Research Consultant for Minnesota and Illinois
Robert Aurelius of Sauk Rapid, MN is the 1,000th member of the Welsh-American Genealogical Society.
Native to Chicago, IL, Robert (Bob) Aurelius, is a semi-retired business owner manufacturing custom eye wear for Lasers, Glass Blowers, X-ray Radiation and general Prescription eye wear. He began research on his family history about 17 years ago after a family reunion that he notes brought many relatives together and talking about old times and long lost relatives. He started his genealogy organizational efforts using format sheets he found hard to use to develop family relationships. About eight years ago, he purchased his first computer and found the genealogy work much easier to enter and track. At present, he has 700+ names in his file – a feat he notes to be "somewhat of a miracle" because of his last name being very rare in relation to the more common surnames. He found his paternal relatives were of Welsh descent and notes he has had a difficult time finding many of them since he started his work late in time after the passing of many of them.
Bob notes a story handed down in his family tree was result of research by John Hand Aurelius in Union City, Indiana in 1931 in which it reports three brothers named Aurelius came from Italy in the mid 1700s and settled on farms in or near Risca or Newbridge, Wales. The names of the three were John, (m. Catherine Williams, he is buried in Muni Rolling Church. At some time he moved to Tydfil, Glamorganshire and there died. He owned a pub and was known as the "Jack of Clubs.") Thomas (m. Margaret Watkins b. Merthyr) and Edmond (Never married, he is buried in Herriford Cathedral). Bob continues his research trying to find proof of the brothers having originated from Italy and surmises they may have gone to Wales to work on stone work. John’s son, Thomas, was noted as having been an innkeeper, the family having run the Dynevor Arms which is still in existence as a public house. Son Joshua ran the Dynevor Arms until about 1890 when he bought the Navigation Hotel to serve the miners working in the pits.
In Chicago in the 1920s, the family was involved in music in various ways including the "Aurelius Quartet" as well as a mezzo-soprano who studied at the conservatory. Many members of the family held strong connections with the Masonic fraternal organization. Bob has gathered a great deal of information on the family from all over the world including Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Wales, Great Britain and Sweden.
Bob noted, "I guess that my fantasy is to someday be able to really relate to Marcus Aurelius, who in his memoirs wrote the line, Do not delay in your Quest, truly look beneath the surface." Bob strives now in his retirement to tie together the missing pieces of his family’s story. "I liken the name Aurelius to the chemical symbol for Gold ‘AU’ – I seek the golden thread that may someday open the door to all of the murky information and for once be able to say ‘yes! It is truly finished!’" says Bob.
Even when new to WAGS membership, Bob displayed the spirit of volunteerism that has brought WAGS into the 21st century by offering his time and knowledge to help WAGS members. If WAGS members have questions pertaining to research sources in the State of Minnesota, Bob will be glad to respond to those questions and offer his guidance and suggestions from the perspective of a resident of the State.
LAST UPDATED: Saturday, 17, October, 2009