Category Archives: Family Spotlight: Harney

Surname Saturday: Harney (Part 2)

I promised you that I would continue my search for Fredrick Harney.  This is Part 2, where I am continuing trying to break down this brick wall.  You can refresh your memory of what I’ve already found by reading Part 1.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census:
Thanks to a comment left by Cynthia on part 1, I was able to find Fredrick Harney in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. His household is as follows:
*Fred Horni – male, white, age 64, widowed, born in Germany, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated to U.S. 1872, naturalized, black smith in own shop
*M. Foster – servant, female, white, age 54, widowed, born Germany, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated to U.S. in 1884, housekeeper for private family
I knew Fredrick was hiding somewhere in the 1910 census. He is indexed as “Fred Horm”, but when I look at the document, I see “Fred Horni”, which is easy to confuse.


Based on the 1900 and 1910 federal census, Fredrick immigrated to America in 1872.  So I began my search on, but I’ve been unsuccessful thus far.  I’m noticing that my difficulty is that I only have a possible year of arrival.  I don’t have any idea as to what port he came into, what port he left from, who he was traveling with, or a date.  I am lucky in the sense that I have a possible year, but I also know that Fredrick is an ancestor who is good at hiding.

Did He Marry Again?
I find it to be unlikely that Fredrick married again since he was not married in the 1910 federal census and he died in 1911.  However, it is possible that he married again but I have not found a marriage record to prove that.

The Final Resting Place
Over the last week or so, I began asking my mom some questions about what she knew of the Harneys.  I knew that in the 1980s she had taken a trip to Indiana.  She told me that she has seen the actual stone with Fredrick Harney’s name on it.  I got so excited that I immediately grabbed the closest pen and paper.

Then I hit a brick wall again.  When my mom had visited the cemetery, it was in the middle of a snow storm.  As a native Californian, she considered the weather too extreme.  When she went to see the stone, she stepped out of the warm car and snapped a quick photo.  She wasn’t concerned with getting a good picture – she was concerned with getting back in the warm car!

I’ve found the pictures my mom has taken.  While a stone can definitely be seen, the picture is taken from too much of a distance to read the words on the stone.  So close, yet so far away.

Still Stuck…
While I moved a few bricks, this is ancestor is still a brick wall.  If you have any further suggestions or comments, I would be greatly appreciative of any help you can bring me.


Surname Saturday: Harney (Part 1)

My great-great grandfather, Fredrick Harney has been a brickwall for me since I began doing my genealogy. His story has been a bit of a struggle for me to find because he is an Austrian immigrant and German/Austrian genealogy is not my strong point. To make matters more complicated, his wife has been married before, has kids from this former marriage, and rumor has it he married his daughter-in-law’s sister. Are you confused yet?

I first came across the Harney family in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. The family is living in Hobart, Lake County, Indiana. The household is as follows:
*Fredrick Harney – white, male, age 35, married, blacksmith, born Austria, parents born Austria/Austria
*Margaret Harney – white, female, age 38, wife, married, keeping house, has Neuralgia, born in Prussia, parents born Prussia/Prussia
*Mary Harney – white, female, age 14, daughter, single, school, born Austria, parents born Austria/Prussia
*Frank Harney – white, male, age 10, son, single, school, born Austria, parents born Austria/Prussia
*Edward Harney – white, male, age 2, son, single, born Indiana, parents born Austria/Prussia
*Frederick Harney – white, male, age 6/12, son, single, born Indiana, parents born Austria/Prussia
*George Becker – white, male, Grandfather, age 76, widowed or divorced, cannot read or write, born in Austria, parents born Austria/Austria
Based on the above information from the 1880 U.S. Census, here is what I can know:
  • Fredrick Harney was born about 1845 in Austria.
  • Both of Fredrick’s parents were born in Austria.
  • Fredrick is a blacksmith by trade.
  • Margaret Harney was born about 1842 in Prussia.
  • Margaret is ill with a disorder called Neuralgia, which causes pain in nerves for no reason.
  • Both of Margaret’s parents were born in Prussia.
  • The two oldest children, Mary and Frank, were born in Austria.
  • The two youngest children, Edward and Fredrick were born in Indiana.
  • Based on Edward’s age and place of birth, the family has been living in Indiana for at least 2 years.
  • George Becker is probably Margaret’s father.
Next, I found Fredrick Harney in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census in Hobart Township, Lake County, Indiana.
*Fr Harney – Dad, white, male, born Nov 1846, age 53, widowed, married 24 years, born in Germany, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated in 1872, been in U.S. 28 years, naturalized, blacksmith
*Fred Harney – son, white, male, born Nov 1880, age 19, single, born in Indiana, parents born Germany/Germany, day laborer
*May Hemstreet – daughter, white, female, born Sep 1865, age 34, married 9 years, has 4 children, 4 children living, born in Austria, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated in 1873, been in U.S. 27 years, naturalized
*William Hemstreet – grandson, white, male, June 1892, age 7, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*Frank A. Hemstreet – grandson, white, male, Apr 1894, age 6, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*Margaette R. Hemstreet – granddaughter, white, female, Sept 1897, age 2, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*Frederick E. Hemstreet – grandson, white, male, Feb 1899, age 1, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*M.T. Hemstreet – son in law, white, male, Apr 1864, Apr 1864, age 36, married 9 years, born in New York, parents born New York/New York, book keeper
So based on both the 1880 census and the 1900 census, here is what I can know so far:
  • Fredrick Harney was born in November 1846 in Austria or Germany.
  • Fredrick Harney is a blacksmith by trade.
  • Fredrick Harney probably married his wife, Margaret, around 1876.
  • Fredrick immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 and is naturalized.
  • Frederick Harney was born in November 1880 in Indiana.
  • Mary (Harney) Hemstreet was born in September 1865 in Austria.
  • Mary (Harney) Hemstreet immigrated to the U.S. in 1873 and is naturalized.
  • Mary (Harney) Hemstreet has four children, all of which are born in Illinois.
  • Mary Hemstreet is most likely married to M.T. Hemstreet, born April 1864 in New York. The couple was probably married about 1891, possibly in Illinois.
I then began to wonder when Fredrick died. A search on in the database, Indiana Deaths, 1882-1920 gave me this find:
*Frederich Harney, Sr. died on 11 Apr 1911 in Hobart at age 65.
But this still leaves me with so many other questions:
  • If Fredrick really is naturalized, then where is his record?
  • Where is Fredrick and Margaret’s marriage record?
  • Where are Fredrick and Margaret buried?
  • Where are the passenger lists that list Fredrick, Margaret, and the kids?
  • Where is Fredrick on the 1910 census?
  • Are the rumors true that Margaret was previously married? If so, then to who?
  • Did Fredrick marry a second time after the death of Margaret?
Stay tuned until next week, when I will write part two of this series of posts.

Google A House

Today I read Randy’s post about how he found information (including pictures) of the home his mother and grandmother lived in by searching for the address in Google, I was inspired – and I knew exactly what home I wanted to search for.

Last month, my Great Auntie Bub (Elizabeth Harney Pieren) passed away. She lived a long and full life, but it still has shaken my family up quite a bit. We all have so many wonderful memories of her, and we are all so blessed to have known her.
And all of us know her house. It was the house that my great grandparents bought. It is in the Maple Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington on a corner lot. It is a two story house with only one bathroom (only a tub – no shower). It has one bedroom downstairs, and 3 upstairs (you have to walk through one to get to the next, since there aren’t any hallways upstairs).
Even though I am now a young adult, I still can’t put my finger on what makes that house so magical. Maybe it has something to do with the history of the house (built in 1911) and the variety of people who have lived in the house throughout it’s history (up to 17 at one point!). Or maybe it is the garden that used to be outside that my Great Uncle Chris maintained while he was alive. Maybe it was the all the old clothing, beds, photo albums, and odds and ends that could be found upstairs. Truthfully, I think it is a combination of all of these.
My cousins and I were only allowed upstairs during the summer, when that house would host the Annual Ping Pong Tournament and party. My uncles would fly up from California for a few weeks and sleep in the upstairs bedroom. My cousins and I would spend hours up there – exploring the old vanity (which had more bottles of perfume than a department store), exploring old coats (we found money in there once!), or just using our imaginations.
We would pretend that we were top secret spies and we were to protect a government party. We would pretend that we worked in a salon or that we were fashion designers. But the best game of all was hide and seek (the closets seemed like the never-ending wardrobe from that book, Narnia)
Point is, this house means a lot to me and my family. It has been years since I’ve seen it in person but I want share what it looks like. Click here to see a picture of the house, thanks to

How I Use Zoho To Stay Organized

Disclaimer: This article contains information about a website called Zoho. While I very much like the website, my opinion was not swayed by the company in any way. I was not contacted by the comapny to write about them or was I paid in any way for writing this article. Honestly – I just love this website and find it extremely useful.

One of my biggest problems when doing research is that I am doing research all over the place. I never know when I’ll have free time at my boyfriend’s house to do a search or when I’ll have free time after studying to do a search or two. When I am researching, I used to write everything down on regular lined paper but I didn’t always want to lug around all of my paper to all of these different places. I knew I had to come up with another way of doing things.

As I was brainstorming ideas, I remembered a website that my boyfriend’s dad told me about: Zoho is a website that provides a huge variety of “collaboration and productivity apps” for free! These apps include a word processor, a spreadsheet creator, a presentation creator, an email service, a notebook (similar to the old Google Notebook), a wiki, a planner, and more! Each of these apps are free of charge and everything you save on there can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection. This was exactly what I needed.
So I took my the ancestor that I was working on at the time, Friedrich Harney, and began to create my notes in Zoho Writer (the word processor). The sheet I create is unique and fits my needs perfectly because it is 100% adaptable. I included a breakdown of the major events in Friedrich Harney’s lifetime, along with a breakdown of the sources for each event. This is extremely helpful since I hadn’t picked up my Harney line in a long while and I couldn’t exactly remember why I thought certain things about him. On this sheet, I also write about what I need to discover about him and any theories I have about him. This sheet provides me with an “at-a-glance” look at Friedrich Harney as a whole – including what I have on him, what I am missing, and any theories I may have. Another benefit? I can easily print this page out and place it in my notebook.
I also created a research calendar for Friedrich Harney in Zoho Sheet (spreadsheet program). If I wanted to I could create a Zoho Notebook for him that includes “clippings” from different websites. I could use Zoho Chat to collaborate with another researcher without having to download an instant messaging program like AIM or Windows Messenger. The possibilities are huge and adaptable to your needs.
In an age where everyone is beginning to move things online, I highly suggest that you check this website out. You can login with either a Google or Yahoo account, or you can create a Zoho account (I recommend doing this since it is required to have a Zoho account when using their apps in Facebook, etc.).

A Love Story Told On Napkins

As I was going through my grandparents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary Album the other night, my mom and I got to talking about them. She told me the stories she’s heard from when they first began dating.

My grandparents both lived in Seattle in the late 1920s and early 1930s. My grandparents met through the catholic church that they both attended.

Margaret Harney (my grandmother) was nearly ten years younger than Max Doerflinger (my grandfather), but that didn’t stop Max from trying to get her to go on a date with him. After a few months of resisting, Margaret finally agreed to one date. She was 16 and he was 24.

However, one date quickly turned into two, then three, and soon, Margaret found herself out with Max nearly every weekend. He would take her to underground clubs (which they called speak-easies) every weekend so that they could dance.

But the courtship turned to more intensity as Max began falling more in love with Margaret. He began writing her love poems on the napkins during dinner at the clubs. He began bringing her flowers and new ribbons for her “gorgious blonde curls”.

She saved every single napkin that he wrote on and saved every ribbon he ever bought her. She even pressed the flowers he gave her in a book and kept all of this stuff in a medium sized box with two bronze doves kissing eachother, which he made.

After my grandparents died, the box was given to my aunt, Diane. Unfortunately, no one knew that Diane would soon be diagnosed with schizophrenia…and now the napkins are gone.

So while I’ve never seen these napkins, I know about the love that my grandparents shared during their “honeymoon stage”.


Wow – Grandma Doerflinger Was An Amazing Woman

Today, my mom and I were watching a show about the amazing heroic things that people have done.  My mom and I started discussing some of the heroic things we’ve seen and heard about.

“It is ordinary people that seem to do some of the most heroic things.  It is like how Grandma Doerflinger lifted a car because there was a man trapped underneath it,” she said.
“Excuse me?” I said in disbelief.
“You’ve never heard that story?” she asked.  Then she started telling me the story.
It was 1940 in Santa Monica, California.  My grandma was home alone with her three children, all under the age of five.  Her husband was working at McDouglas Airplane Factory.  A family friend as over, fixing the car.
My grandma had just gotten the twins (my uncles) down for a nap when she decided to offer some lemonade to the family friend who was working on the car.  When she approached him, he was adjusting the cinderblocks that was lifting the car from the ground.  After some small talk, he slipped himself underneath the car and continued his work.  She turned to return to the house when the cinderblocks slipped and the car came crashing back down on top of the man working on the car.
My grandmother screamed for him, but when he didn’t answer she began screaming wildly.  An older gentleman who was walking by the house ran over to my grandmother to aid her.  She then bent down and lifted the car while the older gentleman pulled the family friend out from under the car.
The story goes that for two weeks my grandmother had to stay in bed.  She couldn’t move and had severely pulled about every muscle in her body.
The family friend was lucky to survive and only suffered from some broken ribs and a concussion.
I honestly find this to be a rather heroic act and something that she certainly didn’t have to do.  It was such a selfless act and it gave me an insight into the grandma I never knew.

How Music Defines A Generation

Some people say that music defines a generation.  Think of the era of jazz where teenagers went to secret underground parties to dance.  Look at the era of the forties, where music was centered around patriotism and bringing our troops home.  We could go to the sixties – where the hippie movement created a sexual revolution, a wave of drug use, and a call for peace.  Some even argue that the era of classic rock through the sixties and seventies is the only true music.  And we could talk about the seventies with disco and the eighties with…well, as my mom puts it, “We all dressed horribly, drugs were rampant, and the music was horrible,” (Not to offend anyone who likes the music of disco and the eighties.

And then we can go to an era that I lived through: The nineties.  Between the boy bands, the Spice Girls, and Britney Spears – well, that era kept the screaming pre-teen girls like me very busy with an obsession.
I always knew that music had a big impact in my life and in the lives of my family members.  But I never realized how involved certain relatives of mine were in music.  And this morning, I received a glimpse into the life of my Auntie Shirley, a self proclaimed “wild child of sorts”.  
Born as the fourth child of William Harney and Ethel Weston Harney in 1920, Shirley was the black sheep of her family.  While all the other girls of the family were polite, ladylike, and trained in playing classical and religious songs on the piano, Shirley was out wrestling the boy next door for making fun of her dress.
In the forties, Shirley hung out in small clubs singing and dancing with the soldiers who were getting ready to go to war.  When Seattle threw a parade after WWII ended, Shirley was one of the pretty girls riding in the back of a car, singing patriotic songs and blowing kisses to the soldiers.  At one point, she even jumped out of the car and started swing dancing in the middle of the street with a soldier who “couldn’t take his eyes off” of her.  With a chuckle, she explained the fury her father expressed after multiple soldiers came over asking for permission to take her on a date.
Even when I was a kid, my Auntie Shirley knew how help me find my voice.  By the time I knew her, she was blind, but that didn’t hold her back.  Despite her lack of sight, she knew her way around downtown Seattle and would take me to these wonderful old buildings, telling me about what what cool “hole in the wall” joints they used to be.  I used to love listening to her and picturing what it was like for her to be dancing down the streets.  
But it was when we reached a church that she attended that she really shocked me: She told me that I was going to sing in front of all the old ladies who came together to play bingo every week.  I was terrified, and as I tried to sing, my voice was quiet with nervousness and cracked right as I felt the tears coming to my eyes.  That is when she told me sit next to her on the piano bench and began playing this quick, fun song.  She then started singing and told me to sing along.  Within minutes, I felt empowered and could sing on my own.  I was this nine year old kid, singing and dancing with all these old ladies and having a blast.  I gained so much confidence that day, and I bonded with my Auntie Shirley more than ever..
So maybe music is what defines a generation – or maybe it is the generation that defines a generation.  (I’ll leave this philosophical thought with you…)