Friday, October 21, 2011

Profile: Mary Conrad Simonsen

One of the reasons I wanted to start a family history blog was to share my research on my family.  This week, as a result of my post “I Found My Great-Great Grandfather” I made contact with a cousin who gave me critical information to track one of my relatives, Mary Conrad,  and pointed me to another cousin, who was a descendent of Mary’s. As luck would have it, when I went through the boxes I described in “Treasures from Mom’s House”, I found pictures of Mary Conrad.  I figured this would be a wonderful opportunity to share the information I have on her and where it came from.  I thought my new found relatives would appreciate seeing it too.
Mary Elizabeth Conrad was born in Christiansted St. Croix to C.A Conrad and Sophia Amalia Frederica Andersen between 1860 and 1865.  Mary was my great grandfather Andreas’ younger sister. The 1900 census lists her date of birth as February 1864.  The other censuses (both US and St Croix) list only her age, and  they don’t agree exactly.  The earliest, from 1870, lists her age as 10. Her marriage record dates her birth at 1864 as well. Hopefully I will find primary evidence to settle the matter.
New York Passenger Lists, 1893-Mary Conrad
1893 Passenger List - Mary Conrad
Mary Conrad appears in the 1870, 1880, and 1890 St. Croix census living at 18 King St., with her parents and siblings, including her older brother, my great grandfather.  Mary was the youngest of four children according to census records.  If the 1864 date was accurate, there was a 5 year gap between Andreas (the third) and Mary (the fourth child). The other children were born about 2 years apart so it is possible that there were other children in between who didn’t live to be included in the 1870 census.

ary travelled from St Croix to the US in 1893.  This passenger list, dated November 14, 1893 shows that she travelled on the Pearl from St. Croix to New York.  What is interesting about this is that there is only one passenger listed on the page, and the collection shows that this is the only page in the passenger list for the Pearl on this trip.  Why Mary Conrad was the only passenger is unknown.
Simonsen-3 kids (Medium)
Simonsen Family - c. 1898
According to the New Jersey Marriages, 1678-1985 on, Mary E. Conrad (age 31) married Harold Simonsen (age 29) on November 26, 1893 in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey – a mere two weeks after arriving in the US.  A descendent of the Simonsen family in Denmark found me through this blog and told me that Harold was Danish and spent time in St. Croix and St. Thomas, as a soldier and possibly as a jailer.  I have not been able to locate him in the census, but that only means that he wasn’t in St. Croix in 1890.  The St. Thomas censuses have not yet been indexed.

Mary and Harold (Harald) apparently moved to Union Co, NJ where they started their family.  By 1897 they had had three children, Lauritz (b. 1894), Dagmar (b. 1895), and Anna (b. 1897).

Either through visits or mail, the Simonsens maintained contact with the Conrad family back home.  While going through the aforementioned “box of treasures”, I found this cabinet card, taken in Elizabeth, Union Co, NJ.  Written on the back was: “Mr. and Mrs. Simonsen & children”. Given the age of the smallest child, Anna, this picture must date from about 1898. The 1900 census shows the Simonsen family living in Cranford, Union Co.
Simonsen-6 kids (Medium)
Simonsen Family - c. 1903
The Simonsens had three more children, Harold J (b. 1899), Nels (b. 1901), and Hans (b. 1904).  We found a second picture that shows the family with 5 children.  The youngest, Nels, appears about one, so the picture must date from about 1901-1902.

The family appears in the 1910 and 1920 census living in Bayonne, Hudson Co, NJ. Mary and Harold don’t appear in the 1930 census, although I did locate Lauritz and Dagmar, still in Bayonne.

According to the Bayonne Times Death Notices Index 1915-1945, Harold Simonsen died in 1928, and Mary Simonsen followed in 1929, just in time to miss the 1930 census.


  1. David,
    Mary was the only passenger taken on at St. Croix, each port had it's own page.

  2. I look forward to reading your findings... fascinating!
    Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

  3. Thanks for the comment. That would be a reasonable conclusion, but there was only one page in the collection for the ship on that day in New York. There were no other records of passengers from the Pearl for surrounding days either. So, at the very least, she could have been the only one getting on in St. Croix and the only one getting off in New York. Doesn't mean she had the ship to herself!

  4. David!
    Thank you so much for posting the pictures of my great grandfather, Harald, and my great grandmother, Mary...
    My granddad, Lauritz, is their eldest child...It is spooky, though..
    my brother, my one daughter, one niece and my brother's son...all look like Mary Conrad!!
    I am thrilled to add you to my family!!!

    Donna Dietz Powers (daughter of Katherine Simonsen Dietz)