hayes a couple of years ago. Her family is from County Mayo in Ireland. She was looking for some information on her grandmother Sarah Jordan. I was able to find some information, even though, this is a fairly common name. For her family records in the U.S. / Chicago, I went to

Here are some of the other resources I used.

The following link contains free information for some of the following:

  • Newport County Mayo births 1872 to 1919
  • Marriages
  • Cemetaries

Another resource for County Mayo:

The following link contains some of the history of County Mayo:

This can be drilled down further to the parish records.

The national archives census of Ireland for 1901 & 1911 are also online, as follows:

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Gramps and Uncle Hugo draft registration WWI, WWII?

Imagine my surprise when I saw that Gramps & Uncle Hugo had registered for the Draft for WWI & WWII!

Gramps registered for WWI, 9-12-18 at age 34. They were living in Olympia Fields, IL at the time on a golf course, he was caretaker, grounds/greens keeper.

Hjalmar Branstrom Draft registration WWI

Uncle Hugo registered for WWI, 9-12-18 at age 36.

Hugo Draft registration WWI

Gramps registered for WWII, at 58 years of age (this must have been 1941).  The address listed is the house I grew up in with the same phone number. My father would have been age 28 at the time. I cannot find a draft registration for my father but, he is not in the age range at the top of the registration. He also worked for the pullman company at the time and spent the winters in Florida working on the troop trains, so, maybe he was exempt.

Hjalmar Branstrom Draft registration





Uncle Hugo registered at age 59 (the registration has age 47 but, that can’t be right if it was 1941). Also, for the person that will always know your address he lists my grandfather but, the wrong address.

Hugo Draft registration

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Min Far Mor (My Father’s mother)

My Grandmother Anny (Annie) Amelia Hägglund was born 08-07-1887 in Kåge, Sweden. She arrived in the United States on June 2oth, 1906 on the SS Baltic. She was 18 years old. She traveled with Edith Gronlund (16) & Elin Raf (18). They are listed as Servants in the ship’s registry.

Her sponsor is listed as: Albin Vikkum (Wiklund, Wikstrom) 804 N. Central, Austin, Chicago, IL.

Elin Raf’s sponsor is: Gust Johnson, 5759 Aberdeen Chicago, IL.

I have been unable to identify her whereabouts from 1906 to 1908. I have been told she was a servant somewhere in Chicago. There are also stories about her traveling with the family that hired her to Whitehall, MI (a place my Aunt & Uncle would have a summer resort from the 1940s until last year). The ‘summer’ girls would walk to Whitehall from Michillinda/Sylvan beach on their day off (Sunday) which is approx. 7 miles each way.

She married my grandfather Hjalmar Branstrom on 09/17/1909 by a justice of the peace (William Stacey) in Chicago. Here is their wedding picture.

Hjalmar Anny Branstrom 2

Her sister Margaret (Kristina Margareta in the swedish database) arrived in the United States 1/7/1910 on the Adriatic. Her sponsor was her brother-in-law Hjalmar Branstrom. Aunt Margaret worked for the Hungerfords (Burlington RR). The story goes that she helped my dad get a job at the Burlington RR where he worked before the Pullman company.

I wish I knew more about my grandmother Anny but, I don’t know too much because she died before I was born.

I know the following from other family members:

  • She served my brother cereal with creme, instead of, milk.
  • She was very religious. I keep a copy of one of her saved bible lessons in my purse.
  • She spoke swedish at home and my mother who lived with there never knew what they were talking about. She assumed that they were talking about her.


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Min Far Far (My Father’s Father)

My grandfather Hjalmar Nels Branstrom was born 10-3-1883 in the small town of Ersmark Sweden. He grew up on a farm with his brother Johan Hugo and sisters Jenny & Hildur. In 1903, he traveled to America and joined a small group of immigrants from Ersmark in Evanston, IL.His sister Jenny immigrated in 1909 and his brother Johan Hugo immigrated in 1910. Hugo had married in Sweden and had a son Fritz (Fred). His wife Adeline & son Fritz immigrated in 1912. His sister Hildur remained in Sweden.

My thought regarding why Evanston, instead of, Chicago is because the 1st immigrant from Ersmark settled in Evanston and sponsored subsequent immigrants from Ersmark. From my research, John Albin Gronlund was the immigrant from Ersmark he was in the 1896 Evanston phone directory.

Our family moved in with my grandfather the year I born because my grandmother passed away.

My favorite childhood memories of my grandfather:

  • Him sitting on the front porch in his chair listening to the Chicago Cubs on his transistor radio.
  • Running to the corner drugstore to buy him the newspaper (Herald American) or snuff (Seal brand). Sometimes he would give me a nickel for a popsicle or push-up. I bought snuff from Gramps & cigars for my Dad. I was probably in my 20s before I realized you were supposed to be 18 to buy tobacco products.
  • Him calling me his little Boom Boom because I was always coming home with bloody knees from playing in the alley.


Johan Johansson family:

Johan Johansson Swedish database

My grandfather was Nils Hjalmar Brännström (1883-10-03).

Min farfar var Nils Hjalmar Brännström (1883/10/03).

In 1903, he came to America on the Friesland to Philadelphia. He traveled with Nils Bergmark (1883-04-06) son of Eva & Johan August Bergmark of Ersmark. His sponsor was Albin Gronlund 1026 Florence Ave. Evanston, Illinois.

År 1903 kom han till Amerika på Friesland till Philadelphia. Han reste med Nils Bergmark (1883/04/06), son till Eva & Johan August Bergmark i Ersmark. Hans sponsor hade Albin Grönlund 1026 Florence Ave. Evanston, Illinois. Jag mailar en kopia av fartyget registret är det inte bra kvalitet.

Hjalmar Nils Brannstrom married Annie Hagglund (9-17-1909).

Son Ben Edward born 4-23-1911, died 1-20-1912.

Son Carl Arthur born 3-5-1913, died 4-30-1991.

Hjalmar Nils Brannstrom gifta Annie Hägglund (1909/09/17).
Son Ben Edward född 1911/04/23, död 1912/01/20.
Son Carl Arthur född 1913/03/05, död 1991/04/30.

Nils Bergmark married Ellen Lagenhof (10-7-1905).

Son Bertel Bergmark born in 1906

Daughter Mabel born in 1908

In 1910, they lived at 1224 Cleveland in Evanston, IL. Nils Bergmark’s brother Karl born 1889 lived with them.

In 1920, the family lived in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

In 1929, Nils died.

In 1930, the family lived in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Daughter, Gladys born in 1909.

Nils Bergmark gifte Ellen Lagenhof (1905/10/07).
Son Bertel Bergmark är född 1906
Dotter Mabel född 1908
År 1910 bodde de på 1224 Cleveland i Evanston, IL. Nils Bergmark bror Karl född 1889 bodde med dem.
År 1920 bodde familjen i Benton Harbor, Michigan.
År 1929 dog Nils.
År 1930 bodde familjen i Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Dotter, Gladys född 1909.

My grandfather’s sister Jenny Brannstrom (1887-01-03) came to America in 1909. She traveled with Frans Bergmark son of Eva & Johan August Bergmark of Ersmark. Her sponsor was her brother Nils Hjalmar 1700 Washington St. Evanston, IL.

Jenny Brannstrom married Olaf Edward Lind (b. 1887)

Son, Ralph Lind (b.1927)

Min farfars syster Jenny Brännström 1887/01/03) kom till Amerika 1909. Hon reste med Frans Bergmark son Eva & Johan August Bergmark i Ersmark. Hennes sponsor var hennes bror Nils Hjalmar 1700 Washington St Evanston, IL. Jag kommer att maila fartyget registret.
Jenny Brannstrom gifte Olaf Edward Lind (f. 1887)
Son, Ralph Lind (b.1927)

My grandfather’s brother Johan Hugo Brannstrom (1882-03-05) came to America in 1910 on the Lusitania.

His wife and son Adeline Öman Brannstrom and Fritz H Brannstrom came to America in 1912 on the Lusitania.

Son, Fritz (Fred) H (b. 1910)

Son, Raymond H (b.1914)

Daughter, Ruth (b. 1921-01-31)

Min farfars bror Johan Hugo Brännström 1882/03/05) kom till Amerika 1910 på Lusitania.
Hans fru och son Adeline Öhman Brannstrom och Fritz H Brannstrom kom till Amerika år 1912 på Lusitania.
Son, Fritz (Fred) H (f. 1910)
Son, Raymond H (b.1914)
Dotter, Ruth (f. 1921/01/31)

I have researched other people that came from Ersmark/Skelleftea to Evanston where myself and my family lived, as follows:

9-29-1902 on the Celtic from Liverpool,

Anna Nystrom, age 24, 1432 Main St., Evanston, IL

Bessy Nystrom, age 22, 1432 Main St., Evanston, IL

Hilma Anderson, age 22, Brother G. Davidson, 541 Florence Ave., Evanston, IL

Oscar Enmark, age 20, no sponsor

Johan Carlberg, age 18, Sister Hanna Gronlund, Evanston, IL

Gotthard Gronlund, age 19, Brother A Gronlund, Evanston, IL

Jag har forskat andra människor som kom från Ersmark / Skellefteå till Evanston, där jag och min familj bodde, enligt följande:
1902/09/29 på Celtic från Liverpool,
Anna Nyström, ålder 24, 1432 Main St, Evanston, IL
Bessy Nyström, ålder 22, 1432 Main St, Evanston, IL
Hilma Anderson, ålder 22, Brother G. Davidson, 541 Florence Ave., Evanston, IL
Oscar Enmark, 20 år, ingen sponsor
Johan Carlberg, 18 år, syster Hanna Grönlund, Evanston, IL
Gotthard Grönlund, 19 år, Brother A Grönlund, Evanston, IL

Another person from Ersmark document is Nils Burman.

Nils Burman married Hilma Anderson (11-16-1909) at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Evanston, IL.

In 1910, they lived in Evanston, IL. Victor Lundstrom born 1888 lived with them.

En annan person som nämns i Ersmark dokumentet är Nils Burman.
Nils Burman gifte Hilma Anderson (11-16-1909) vid Immanuel Lutheran Church i Evanston, IL.
År 1910 bodde de i Evanston, IL. Victor Lundström född 1888 bodde med dem.

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