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Life Insurance policy bought by Robert James McFarland

image of insurance policy

Robert James McFarland was the youngest child of Andrew McFarland and Anastasia Sadleir, born 1879. Emigrated to America in 1897 (the last of his siblings to emigrate), and is listed in the 1900 USA census as living in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, with his sister Matilda, and two brothers, Thomas and Frederick. Nothing else is known about him. The company which issued this policy still exists in 2005, but was unable or unwilling to answer questions about this policy.


A Fraternal Beneficiary Society Incorporated, Organized, and doing business under the laws of Illinois

Trempealeau, State of Wisconsin, Feby 17th 1889
To the Head Camp Modern Woodmen of America, and to the Members of Liberty P...
Camp, No. 2813, located at Trempealeau, County of Trempealeau, State of ...

I hereby make application for membership in your camp and the Society of the MODERN WOODMEN OF AMERICA, and [ask]
indemnity in case of my death while a member in good standing in said Society in the sum of one thousand dollars ($1000)
and for such purpose I hereby tender to said Society the following true and complete answers.

The following captures the genealogical claims in this policy, located by Alberta horan (a neice),
but a scan of the text may be seen (on CD only). Underlined words were hand-written :
Robert's account of dates and ages is partly but not wholely accurate ; e.g., Robert probably filled this out in 1899 (not 1889).
and we have Irish birth registrations for his 4 sisters, giving their birth dates as [Matilda] October 1964, [Charlotte] May 1867, [Caroline] October 1868, and [Juliana] February 1874. These birth dates correspond exactly (within 2 days) of what Charlotte wrote in her bible.

  • I was born in Ireland on the 24 day of December, 1879, and am now
    19 and 20 years of age. Are you married? No
    Charlotte's bible and letter from Balygawley give Robert's birthdate as 24th Dec 1878.
  • What is your occupation? Laborer. Place of business Trempaleau
  • [omissions
  • I direct that the benefit Certificate which may be issued to me in pursuance of this application recite as beneficiries ..
    $500 to Fred McFarland Trempaleau State of Wisconsin , brother
    $500 to Thomas A. McFarland Trempaleau State of Wisconsin , brother
  • Witness F.S. Metcaff
relationship Age if living age at death cause of death How long ill &
date of death
father   64 Inflammation
7 years
mother   54 Injury
to back
4 Months
brothers 4 24      
  4 yrs Chorea  
  3 mos inflammation
sisters 6 20      
Father's father   98 don't know don't know
Father's mother   89 don't know don't know
Mother's father   68 don't know don't know
Mother's mother   99 don't know don't know
Comments on the accuracy of Robert's data (above) by Tom McFarland in 2013
  • Age at death for father (Andrew Jr.) and mother (Anastasia): Robert's data roughly accurate
  • Two brothers born March 1871 and December 1872; ages in mid-1899 are both 28
  • Two brothers died young: Robert's data accurate
  • Sisters were as follows (Robert's data seems inaccurate):
    • Matilda (born 1864, age 35 in 1899)
    • Charlotte (born 1867, age 32 in 1899)
    • Caroline (born 1868, age 31 in 1899)
    • Sophia, born and died 1875)
    • Juliana (born 1874, age 25 in 1899)
  • father's father (Andrew McFarland Sr.): born 1790, died 1857 age 67 (Robert's data not accurate)
  • father's mother (Martha Delap): born about 1800, and 1880 photo exists (Robert's data probably accurate?)
  • mother's father (John Sadleir): born 1800, died 1865. Robert's data roughly accurate
  • mother's mother (Jane Sadleir): civil death record, died age 89. Robert's data not accurate

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