Hello Adam, this is an interesting story. I'd suggest the first place to start would be with all the U.S. records you can possibly find for Ira. That would include death info, 1870 census, marriage and any local histories or church records. If you can find a specific birth date that would be very helpful.
I wonder what he was doing in Scipio when he died (what occupation). Why don't we see info about him being buried in Lehi where his wife and children are living? There are many questions about this individual.
On the "Person/Details" page/screen, for your 3rd. Great Grandfather ...
Have you tried the "Search Records" tools, 'right-hand-side' of page/screen ...
IF, you are 'linked' (Connected Websites, have access); THEN, the 'likes' of ...
Have you tried the 'FamilySearch' "Wiki'
Norway Research Tips and Strategies
Norway Guided Research
Norway Record Finder
As an aside ..
There is a 'Group' being "Nordic Countries Genealogy Research", in this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, that includes Norway.
Nordic Countries Genealogy Research
That 'Group' is a "Public" group, if you wish to join.
I hope this helps.
@Nordic Countries Genealogy Research - Can you help this patron?
I've read your question several times over the past week or so and looked at the Family Tree record, including all the information under notes and memories for Ira and his wife. Quite the sad story.
I've been wondering what I could contribute beyond complete pessimism.
You have a couple of major problems. First off, Ira is not a Norwegian name and you don't know if he just pulled it off the shelf or if his birth name is somewhat related such as maybe Ivar or Eric. Secondly, you don't know if Johnson was a name he used in Norway or not, or, if it was, whether it could be his patronymic or his father's patronymic. That is, you don't know whether his father or his grandfather was John, or Jon, or Johan, or even Johannes.
Then there is the short time span he was in the US. Probably less than twenty years. There are going to be very few records. And who knows how or where he could be recorded in the 1870 census. A marriage record in Utah in 1870 may not have anything other than his name. I see you have found Harriett Losee in the 1870 census. Have you checked all the neighboring residences to see if Ira is there?
I hate to say it, but this is probably one of those few situations where DNA testing is about your only hope. I would suggest having as many relatives as possible who are descended from him get tested and to do this through My Heritage. My Heritage has a huge number of Norwegian members in Norway with large trees who have done DNA testing. If you are lucky enough to have a clump of matches in Norway that are all related to each other, one of them may have done enough research to know who took off to the US about 1860 and was never heard from again.
As I side note, I don't see any justification for the source on Ira of a naturalization record. I don't see any reason to think that is the same person and you probably want to take it off before it causes confusion between two different Iras.
There is a family tree for Ira Johnson b. 1840 Norway in Ancestry.com that names his parents as Eric Johnson and Johanna Tollefesen. It includes a photo of a headstone for Eric Johnson naming his birth place of Sørsdal, Buskerud, Norway. This is a farm in Lunder parish. This gives a potential person to follow and see if he could be the correct father of Ira. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/58544610/erik-johnson @Gordon Collett Please join in an tell us your thoughts.
Following this potential lead: We see an Erich Johnson and Johanne Erichsdatter (patronymic) getting married 16 Dec 1834 in Bragernes. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/1070/15 and here https://www.digitalarkivet.no/view/327/pv00000009020712
13 June 1805 christening for Erich (in nearby parish of Lier, Buskerud). https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/8440/106
Map of Bragernes (Drammen) Frogner (Lier).
Great find in Ancestry! The people there look very confident in their data. I'm not sure about that passenger list, however, having just initials and last names. I assume they have other supporting information.
The Find-A-Grave headstone is fascinating, especially the notation that looks like 7th Handcart Co. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the family in the Mormon Migration Index in that company or anywhere.
There is a Family Tree entry for an Erik Johnson with birth date and death date and place that shows on the headstone: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/MM5C-M2C with a set of parents but with a different birth place and a different wife. However the birthplace given, Bragernes is where Johanna was from and where they got married. The ordinance page is interesting in that it shows and Endowment House sealing to that wife in 1875 suggesting a plural wife if this is the same Erik, a sealing to his supposed parents in in 1998. However no individual ordinances show so there has to be a duplicate for him in Family Tree somewhere.
If someone can find that duplicate, there may be more information to see.
I'll be looking at the Norway records now.
Here is a fascinating duplicate for Erik Johnson: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/MSLC-QGQ
It is his original Endowment House sealing to Johanne. Assuming this is an unmodified record, it has his birth date 13 jun 1805 in Lear, Norway, which is consistent with his marriage record in Drammen, and would have been what he was personally reporting. This still does not have his individual ordinances. There still must be another duplicate.
It was pretty common for people to take their father's surname as a last name after emigrating, such as Johanne Eriksdatter, daughter of Erik Tollevson, becoming Johanne Tollevson in the United States.
I would take this as clear proof that the people in the marriage record in Norway that Shari found are the same couple that got sealed in the Endowment House in 1868. I'm not merging it in (yet) because it is kind of fun to see this record and Adam should have a chance to see this, even if it is not his 3rd great-grandfather's parents.
Now to try to find children for this couple and try to find them leaving Norway for the United States as a family. I still don't like the passenger list that reported shows them leaving from Bergen, unless I am reading it wrong. I would expected people in Buskerud to leave via Oslo.
That birth record Shari found also fits perfectly because the birth date matches his headstone and matches what he told the people at the Endowment House. Also that record shows him being born at Sørsdal in Frogner sogn in Lier prestegjeld (not the one in Lunder). So I will add it to the duplicate that I am creating in Family Tree where I'm putting just completely proven data so far with each item sourced.
But again, what needs to be done is to move forward to find children and ideally moving out records.
I'm confident this is Johanne's birth record: https://www.digitalarkivet.no/view/255/pd00000005606733
It's the right place, with the right father, and only three days off from her self-reported birth date on her Endowment House record.
Here are Erik and Johanne in the 1870 census: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNCY-LFP Unfortunately, none of their children are still living with them.
Assuming Erik's headstone is correct that he and his wife were in the 7th handcart company, the summary of this book is very interesting: https://bookofmormonevidence.org/before-zion-an-account-of-the-seventh-handcart-company/
Particularly the sentence, "Saints from Norway and Sweden sailed to Copenhagen, where they joined with Danish converts in sailing to Liverpool on April 17, 1857, during the first leg of their long voyage. They landed in Liverpool on April 22 and left for America three days later, landing in Philadelphia on May 30 and traveling by train to Iowa City." and "While every member of the Seventh Company is listed on the ship roster in the first appendix..."
This contradicts the Ancestry tree's departure from Bergen in 1845 and the passenger list source that does not have first names and which I didn't like anyway. (Unless, of course, they did emigrate 12 years earlier and didn't go to Utah until joining with that company).
Anyone have this book? Anyone good at finding passenger lists that could find that 1857 voyage?
One last comment for tonight. If Erik and Johanne were in that 7th company, then they should be in the 1860 census in Utah. The only option for them is here: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MH27-Y28 and the information fits very nicely except for Erik's birth year being off a bit.
Unfortunately, they still are not listed with their children.
By the way, Norwegian naming customs would suggest that Erik and Johanna's first son should have been names after one of their fathers', that is either John or Erik depending on where they were living when he was born. Erik could easily become Ira in the US. That he was not John, suggests maybe that the family was living in Bragernes, with or near Johanna's parents, rather than in Lier at Erik's family farm. Or they could have just skipped tradition and named him whatever they wanted.
Gordon, I'm so glad you would join me in this study. I'm still hoping to find a christening of Ira (maybe Eric) in Norway. It is odd that I haven't found any children of Erich Johnsson and Johanne Erichsdatter. I believe one of them will fit with our Ira. I too thought the headstone information was awesome and was really key to the study of this family.
This morning I read through everything I wrote, fixed all the typos from typing too fast, and corrected the link to Erich's second sealing. He was so old at that time, this could easily have been a sealing only relationship to a deceased single woman that he had never met, potentially a deceased relative of his wife that never left Norway. These were common in the 1870s and we're generally advised not to add them in Family Tree or combine them in since there never really was any type of couple relationship or marriage. So unless there is proof they actually did get married, I don't think I would merge that record in, just note it as a interesting historical fact about Eriks's standing in the church as a high priest considered worthy of this.
Back to searching for children.
This search for children is being challenging, and concerning. It raises the question as to whether Erich and Johanna ever had children. I did find a passenger list for an April 1857 ship from Liverpool to Philadelphia that does have an Erich Johnson born about 1805 in Norway, but if this is the right Eric, none of the rest of the family is listed. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/8769/images/PAM425_80-0156 Could he have have emigrated first and Johanna and any children come later?
I did find another Family Tree duplicate that I am pretty confident, despite the different birth place, is for Johanna, Erich's wife, which, assuming I am correct, shows her original baptism 30 March 1854 which is identical to the date on the duplicate for Erich that Shari found and merged in. It had some work done it in New Family Search so you can't tell what information would have been associated with the baptismal record. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/27SW-N4F
Gordon, one avenue that we have not explored in this study are the early LSD membership records. I am not experienced in this area.
I don't see the Johnson family in the 7th Handcart Company, we can imagine a couple could be overlooked but less likely an entire family.
The Ancestry tree indicates a possible emigration. 7th Company did not cross until 1857 so if this is true the family would be seen somewhere in the East in the 1850 census.
Another thought, Ira's FS record indicates 1888 baptism (he would have been deceased). If this is true he was not an early member of the church.
Things were getting too confused and I had so many open tabs, that I did go ahead and merge all of the copies of Erich and Johanne we have found. To clarify thoughts, I think it is time to try and summarize things.
Erich Johnson and Johanne Eriksdatter both were born in the eastern part of Norway. They met then got married in in 1834. They had children that have not yet been found. They met missionaries and both were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on 30 March 1854. Their adult children were not interested but were more than happy to emigrate to the US when their parents did in 1857, crossing the Atlantic on the ship Westmorland with a group of Saints from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, arriving in Philadelphia June 1, 1857 and all traveling to Utah as the 7th handcart company. Erich and Johanne were sealed in the Endowment House in 1868. They had settled in Ephriam, Utah, remaining there until their deaths. A son who never joined the church was murdered at age 34 and they were able to get his ordinances done about ten years after his death.
This fairytail supposes that the Erik Johnson born about 1805 in Norway listed without any family members on the Westmoreland passenger list is the same Erik Johnson. If this is the case, it shows that the E. Johnson with wife J. Johnson and three children in the Ancestry Tree passenger list source are definitely not the couple from Buskerud.
Erich Johnson and Johanne Eriksdatter both were born in the eastern part of Norway. They met then got married in in 1834. They never had children. They met missionaries and both were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on 30 March 1854. They emigrated to Utah in 1857, crossing the Atlantic on the ship Westmorland with a group of Saints from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, arriving in Philadelphia June 1, 1857 and all traveling to Utah as the 7th handcart company. Erich and Johanne were sealed in the Endowment House in 1868. They had settled in Ephriam, Utah, remaining there until their deaths. Ira Johnson has nothing to do with this family and the Ancestry Tree is incorrect in putting them as his parents.
Fairytaile #3: What other options?
The probate record for Erich, another great find, states that Johanne is "the only heir of the deceased." Would that mean that they had no living children?
I was so hopeful looking at the probate, but alas was disappointed. I don't think the absence of a listed child/children indicates they didn't have any. I'm thinking it states all of Erich's property belonged to his wife and that nothing went to a child. We need to see if she had a probate that might name family members.
Gordon, I just enjoy your writing and possible scenarios. I have feelings that a pioneer couple with children would be fairly recorded in some records (religious or not) so I'm leaning toward no relationship between the Norway couple and Ira. Maybe there are local histories (community or church) for Ephraim that mention this couple?
I found it interesting that a story about Ira's death said he was killed and then found by Peter Schow who later marries Ira's wife. Their job was to haul freight. Why wouldn't they know for sure where Ira is buried, Peter Schow would likely have buried him and then he returned Ira's team and wagon and belongings to Harriet. Why wouldn't he bring Ira back home?
Still no luck finding children, so started looking at something else. First wanted to get the Westmoreland connected with the 7th Handcart Company.
I found a website that has a transcription of the index for the Scandinavian Mission Emigration Registers at: https://user.xmission.com/~nelsonb/scan_roster.htm Pulling this into a spreadsheet, I narrowed it down to 1857 then found a family with somewhat unique names:
Checking in the church history pioneer database for the 7th Handcart Company at https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel/companies/88/christian-christiansen-company showed this family:
Going to Ancestry.com and checking the passenger list for the Westmoreland leaving Liverpool and arriving in Philadelphia on June 1, 1857 also shows this family with the interesting difference that 15 yo Johan Wilheim got recorded as a 7 yo named Johana. This suggests the passenger list may have some flaws. The actual image does look like Julander even though it was indexed as Johnston:
Now to go through these three datasets in search of Erich and Johanne. This is the Westmoreland passenger list that has an Eric Johnson born about 1805 in Norway. I won't be able to look more at this until later today. Feel free to beat me to a conclusion!
Shari and Gordon - I'm just blown away at your ability to dig into and draw conclusions from the amazing resources available.
Shari, I agree, after reading about Ira and how he was murdered ... I wondered why his body wasn't returned to his home ... there must be more to the story.
Gordon, the possible fairy tale scenarios you shared got my mind pondering what could have happened and wondering about other scenarios.
THANK YOU to both of you for digging in. Being a complete novice with family history, I've wondered what I could possibly do to find out more about Ira and his interesting story. I so greatly appreciate your work, thoughts and help with this mystery.
I don't know what else I could possibly do to help further things along, other than cheer you on!
Shari, regarding you comment: "I have feelings that a pioneer couple with children would be fairly recorded in some records (religious or not)...." I would also think so, but checking out the pioneer database for that 7th Handcart Company, I am running across comments under the people in that company like this:
So this list on the website is all compiled from secondary sources and at least one other person is only on the list due to a note on her gravestone.
Taking a look at the emigration register, there are only five Johnson (or any variant of Johnson) traveling in 1857:
Maria Elisabet is the woman of the second bullet point above and Carolina Cecilia is her daughter. That leaves just Eric, whom I am convinced is the Eric in the Ephriam cemetery and (insert drumroll here) a Johanna. This Johanna is only three years younger than Eric instead of eight, but ages can vary from record to record.
Now if this is Erich and Johanna from Drammen or where ever they lived after being married, would adult children traveling with them who were not members of the church be listed in the mission emigration records? Probably not. But how many people would be missing on the passenger list? Johanna is not listed there with Erich. Did she not end up emigrating at this time after all? Was she just missed on the list? Am I completely off track? What we need at this point is a look at the original mission register to see if Eric and Johanna are a couple or just listed on the same page with several people between them. I can find a Johanne Johnsen age 54 on the passenger list who looks to be the wife of Østen Haakensen (indexed as Oslan Hankman) from Norway, but there is no Østen Haakensen or anyone with a last name starting on H that could be him in the mission register.
While running on the treadmill this morning, listening to a lecture on physics and the search for the grand universal theory of everything, the lecture quoted Thomas Huxley: "Science is organized common sense where many a beautiful theory was killed by an ugly fact." The same could be said of genealogy
Gordon, you've done some great study about emigration. I've had lots of questions about the compiling of names for the 7th Company.
I decided to read all of the notes in FS for the daughters of Ira and I came upon a "discussion" by a submitter named Ibellis. Here is a quote from her entry: "According to my grandmother, Della Idona Miller (Lillie Caroline's daughter), Ira was born in Norway and was adopted. I have my grandmother's orginal Book of Remembrance documents as the source."
This really perked my interest, especially the comment about ADOPTED. That could make sense for the couple we are considering for Ira's parent (we've not found any children for them). Today I sent the contributor a message asking about the Book of Remembrance in her possession and so I have hopes she'll respond. Just a small clue could be of great help. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/collaborate/KWCG-WDT
The story of Ira really tugs at my heart because his descendants need to know who he was and where he came from. It sort of feels like he was forgotten. I strikes it so odd to me that men working with hauling freight could not return his body home. It was 80 miles from Scipio to Lehi, but there are many reasons this might not be possible.
One other thought question, why is Ira's daughter, Lillie, listed as Mulatto in FS? What would be the source of this info? Now we may be back to Gordon's original statement about DNA.
Gordon, you've done a lot of nice work on the emigration and pioneer company studies. I had wondered about how the names were compiled.
I decided to review the FS info for Ira's daughters and found an interesting note that I quote: "According to my grandmother, Della Idona Miller (Lillie Caroline's daughter), Ira was born in Norway and was adopted. I have my grandmother's orginal Book of Remembrance documents as the source." The word ADOPTED really stood out to me, this would make a nice possible scenario for our Norway couple. We can't find children for them. It was also exciting to see the source for this is in a family Book of Remembrance. I've sent a message to the contributor and hope for a response.
Another interesting note on Lillie's page is the entry that she is Mullato. I'll ask the submitter about that also. I'm rather skeptic about that, sometimes people see an M and don't realize it is for married. Gordon's first comment about DNA comes to my mind.
Just today someone added information about Ira that indicates he was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The contributor also included a photo of Ira. The article states he was a well liked musician. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/memories/LLM8-T68
Fun reading! I the whole article is posted under Amanda. It has a very different version of his death. We knew he was not a member due to his posthumous baptism. We still don't know if his parens were members or not or who arranged to get his baptism done, his wife, Amanda, or his parents. If he really was adopted but his adoptive parents were never mentioned, then sorting out who his parents are is going to be even harder.
Sorry, Adam, I don't think we are going to be able to help with your brick wall, but at lease we got Erich and Johanna's Family Tree record in good shape. I'm still going to work on getting a look at the mission emigration register.
It's great that we've made some wonderful progress in this challenge. I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve and learn along the way.
Gordon, can you direct me to the article you mentioned about the article posted under Amanda? (with the different version of his death)
Sure. The three page article about her is posted as three different photographs under her Memories here: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/memories/KWJD-495
This write up says his death was accidental, that he fell asleep while driving his team.
This might be the last piece of the puzzle for now. I was able to drop by the local Family History Library and get a copy of the emigration register that shows Eric Johnson listed with his wife Johanna and no other family. They apparently got spots that became available when two other people canceled. They were to travel on the Westmoreland and paid for a handcart. The final column has a notation "Settled" which I assumed means they got the required amount paid rather than made it to Utah.
I'll attach the records to Erich and Johanne as well as the Westmoreland passenger list. I'm also going to contact the Church History department and get them added to the pioneer database.
Adam, I hope you can find out more about Ira some day. Other than pretty much proving that the Ancestry trees showing Erich and Johanne as his parents are incorrect, we haven't actually helped you much. I think I've circled back to my original advice: Join My Heritage, do DNA testing with them, hope for some Norwegian close matches, then build trees backward then forward for those matches.