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.










Monday, July 28, 2014

Lost Postcard- Raymond Haugh...Frederick, Maryland


I recently purchased this postcard at an antique shop... interesting that it was found in Minnesota... a long way from Maryland, where it was sent 101 years ago!

After doing a little research, it seems that the sender, Raymond A. Haugh was born about 1902, in Maryland... the son of Susie Haugh. Apparently this was a child she had as a teenager as later she would marry Charles Zimmerman. 

Raymond later shows up in census records with a wife Zelda, and a son- Raymond A. Haugh, Jr.


Hopefully there is some relative of Raymond's out there, that would appreciate this little piece of history, written in Raymond's own childhood hand.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Martin Co, MN... Ed & Bert Klein... Lost Photo


I recently rescued this photo from an antique shop! 
It appears to me, to be from the 1940s... 
and is from a Fairmont, Minnesota photography studio...



On the back, someone has written 
"Uncle Ed & Aunt Bert Klein"


I do find an Edward & Bertha Klein living in Welcome, Martin County, Minnesota

If indeed this is a photo of that Edward & Bertha, I believe they had a daughter Lois who died in 2009, and there is a link here for her obituary, which is rather lengthy.

It is such a nice portrait, that I'd love to return it to someone in the family. Being it was ID'd at 'Uncle & Aunt", I assume the photo was originally given to one of their siblings who then passed it on to their children.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Online Minnesota resources we might not be utilizing....


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.

Some common Minnesota online resources that we might not be using to their full potential!? 

Facebook-- not everyone uses Facebook... 
but for those who do, it is full of 
Genealogy related groups--
Minnesota Genealogy
Minnesota Genealogy Network
Minnesota Genealogy Research
Minnesota Norwegians- genealogy
Lac Qui Parle County Minnesota Genealogy
McLeod County Minnesota Genealogy
Benton County Minnesota Genealogy
Swedish American Genealogy in Minnesota
Le Sueur County Minnesota Genealogy
Crow Wing County Genealogical Society
Martin County Genealogical Society
Anoka County Historical Society
Dakota County Genealogical Society, Minnesota
Minnesota Genealogical Society

And if there isn't a group for the Minnesota interest you have, perhaps you could start one! Some recent groups, like The Organized Genealogist have over 12,000 members!


Family Search- 23 historical collections for Minnesota. 
Use the 'Filter by collection name' box to the left & type in 'Minnesota'
They are always adding & updating their collections here-- and it's Free!

Minnesota's own birth, death, & marriage indexes
Minnesota Death & Birth Index
Minnesota Marriage Records


So is there any other great Minnesota resource out there that you use?! 
Add a comment below for all to see~

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mystery Photo... Viola Borman... St. Peter, MN

Viola Borman... St. Peter, Minnesota

Recently, I rescued this great cabinet card photo from an antique shop!

It comes from a St. Peter, Minnesota photography studio. And was actually purchased about 8 miles away...

Someone wrote "Viola Boremann" on the back side....


I've done some searching and there doesn't appear to be many "Boremann's" around. I wonder if perhaps the person who wrote this, misspelled the last name? The handwriting appears much more recent than the days of the actual photo.

It is likely that the person misspelled 'Borman' vs 'Boremann'

How nice would it be to figure out just who this little girl is... and while she is most certainly deceased today, I'd love to find a child or grandchild (or anyone!) who would treasure this lovely baby girl!

**[update- it appears that Viola Mabel Borman was born 23 July 1901 in Nicollet County, MN-- the daughter of Henry & Effie (Dougal) Borman]


[**Update- the photo was returned to a granddaughter, thanks to all readers who assisted!]

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mystery Photo... Mary Warneke... Minnesota


I recently purchased this photo from an antique shop...
It's a great cabinet card photo!

Someone wrote 'Mary Warneke' on the reverse side


It's from the Hennepin Studio, in Minneapolis, MN

I'd love to find a relative of Mary's that is interested in genealogy who would treasure this great photo!

[** Update- 10/30/15- the photo of Mary is now reunited with a cousin who will treasure it!]

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tossing Grandma's Antique China in the Trash...

Or instead of in the trash.. A Yard Sale!

This Spring, I've been enjoying the weekend past time of garage sales! As a collector, who also dabbles in resale, I'm always on the lookout for antique or retro collectibles.


8 pieces of Mickey Mouse china that belonged to the
sellers Mother, when she was a child.
Twice now, while purchasing items, the seller has shared with me-- "these were my Mother's toy tea set" and "this cream & sugar belonged to my Grandma"

Personally, I can't image selling my Grandma's antique glass cream & sugar on a garage sale for $1.00. Perhaps it's because I come from families that were poor as church mice, so that "family heirlooms" are few and far between--- and the few things that do exist, are treasured!

This pretty blue glass Cr & Sugar belonged to the sellers
Grandmother... The sellers Daughter was also there and
didn't bat an eye at the sale of the Cr & Sugar that belonged
to her Great-Grandmother!
Any regular readers here will know that I enjoy rescuing lost photos & other family memorabilia and trying to reunite it with interested family members. So it's extra hard for me to hear an actual family member getting rid of a family piece.

All of these items items were purchased from older women, who offered up the history, openly-- and the women were in the company of their own daughters, who showed no interest in the family heirloom that was walking out the garage door before their very eyes!

This interesting plate is German and the seller, who was an
older lady, told her Daughter as I was buying it that they had
gotten this plate after her Husband's Grandma passed away.
I suppose it is possible that Great-Grandma had a large Victorian home loaded with treasures, and maybe the sellers I encountered were just thinning out a large collection of items, leaving many more to be passed down! 

I say this, as it is possible in some circumstances... 

I don't believe it was the case with the people I encountered... just from the way they spoke of the items... But anything is possible.

I'm very fortunate to be in the possession of a number of great family heirlooms.. In fact, a couple of years ago I spotlighted a few of my favorite items in some posts on this very blog... and am including links here, in case you'd like to see what I consider "heirlooms"
http://thedeadrelativecollector.blogspot.com/2012/02/family-heirlooms-tangible-genealogy.html
http://thedeadrelativecollector.blogspot.com/2012/03/more-family-treasures.html
http://thedeadrelativecollector.blogspot.com/2012/08/more-family-treasures.html

I understand that people can't keep everything! I'm not suggesting that they should! I'm only saying that when something belonged to a long departed relative... we should respect it, and try and find an appropriate home for it. Because usually, once discarded... these things are lost.

A few years ago, I was at a large antique show... and there was a postcard dealer there that I had known for some years... and I was looking through her postcard offerings for my small home town... and I noticed one of a local church, it was priced $3... once I flipped it over, I saw that the person it was addressed to was the oldest sister of my Great-Great Grandfather! I thought it'd be fun to have something that was sent to her, and purchased it... without reading the rest of the writing on the card.  Later that night, I read it in its entirety.. and it was signed "Your Loving Mother S.M"... which was my Great-Great-Great Grandmother, who died in 1913. I have no idea why that card ended up being sold... but I'm just glad I was able to get it!! It's one of my prized pieces of history. To have a letter written in the hand of my 3x Great-Grandmother... it is priceless.


I'm pretty sure most genealogists aren't going to be tossing Grandma's china in the trash-- but tangible heirlooms need to be organized & documented just like our photos & death certificates! And future homes for these heirlooms should be thought about...

And if the day comes that we are tired of Grandma's cream & sugar in our china cabinet-- we should see if there isn't someone in the extended family who might treasure it-- before hocking it on a yard sale for $1.00-- because now it is gone forever!  
And what a shame that is.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Alfred Windhorn... Brown County, Minnesota

Alfred Windhorn... of Brown County, Minnesota


I recently rescued this nice portrait from an antique shop!
Someone has written "Alfred Windhorn" on the backside

After a brief search, I find an Alfred Windhorn born 22 March 1886 in Brown County, Minnesota and it seems that Alfred eventually settled in Mankato, Blue Earth Co, Minnesota which is where he passed away in 1961.
It would be wonderful to find a descendant of Alfred, or at least Windhorn genealogist who would appreciate this fine portrait!

[**Update- 10/30/15- Alfred has been reunited with a relative to keep & preserve this photo!]

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dobereiner Family Postcard-- Currie, Minnesota

I recently purchased this 1909 Easter Postcard...
It was sent to Mrs. J.F. OShea of Currie, Minnesota from her "sister Martha"
 
 
After some research, I was able to find that Amelia Dobereiner was married to J.F. O'Shea in 1904 and her sister Martha Dobereiner married Frank W. Johnson in 1911.
 
 
They were daughters of John & Amalie Dobereiner and the family resided in Murray County, Minnesota for many years.
 
I would love to find a descendant of Martha (Dobereiner) Johnson that might appreciate this postcard written in her hand... sadly, Martha died as a young woman in 1919... and I'm not sure if she had any children live to adulthood or not.  So perhaps there is a member of the O'Shea family that would appreciate this 105 year old Easter greeting.
 



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mystery Photo... Gottschling- Martin County, MN

Richard Gottschling of Martin County, MN

I recently rescued this photo from a local antique shop

Someone wrote "Richard Gottschling" on the back side
It was taken at a Fairmont, MN photography studio


A check of the MN Marriage Index shows that Richard P. Gottschling & Minnie M.S. Ohlenkamp were married 6 Sept 1905 in Martin County. 


It seems very likely that this is a photo from that marriage. 

I'd love to find a descendant or other relative that I could return this cabinet card to!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mystery Photo... Arthur Bonderson... Winthrop, MN

I recently rescued this photo from an antique shop





Someone wrote on the back
"Aurther Bonderson    Adolfs son"

It was taken in a Wintrop, MN photo studio
I did a brief search and it appears that Arthur Bonderson was born in 1896 and lived in the Sibley-Nicollet County area.

It seems that there were a couple of Arthur Bonderson's from Minnesota.

I'd love to find a descendant or other relative that would love & appreciate this nice baby photo


[5.27.2014-Update* Photo has been returned to a relative!]

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Martin County Links... Minnesota 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! Since Saturdays are good days to do genealogy (at least for us working folks), I decided to post these links then.


Martin County Genealogical Society
A great county resource for all of your research needs! Check out the website for further details and information on membership. For the Facebook savvy among you, you can 'like' them on their official MCGS Facebook page

Martin County Historical Society
The Genealogical & Historical Societies are under the same roof and have incredible resources and information. 

Martin County Rootsweb Resources
Yes, these have been around awhile, but you never know what you might stumble upon from years past. Old queries and other information can be found here.

Martin County "Find-A-Grave" listings
If you aren't familiar with Find-a-grave [which surely you must be!], hurry up and check it out. 
At least one cemetery there has been walked & photographed completely [I know, I did it!]
Nashville Cemetery but there are others that are close to complete as well... others, not so much so

What about you?  Do you know of any great Martin County resources out there?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mystery Photo... Nels Johnson of Minnesota

This mystery photo was taken by a Minneapolis, MN photographer

Someone penciled 'Nels Johnson' on the back

To search for someone with such a common name in a large metropolitan area is nearly impossible, at least for me, who has no connection to this person.

Hopefully I can reunite this very nice photo with a family member who will appreciate it!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Philanda Elkins Risdon... Who was she?

One of my most elusive Female Ancestors of all time is this 4x Great-Grandmother.

Philanda Elkins (or could it be Perkins?) was born sometime in the later 1810s, I think circa 1816-1818... probably in Vermont?   In addition to not knowing her last name for certain – the spelling of her first name has nearly never been spelled the same way twice – though for the time being and for the sake of space, I’ve adapted Philanda… She did have a granddaughter born with that spelling, so it seems a likelier option than Filinda or other variations.

She was married sometime prior to 1835 to Harley (Harla) Risdon, probably someplace in Vermont... They would go on to live in various places, but were in Erie, New York for a time.

By 1860, the Risdon family had relocated to Putnam County, Illinois and their children included, but are not lmited to, Harl, Caroline “Carrie” Bruce, Almond, George (died in Civil War), Leroy (died young?), Henrietta Ross, Lydia Buckingham, Oscar & Susan Lemira “Lea” Walker.

Incidentally, in the 1860 census, Harley Risdon is listed as “pauper” – I assume this to mean there was little money – and by  1870 Harley is no longer with the family – at 70 years of age, I assume him to be deceased.

At this time the Risdon children are found in various places… some married and on their own, others living with siblings and some as “servants” in other households.  Others, like George & possibly Leroy are deceased.

To add to the mystery, in 1870 there is a second  Philanda Risdon of similar age living in a neighboring county! This second Philanda eventually married Elijah Pomeroy and remains living in LaSalle County, at least through 1880.

My Philanda is gone from Putnam County after 1870. I’ve tried to trace the origins of the second Philanda Risdon, but she appears to have dropped from the sky.

It’s possible that my Philanda was incorrectly included in the 1870 Putnam County Census – or was visiting at the time – and then also made the same census for neighboring LaSalle County as well—stories such as this are certainly not unheard of.

I’ve traced the Risdon descendants forward – in hopes of finding fellow descendants—it seems only Harl, Carrie, & Lea made it to “old age”, as they are the only ones living beyond 1900… though I don’t have proof of death for most of them – so anything is possible.

Who was Philanda Risdon? Was she an Elkins or a Perkins? Are the two 1870 Philanda’s actually the same person? And regardless, what happened to either of them after 1870/1880?

After 20 years of research,  I have more questions than answers – I’d love to connect with any Risdon researchers out there and anyone familiar with the Elkins name.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

-- TechTrek Genealogy Conference

Tech Trek Genealogy Conference
April 25-26

I had the great fortune to attend the Tech Trek Genealogy Conference yesterday [April 26th], which was put on by the  Minnesota Genealogical Society and their co-sponsors the Czechoslav Genealogical Society International & the Pommern Regional Group of Minnesota. The featured speaker was well known genealogist & tech master Thomas MacEntee

After a full 8 hour day of speakers & breakout sessions, I was surprised at the many things I didn't even know, that I didn't know... after 20+ years of work in genealogy!

As a somewhat 'tech challenged' genealogist, I greatly enjoyed the 3 different lectures by the great Mr. MacEntee... "Building a Research Toolbox", "Managing your Genealogy Data", & "Google for Genealogists"...  All 3 of the lectures were very informative & full of ideas for how I might better organize & maintain my genealogy.

The other breakouts that I took in were "Blogging Panel", "Newspapers Online", and "The Best of Genealogy Book Websites". 

I was stunned to learn about all the free books to be found online! Beth Foulk, is without a doubt one of the best genealogy speakers I've had the pleasure to experience! Check out her blog & website!

Among the gems shared by Beth, the website Hathi Trust Digital Library will rock your genealogy world! The books I've found this morning alone have dazzled me & my future research!  Check out the site and start finding books you never even knew were out there!

So my conference experience was great! Hopefully, some of you were able to get there as well... and if you didn't, you should check out the MGS page and plan for a future workshop! In October, the amazing Judy Russell "The Legal Genealogist" is the keynote speaker and I'm already excited for that 2 day event!

Enjoy those genealogy endeavors~

Mystery Photo... Sleepy Eye, Minnesota

Meyer-Windhorn-Grundmeyer familes of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota

This lost photo was recently rescued from an antique shop... and on the back is written

"The Groom Otto Meyer (seated)  
Al Windhorn  
William Grundmeyer"



I did a brief search and it appears that Otto Meyer lived in the Sleepy Eye area, and died in 1927... his wife was Alvina Grundmeyer... I assume that the William Grundmeyer in this photo is a relative of the brides... not sure how/if Windhorn connects.

It's a very nice cabinet card photo... and it would be wonderful to reunite it with a family member who would appreciate adding it to their genealogy archive!

[** Update 5/6/14- Photo was returned to a Meyer descendant! Thanks to Barb for helping in the quest]

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mystery Photo... Gottschling from Martin County, MN

I recently rescued this photo from an antique shop...
 and it isn't exactly a 'mystery photo'... as someone has written on the back  

"Grandpa & Grandma (Herman & Eva) Gottschling  
Wedding 1894"



I did some very brief research and it appears that Herman & Eva continued to live in Martin County, Minnesota, near the small town of Welcome, Minnesota.

It is a very nice cabinet card photo and it would be nice to return it to a family member who would appreciate it.

[** Update 5/6/14- Photo was returned to a Gottschling descendant! Thanks to Barb for helping in the quest]


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Would You Want To Know, If You Had A Brother?

 Would you want to know, if you had a brother?
Imagine all that would change...


As genealogists, we are not only used to mysteries, we relish in them. And family secrets have created many mysteries for many families. These mysteries don't always seem as personal when they involved people who lived & died generations ago. But, for a moment, imagine the family mystery happened a little more recently... say 1945 or 1965... and that it involved your own Mother or Grandmother... Then what? Would you want to know?

Would you want to know that as a 19 year old, your Mother had a son and gave him up for adoption? Or if Grandpa fathered a child with someone else-- would you want to know?

Thanks to progressive thinking, the stigma surrounding births "out of wedlock" is largely gone in general society, so the large number of secret adoptions from the first half of the 20th century are no longer.

Back to my question... Would you want to know, if you had a Brother?

Imagine all that would change? Everything you have always known & thought could be no longer.... Family secrets tend to come out... especially when a genealogist starts poking around or asking questions. People tell "secrets"...sometimes because they want to-- and other times because they didn't really realize it was a secret.

I've known many secrets in my 20+ years of genealogy research-- some of these secrets I've told... others I still keep. Personally, I feel secrets are unhealthy-- for all involved. But I don't like to tell a story that's not mine to tell... I prefer to leave that to someone else...

What about you? Have you known of a secret birth that others did not? Did you feel obligated to tell those affected? And did you?

Have you seen the movie 'Philomena'? It is still in theatres-- if you haven't seen it, you should! Not only because Judi Dench is perfection, but because it is a story about a secret... and the woman who finally told hers... and her quest for answers. Such a heartbreaking tale (and a true story!)--- I wonder how many countless women could relate...


There is responsibility in knowing a secret. I know of people who have a brother or sister, unbeknownst to them. Some may be angry that you told... Some may be angry that you didn't tell sooner. There really is no easy way to deal with a secret...

To answer my own question... I would want to know. I would want to know if I had a brother. I know that it is something I could handle, with relative ease.

But could you? I mean, really...could you?
How many situations are you aware in your own lives or families, involving unknown siblings. How does that fit into your genealogy?

Would you want to know... If you had a Brother?