My family’s story starts with Anna Harder landing in Ellis Island from Munich, Germany.

Illinois 200th Birthday

My family’s story starts with Anna Harder landing in Ellis Island from Munich, Germany. Anna married Paul Holtz. Together, they moved to Chicago into Paul’s cousin’s home. Paul was informed that there were jobs in Bloomington on the railroad system. Paul and Anna moved where they had their daughter, Agnus. This would be my Great-Great Grandma. Agnus worked in Peoria at the telephone company marrying Roy Coake. They had a daughter named Donna Coake who is my Great-Grandma.


On my Grandma Kim’s paternal side, I was able to find some information as well. Starting with, James Cotter Jr.’s father was James Cotter Sr. and he came here to America when he was 14 years old on a ship by himself from County Cork, Ireland. He landed in Ellis Island, from there he traveled to Michigan to live with his sister Brida. From Michigan, he then moved to Tiskilwa, Illinois, and married Anna O’Neil. They had a son, James Cotter Jr. This is my Great-Grandpa. James came to Peoria to work and met Donna Coake.


On my Grandpa Dan’s paternal side, I was able to find out some family information from my Great Grandpa Gary. There were three Archdale brothers traveled from England to Ellis Island. One of the Archdale brothers, John, moved to North Carolina territory. He became the governor of Archdale, North Carolina. The other 2 brothers moved to Chicago for work. My Great-Grandpa stated that David Archdale was born in Glasford and had a son named David Archdale, Jr. David married Gladys Weidman; they lived in Logan Township and bought property outside Hanna City back in 1941. He married and had children; one of the sons named Gary Archdale, which would be my Great-Grandpa.


On my Grandpa Dan’s paternal side I was only able to get information from my great Grandma Betty. She said that her father, Raymond Gilstrap, was a coal miner in Missouri. Raymond married Bernice Vawter. Due to a coal mine shut down they moved to Farmington. Raymond and Bernice had children, one of them being my Great grandma Betty Gilstrap.