Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mystery World War II Sailor...

In honor of Veteran's Day, I'm sharing this fine photo---

This unidentified sailor is most likely a World War II veteran

It came from an auction in Southern Minnesota, though he could really be from anywhere in the United States.

It's a very nice studio portrait, measuring 8x10... there are no identifying marks for the studio.

It'd be wonderful to find out his identity and return this fine photo to someone who would treasure it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gristy vs Grasty... Name Changing Genealogy

I’m fortunate (or not?) to have a number of odd/rare surnames in my pedigree – Yore, Krumholz, Risdon, Silloway, Mapson, Kincheloe, Fancher, Gristy, and my own last name of Weerts – to name just a few – 

As I profiled in Feb of 2013, my 3x Great-Grandmother was Helen Gristy O'Bryan  – and Gristy is one of the lines I have very little on – You may have noticed the title – ‘Gristy vs Grasty’ – well it seems I only have 3 generations who used  the name of Gristy – prior to that it was Grasty – at least for a generation… as I don’t really go back any further at this point.
The Grasty Genealogy by: Dolores "Dee" Merritt

Park of my dilemma is that I have to get back to the early 1800s before I even run into my Gristy line – and we all know there aren’t tons of records for this era – especially in rural Kentucky – where my people settled shortly after 1771! Prior to the Kentucky jaunt, they were residents of St. Mary’s County, Maryland – part of a large Catholic settlement, I believe… But, I digress….

I’ve already touched on my 3x Great-Grandmother – Helen Gristy O’Bryan --- her parents were James A. Gristy & Ann “Nancy” Hill [of the Thomas & Rebecca (Miles) Hill line]…. James was born in 1771, in St. Mary’s County, the oldest child of Clement Gristy & Mary Riney, who later relocated to Nelson County, Kentucky.  

James & Nancy were married on 12 Feb 1806 in Nelson County…  [that marriage record is listed in the Kentucky marriage index. ]   

They later moved to Scotland County, Missouri… though the 1840 census lists James & family in Macon County, since Scotland County was formed from Macon County, it’s very likely that they were living in what was to become Scotland County. James & Nancy do not seem to show up in the 1850 census… so either they had died by then… or I just haven’t been able to locate them…..  They had a large family, whose descendants have been pretty well documented… going back a generation is where it gets sketchy for me –

Clement Gristy appears to have been born in 1753, and was the son of Benjamin Grasty & Ann [another unknown female ancestor] – In his will dated 1774, Benjamin Grasty clearly uses the name Grasty – though his two sons [Clement & Richard] use Gristy. The reasoning behind the little name change is beyond me – also beyond me is Benjamin Grasty – who had a will dated 30 Dec 1774 and proved in Feb 1775 – according to said will there were 2 sons and 5 daughters. If both sons used Gristy instead of Grasty, it would appear that no one with the Grasty surname today could descend from Benjamin…. Though I am only speculating….

Years ago when I first wanted to tackle this line – I was able to find Grasty researcher Dolores “Dee” Merritt – who wrote and published the book ‘Grasty Family in America” – Dee did an amazing amount of research, pre-1980, long before the internet and instant messaging that genealogists today can’t imagine living without. The early info in this book is invaluable as is the breakdown of the Grasty name and the different branches… I’m not sure if the book is still available to purchase anymore, but I do have one and am happy to check it for any researcher out there.

Hopefully, one day, when I've finished my other genie projects [80 years from now] I can start working on gathering info and documentation on my 3 Gristy lines – descendants of Benjamin, Clement, and James A. – in fact, as I write this, I’m becoming excited at the thought of this project – but unfortunately, my genie archive is in a state of chaos and upheaval [I’ll spare you a lengthy diatribe]

Well, now that I’ve gone on and on – I’ve got to ask – Do you have any Gristy’s (Grasty’s) in your family tree? If so, we should compare notes.. or in my case, blank spots.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2014 North Star Genealogy Conference... Coming Soon!

The North Star Genealogy Conference is to be held October 3rd & 4th, in Edina, MN.

Not only is the brilliant Judy Russell (The Legal Genealogist) the featured speaker -- but there are some very good workshops being offered by some very accredited genealogists! [link here to all speakers]

If you aren't familiar with the Minnesota Genealogical Society, they put on some very good seminars -- and there are also many great vendors in attendance, offering about anything you can imagine to aide genealogists. 

You can get all of the information from the MGS home page, which is linked above, and read all about upcoming events. If you are just interested in seeing the program, I've linked that here as well, so you can get an idea of the subject matter.

The MGS also has a Facebook page, if you use that in your genealogy research, you can like them there to get posts about events, etc.... They also have an Events Blog, which you can follow. So a number of ways to keep in touch with Minnesota Genealogy!

Incidentally, the MGS has announced that Judy Russell will be offering a pre-conference lecture on Thursday night as well, all about DNA. The registration link for that is listed on the MGS events page.

If you have any interest in furthering your genealogical education and enjoying a day with other Dead Relative Collectors, strongly consider attending! If you see me there, come say 'Hi'!

[My apologies to the great Judy Russell... I realized that when I posted this at first, I gave her name as Judy Lewis... who was actually the illegitimate daughter of Loretta Young & Clark Cable. Guess I got my movie history mixed up with my genealogy]  

Friday, August 8, 2014

1850s Coffin & Remains Found in Hastings, Minnesota

The recent news that a body was found in Hastings, Minnesota does not come as a complete surprise to genealogists familiar with “frontier ancestors”.
If you haven’t read the articles or seen the news coverage,  I’m including links for a couple of the published stories  Hastings- Star Trib & Hastings- FoxNews.

In my own genealogy research I've stumbled more than one occasion of a "farm" or "non-cemetery" birth. Which is certainly normal... families often buried relatives on the home farm in the early days, especially in 1850s, here in Minnesota there were few established cities, let alone cemeteries.

I imagine countless burials took place on the pilgrimage to the western parts of the United States... people fell ill and died or infant children didn't survive long after birth... and it is only natural that these early folks would have buried people about anywhere they could find a place.

This recent burial, in Hastings, Minnesota, has been aged to a point of the 1850s or so... back when Minnesota was either still a territory or a fresh new state... and Hastings was nearly nothing but an early trading area.

I'm not familiar with research in the Hastings area... but it would be interesting to see if any old plat maps exist and to see what family may have owned that land in the 1860s... perhaps that unknown lady that was found this week, is a relative of early landowners.

I have one situation of an unknown burial for my Great-Great-Great Grandmother, a woman of 44 years of age, who died in 1877, a long time resident of Freeborn County, Minnesota, I've never been able to locate a burial for her.  I still keep hoping she'll turn up in an early cemetery in Nunda Township, but I fear she ended up in a quiet corner of their time... lost and forgotten to time.
Do you have any farm burial instances in your family? Or what about your knowledge of the Hastings area... and way to find early plat map listings and perhaps find out what her family name is? I wonder if the examiners of her remains were able to locate and viable DNA? Be interesting to have her run through a database.  If it was one of my relatives, I'd like her to have a proper burial spot. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Southern Minnesota Mystery Photo... Faribault County?

Mystery Photo Sunday
I have a large number of unidentified family photos... 
and unrelated photos that I've collected over the years. Hopefully I can identify some of my unknown family photos and return some of the lost treasures I've collected over the years to others.

This photo was in an album belonging to my Great-Uncle Don Yore... as far as I can tell, the photos in the album were all from Southern Minnesota... 
most from the Faribault & Martin County areas.

I do not know if they are relatives or just family friends...

It sure would be nice to know who these people are... if they aren't relatives then I could try and track down someone who would appreciate them.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Otter Tail County, MN Genealogy Resources

As a genealogist from Minnesota, I take great pride in the many resources our state has in place to aide researchers! Many, like the death index, are very well known, but many many others are not.

So I've decided to spotlight a few of the lesser known greats here, in hopes that I can connect someone with a tool they can use! 

Otter Tail County 

Otter Tail County Historical Society

East Otter Tail County Museum

Linkpendium for Otter Tail County
lots of links here!

Genealogy Trails- Otter Tail County

Otter Tail County Genealogical Society

If you are aware of any other great resources for Otter Tail County, please share!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Agnes Weber... Born 114 Years Ago

Today would be the 114th birthday of a very special lady... Agnes Weber. Aunt Agnes was a delightful lady, who was an important part of the family for over 90 years. When reminiscing with other relatives, an Aunt Aggie story will inevitably come up.
Agnes Weber as a baby

Agnes Mary Weber was born August 1, 1900 in Livingston County, Illinois (near Fairbury). She was the 4th child and 3rd daughter of William & Jacobina (Krumholz) and when she was about three or four years old the family moved to Martin County, Minnesota where Agnes grew up and attended school. In 1922 she moved into Fairmont with her family, where they operated an oil and gas station.

From 1927 to 1930 she lived in Fond du Lac, WI where she worked at a J.C. Penney store. After returning to Fairmont, she began working at the J.C. Penney store there, where eventually she became the manager of the drapery department... until retiring in 1965. After the death of her Father in 1932, she remained in the home of her Mother and helped care for her in her later years.

She continued living in Fairmont, and in 1989 entered the Lutz Wing Nursing Home. 

Visiting her in the 1990's, she was always excited to have a visit from "one of Lizzie's"... Lizzie being her oldest sister- Elizabeth, my Great-Grandmother. She would insist we go down the hallway and get her brother Frank, as he would also want to "see one of Lizzie's"... and we'd have coffee and a chat in the day room. 
Agnes Weber with her mother Jacobina
and brother Charles & niece Lois Ann
Agnes in April 1996

Agnes passed away peacefully on October 5, 1996, at the age of 96 years. She was buried near her parents in the Calvary Cemetery in Fairmont. 

Aunt Aggie was a special lady, and we have many fond memories of her. I remember her sweet demeanor and her excitement for spending time with the family of her sister who had been gone for over 60 years.