Patricia Quinn and Camille Warzecha

Recorded May 17, 2010 Archived May 17, 2010 37:34 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: DDC000822


Pat Quinn (63) talks to her friend, Camille Warzecha (67), about her family history and genealogy, the source of her historical curiosities, and the evolution of historiography in the digital age.

Subject Log / Time Code

Pat’s grandfather, John Anderson, immigrated to Wisconsin with his parents at age 13 from Norway.
Pat discusses the coincidence of her moving to Little Falls, Minnesota, before learning that her grandfather moved there after the Civil War.
Pat revisits her grandfather’s origins in the Midwest United States and how he brought his family to California.
Pat considers the source of her historical curiosity, her grandmother-in-law’s passing away and leaving behind objects and information.
Pat discusses the information she wants to find out about her great grandmother, Phoebe “Nellie” Rasnack.
Pat considers the contrast in historiography during the digital and internet age, as compared to her analog search for family history.


  • Patricia Quinn
  • Camille Warzecha

Recording Location

Great River Regional Library - Little Falls

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type

Fee for Service


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00:04 I'm Camille Suzanne. Warzecha. I'm 67 years old. The date is May 17th, 2010 and we are Little Falls Morrison County Minnesota at the Carnegie Library.

00:18 And I am Patricia Mae Quinn and I go by Pat and 63 years old. Today's date is May 17th, 2010 and we are located in Little Falls, Minnesota Morrison County and Camille and I are friends through the genealogy organization.

00:44 You remember that one? I didn't remember that part. What would you like to talk about today Pat?

00:53 I'd like to talk about my mother's grandparents. I'd like to start out first though to to mention who my parents are and both sets of grandparents. But my mother's Grandparents were were very unique. We didn't know anything about them.

01:12 First of all of introducing myself which I just did. My parents are Roy Leonard Anderson. And my mother is Shirley Marie Clyde Anderson and my father's side. My grandparents are all Norwegian. So my father father is full-blooded Norwegian and they are from Norway and lived and grew up in Wisconsin. My mother's family. Her father was the last of 17 children and needless to say he was evidently considered spoiled because he didn't have to do as much as the other ones, but I'd like to tell you about his father. His name was Henry Smith Clyde and when I went to to visit with my mother about her grandparents, she didn't really know anything about

02:12 Them she was 3 years old when her mother passed away from pneumonia and her father.

02:22 Was or became an alcoholic and so is she grew up. It was an environment of stepmother not a stepmother and just with relatives and friends and and she moved about and family stories weren't shared. So she just didn't know much about them at all. She knew about her mother's grandparents, but not her fathers.

02:52 You mentioned Norway did was that there were they first generation or second generation? How long ago did they come from Norway with my grandfather? John Anderson came as a young man about the age of 13 with his family and I really don't know what brought them to America, but I know they came he came with his parents.

03:19 Did they end up doing any particular kind of jobs where they Farmers or whatever they did? They come to do Lil Jon they had to farm to survive. But what I understand from my father and my aunt Louella is that he didn't like farming cell farming was not his thing. He worked for call the Stout Lumber Company in Wisconsin. And so he did whatever jobs there were other than farming. My grandmother was actually the one who took care of the cattle and did the milking and did the farming and gardening for them to survive and that she also came from Norway as a child relatives in North Dakota promise to educate her if she wanted to come to the United States and so she was put on a ship with another family.

04:19 I came here to North Dakota and what she found out when she got here was the education she got was behind oxen plowing and it was not a very happy situation for her. But at some point in her young age, she left those relatives and walked across the fields to a neighbor sort of adopted her and she finished growing up there and then met my grandfather. Did she go to school at all then when she or push I don't think her it's the neighbor didn't send her to school, but I don't know how many levels of of Education she went through.

05:03 Now you said you knew nothing about your Clyde great-grandfather, correct? How did you and your mother didn't and so how did you go about finding out what there was to learn about? It's it's a fun story. First of all Henry is Scotch-Irish. And when I went to ask my mother about him or about her grandparents, she kept saying while I really don't know anything, but when I get a chance, I'll ask the relatives in California. Now, you have to understand my mother grew up and was raised in California. Never had been to Minnesota. The only reason she's here is she met my father during the war in California. They married and came back to Minnesota where his job was waiting for him after World War II and so she's the only one out of that family that ever left the state.

06:03 And but she adapted to Minnesota. It was very different than California. Yes, but going back to tell you about my great-grandfather.

06:16 My mother was visiting with a cousin in Oregon and Harold brought out pictures and in memorabilia. My grandfather was a stilt Walker with the carnivals and circuses in Harold was as well, even though they were uncle and nephew there was only eight years between them. So they sort of grew up together and as he was going through all the different papers, he found his mother's birth certificate, which was my grandfather's sister on there. It said she was born in Little Falls Morrison County Minnesota. Well by coincidence, I live here only because my husband's job brought us here. And the only other reason I've ever been to Little Falls was when I was a young child my father and mother bought their first boat from Larsen's here called The Falls flyer. And so we drove here picked up.

07:16 The boat and took it back to Hastings Minnesota, which was where we grew up where I grew up all my life who is really a coincidence that do ended up its fate is no fate, but I think it is just I was meant to be brought to Morrison County. So going back to telling you about my great-grandfather. My mother picked up the phone she called and she said Patty you've got to go see if my father was born in weren't, you know in Little Falls and went to the courthouse and the rest is lots of History. I found that my great-grandfather came here after the Civil War. He went into the Civil War in this is Henry Clyde as a young man in Iowa and after the war he went to Carver County Down by the Twin Cities and then to Morrison County so he came to Morrison County in 1871 and at that time

08:16 If you were in the Civil War you were given land and if you farmed it didn't and killed it and lived on it. So many years it became your acreage. He did that. And in the meantime on his way to Morrison County when he was in Carver County. He met his first wife and he and Emma married and had their first child down in Carver County. Then they came to Morrison County in the 1871. And from there. They had more children Emma died. He remarried and many times in those years. They remarried because they need someone to care for the children. And so then he married a lady named Susan Thompson. They were from Morrison County and they had children.

09:12 And then Susan died giving childbirth to a set of twin girls and one of the twins died the other survived and that's another fun story to to figure out how I discovered her.

09:28 And after Emma died or not Emma. I'm sorry Susan then he married my great-grandmother. And her name was Phoebe rasnake and they lived in Morrison County than almost 27 years. They left Morrison County about 1899 1898 and they traveled West my great-grandfather Henry Clyde was a County Surveyor. And so he did a lot of cruising for the lumber company and I think that's what took him West but while he was here, he was County Surveyor for Morrison County and did many other little jobs, but mainly was a a surveyor.

10:18 You mentioned to me one time about the really adventurous. I thought trip that you took to on your own to search for information about that side of the family the Clyde side of the family in California. And did you tell me a bit about that? I did do that. I it was sort of a genealogy panic attack. I think I realize those that had information on this great grandfather and my great-grandmother were older and they seem to all of a sudden be be passing away dying and I felt this urgency to try and learn as much as I could about them. And so I took a sabbatical from work and I took two months planned out my whole trip and went West I started and went through the Dakotas did a little research on my

11:18 Norwegian side my father's side and then every state I went through Montana. I discovered the very first sister, my grandfather had was living there with her family. And as I met people and of course I made arrangements prior to going but I met people relatives along the way and every time I met a new relative, they gave me a new hint or clue or pictures or something that kept me moving forward. And so that trip took me through Montana, Washington, Oregon California, and that's how my mother ended up in being born and raised in California's though. It seems like many times when one family member would go west the other family members would go west as well or whatever Direction they were going and that sort of was the case with this this family.

12:18 And

12:21 When I when am I trying to think here when I was in Washington at one point my great grandmother and great-grandfather divorced wasn't something you ever heard about divorced since In 1902 just to me wasn't even up a clue and when I was in Spokane, I did find divorce papers and it took my own philosophy, but I've thought that the reason they ended up divorcing was they had a death of their two-year-old and down.

13:00 The three younger boys the two-year-old and then the two older boys were playing with a gun and there was a large newspaper article in the Olympia Thurston County Washington newspaper about that and how sad it was and what happened and it was within two or three years that the family fell apart. The divorce happened in the divorce records that talks about my great-grandfather being in Alaska for the piano looking for gold and my grandmother.

13:38 Disappeared for probably 20 years 15-20 years after that. I still have not totally found her all those years, but they divided the children up the very young once my grandfather went with Grandma great grandmother and great-grandfather took the older children, but as I researched and look learn more about it, none of the children seemed to stay with the parents other relatives took them or the older siblings raised the children. And so it was the oldest sister that raised my grandfather from probably less than a year old age and

14:30 This been many stories and how I've located all of this information and it's just been a wonderful experience.

14:38 You wanted to talk a little bit more about the I could think the still walking and the carnival. Did you have you found out more about that part of the in Washington when they were in Washington, they lived in Olympia Washington and in my great-grandmother's sit her children, there were six or seven. The oldest daughter is the one that raised my who is the youngest my grandfather and Grace met a man that was a trapeze artist with the surfaces and I believe that's how she went into it because their wedding announcement talks about there being married under the big top up in Washington and after that as some of the brothers of my grandfather grew up,

15:38 They all did cloning or stilt-walking for professions GIF pictures. I do have some pictures of the funny thing about that is on this trip. I took a 1980-1990 three relatives that I met along the way provided pictures for me and I also spent some time down in Baraboo Wisconsin and there's a circus archives down there. I found the the best photo they are in there except my grandparents my grandfather and grandmother there and make that is the archive in for all of the surfaces and they focus a lot on stilt Walkers as well, but it's a circus archives.

16:29 Library down there and you can sit for hours and go through I found they call them bills or their booklets that shows what the performances are and who's going to be in the performances with circuses. And that's where I found my grandfather's name and his brothers names and and those kinds of things I was able to confirm who they were and where they were at certain times of their life.

17:01 Really interesting not many people have that much color and I understand my great-grandfather Henry Clyde was also very talented as a musician and he was also because he was in the Civil War. I'll go back and talk about Henry a little bit. He was very dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic the g a r and he helped form the g a r here in Morrison County. He formed one out in White Salmon Washington and he was always very active as an officer or a member and what's interesting about that part of it is that I've been able to get archive material.

17:52 And in books that that talk about him being in certain places at certain times and that's been very helpful and left a trail that yes. He left a very good paper trail. It was a matter of figuring it out minding it which took a little bit of work. He also when I say he was a musician they had a band and I'm forgetting the name of the band here in Morrison County and he and his brother both played as musicians in that band my great-grandfather. I mentioned married my great-grandmother Phoebe rasnack. She went by Nelly and for many many months, I could not find anything on her until I realized in some documentation that she really went by Nelly. And so then I was able to find her in newspaper articles in document.

18:52 Some a lot of different things after that.

18:57 I know just because I know you and the organization but are they were involved in together the genealogy Society? What do you think led to your curiosity and about genealogy and family history when it started a long time ago when my husband's grandmother passed away in South Carolina, he and his mother were the only surviving family members that inherited everything and had to take care of the estate while we were new in on young married couple one child and down at that time. He had maybe one week's vacation a year two weeks vacation. So having South Carolina be where we had to go and take care of things. We took one week vacation time went out there. There was no time to have rummage sales and go through things. We just loaded the dressers up and all the things that we were going to have to take care of it back.

19:57 Karen Minnesota after that after we were home in Minnesota as I was going through the dressers, I found that Grandma and her name is Bertha Quinn saved a lot of obituary notices from the paper a lot of photos. She had of all of my husband's family and it was just like a treasure hunt when I was going through that. So from that point on that really triggered my interest in family history, and that's what's gotten me to to move forward after I got to the easy part's the night. I tried to tackle the hard part's like asking my mother about her grandparents and her not knowing anything about him me.

20:41 Then moving forward trying to find that part of the family.

20:48 I might mention the question is my great-grandfather when he did come to to Morrison County settled in Swan River Township and his 160 Acres were out in that area today. It's all farming area, but they formed the township and he and his brother forms of Township with others. And the other interesting thing to is a lot times. I had mentioned earlier that family members tend to move together.

21:23 My great-grandfather had two other brothers one has been lost. I have a hard time finding him. But his other brother Oscar Leslie Clyde, his family has moved about in Gone with my great-grandfather from Minnesota to Washington to California and Oregon. So I've been able to track the families together and I actually was able to learn more from Oscar side of the family his Descendants on my grand great-grandfather. They are the ones that have all the treasures and then