Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mystery Photo- Break... See you in 2016

The Dead Relative Collector will take a short hiatus posting any further "mystery" photos or documents until after the New Year. With the Holiday hustle & bustle, this blogger could use a break... and is also aware that readers are otherwise occupied with more pressing priorities!

But do not fear! We will return in 2016! In fact I'm looking at a neat confirmation certificate, old German baptismal certificate & a pile of identified photos-- all begging to be reunited with family in the coming year.

Thanks to many mystery loving readers, The Dead Relative Collector was able to reunite countless loss heirlooms with happy, appreciative relatives! 

I hope 2016 is just as fruitful, in both the returning of heirloom treasures... and in my ability for find them to showcase here. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Death of Family Tree Maker! [GASP]

Anyone remotely involved in the genealogy world, surely heard the surprising(?) news that Ancestry would be discontinuing it's genealogy software- Family Tree Maker. This was, of course, upsetting news to the many who use & rely on this software. 

My personal response to this news was "Meh"... as I have never been a user it. As a pre-Internet genealogist, I've been adapting to the new technologies slowly as they've been introduced to our hobby.... unlike the thousands (or millions?) of genealogists who created an Ancestry account and "made a family tree".

In the 1990s, when I had a Mac [one day I will reinvest in one!], I used the software Reunion, which I absolutely LOVED. Even after I later got a Windows laptop... I kept my old desktop Mac because I still couldn't part with my Reunion genealogy.

Later, after that desktop became SO elderly, I downloaded the free version of Legacy. And while this program, in my opinion, greatly paled in comparison to Reunion... I learned to adapt.

Before deciding on Legacy, I did look closer at Family Tree Maker--- but I never really cared for the layout of the program-- friends of mine used it, though in the early days they just wanted the genealogy discs that came with it. Remember those old days, before the Internet boom, when you purchased these discs full of submitted genealogy... but I digress. 

After awhile, I decided to upgrade beyond the free Legacy... and I really do like the layout of the program and the various forms & reports it creates--- since I print out much of my genealogy (yes, I am a paper lover!).

Eventually, Family Tree Magazine sent me a free software-- Rootsmagic. Interested, I did load it onto my computer, but I decided that it wasn't for me. So I passed it on to a "newbie" and stuck with my Legacy.

As a genealogist that did not jump right on the Ancestry bandwagon, at least for a few years-- I did not have an online tree. In fact, I only really developed a tree on Ancestry about a year ago-- when I tested my DNA. I wanted my direct pedigree at least, to match up with possible "cousins". Personally, I used my Ancestry tree as a documentation filing system... where I can link sources to my relatives. I do not add other things to my tree (photos, scans, notes, etc). Which is just my way of doing things-- partly because I had many years of genealogy done, before Ancestry came to be.

So I've never 'synced' my genealogy software with my Ancestry tree... and I do understand what a disappointment it is to not have that option in the future. [However, it does sound like Ancestry is working towards allowing other software to capabilities to do so at a later time].

Even though FTM is being slowly phased out... there are other software options out there-- and a decent amount of time to research just which one will serve your genealogy needs best.

So take a deep breath. Relax. This will be OK. Do some research & see what you like-- there are free downloads available to try & play around with. Read reviews & articles.

I found recent blog posts from The Clue Wagon & Legal Genealogist, to be informative & funny (Thanks Kerry!

If you haven't read them yet, you should (though, I suspect if you read this small time blogger, you surely follow those Superstars!)

And of course Ancestry did release a couple of posts about this decision, and that is the best source for information regarding the process as it is expected to unfold and you can read them here- Ancestry Blogs

Good Luck in your quests! Feel free to share you own reviews of software here.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mystery Photo... Minnesota or Iowa?

This mystery photo belonged to my Great-Great Aunt... so it very well could even be a relative of mine? But, I can't figure out who it could be.

It's very likely that these 2 young ladies were from Southern Minnesota or Northern Iowa... and could be connected to the George, Bruce, Averill or Burnett families.

To me, it seems that this is probably a photo from the 1930s... but I'm not the best at dating photographs. I hope someday, someone will recognize them and be able to identify them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

William Willis Cole... Grandfather From NoWhere

A number of researchers today descend from William Willis Cole... and because of this, his descendants have been quite well researched & documented... and as a descendant myself, I've done a large amount of research over the years and have connected with some fellow researchers.

William Willis Cole & Family

Much of his early life is gleamed from a rather lengthy newspaper obituary... though, like many flowery death notices from this era, some of it may not be completely accurate. .

What I do know... or claim to is...

William Willis Cole was born 1 May 1813 in Louisville, Kentucky. Though I have seen Virginia given as a location on some records. His parents, are unclear... a John Cole did sign his marriage certificate to verify his age, but that could really have been any older relative.

Marriage Record of William Cole
John Cole signed

He was married on 8 June 1839 to Susannah "Susan" Hindman (spelling of her name varies)... Susannah is a bigger mystery-- as to from whence she came and all that rot.

They do show up in the 1840 census, living Lower Sandusky, Ohio... There is a girl, aged 10-14 living in their household... I have no idea who she could be... perhaps a younger sister of one of them?

By 1850, they are living in Steuben County, Indiana, with 3 of their children. Eventually they made their way up to Hudson, Michigan... and their children included, but aren't necessarily limited to: Byron A. Cole, Anna Marie (wife of Riley Randall), Jennet (wife of John Finn & Milton Welliver), Martha (wife of Floyd Gay), and Delivan.

Sometime in the 1860s, they relocated to Minnesota... settling in what is now Kandiyohi County.

On 17 April 1889, Susan passed away at their home in New London and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. Over the coming years the Cole family branches moved and left Kandiyohi County and William would eventually live with his sons at different times. 

It was at the home of his son Delivan, that William died on 12 Nov 1902, in rural Cass County.

So who was William Cole? 

Who were his parents? 
Where did they come from?

Many questions. Few answers

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mystery Photo... Maine, Beeson, Hooser-- Minnesota

A relative sent me this photo once... hoping I'd be able to ID it for certain. I couldn't.

It comes from some descendants of Erastus Maine of Southern Minnesota. The photo ended up in the family of his older daughter-- Jessie Hooser... I think the oldest person here in the photo could very well be the youngest daughter-- Crissie Beeson.

Many of the Maine sisters strongly resembled each other... and in turn many of the nieces looked like their Aunt and Cousins. It's hard to judge for certain who any one is, unless someone else out there has the same photo that is identified.

My theory is, that this is a photo of Crissie (Maine) Beeson along with a couple of her Hooser nieces. There were a lot of girls in that family-- it could be just about anyone.

Hoping someone out there will recognize these people and help solve the mystyer.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

TBT Photos from Yesteryear-- Larrie & Esther Maine

Spotlight photos from my extensive photo archive
This week it is

Larrie & Esther (Larson) Maine

Larrie Maine is the oldest brother to my Great-Grandfather, Hiram Maine. Larrie was born on the family farm in rural Cass County, in 1896. Eventually he lived in Southern Minnesota with his family, before returning to Cass County.

After marriage, Larrie & Esther lived in North Dakota & Northern Minnesota, before farming in the Mapleton, MN area. Larrie died of a heart attack in 1977, and Esther in 1990.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rescued 1910 Pabst Marriage Certificate- Minnesota

This Summer I was at an auction, and purchased this 1910 framed marriage certificate. I paid only $10 for it, hoping that I might be able to reunite it with a relative to treasure it.

The ink is beginning to fade, and doesn't show up super clearly in the photos-- it is for 

Herman R. Pabst & Louise Rademacher both of Ottawa, Minnesota who were married June 12, 1910

I did a little research on them, and Herman was born in Germany in 1880, the son of Frank & Caroline Pabst. The family lived in Le Sueur County, MN.  It seems that Herman & Louise had only 1 daughter- Beatrice (1920-1978) who  married Dr. Charles Elwood in 1939. They had 2 sons- Glenn (1942-1994) & another son in 1940, who is still living as far as I can tell.

Interestingly enough, I can in no way connect the estate auction I was at, to the Elwood family. Perhaps it became separated from the family after the death of Louise in 1972, or 6 years later when Beatrice passed away.

Ideally, it would be wonderful to find a genealogy minded descendant of Herman & Louise who would love & treasure this 105 year old family heirloom. But, if no one from their family can be found [or wants it]. maybe there are relatives of the Pabst or Rademacher family who would take & care for this family piece.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving~ Food & Family

The Dead Relative Collector would like to wish everyone a safe & fruitful Thanksgiving Holiday! 

Enjoy the time with family—making new memories & remembering the old. If you are fortunate enough to have elder members of your family at your gathering, get them talking about Holidays & gatherings of yesteryear. 

If you are able, take some old photos or other memorabilia to get memories & stories started. You never know what great, previously unknown story a photograph might trigger.

And of course, be sure to take some new photos to remember this Holiday in the future!

There may be fewer post here during the coming weeks-- hustle & bustle of Holidays taking up time.

Travel safe. Be Well & Thankful~

Monday, November 23, 2015

Susan Hindman Cole... Grandma Unknown

Like many female ancestors I have – Susan Hindman is pretty much a mystery.

Susan (Susannah) Hindman was born ca 1816, possibly in Pennsylvania. She was married to William W. Cole on ­­8 June 1839 in Sandusky, Ohio. 

Marriage record for William Cole & Susannah Hindman

I’m not sure if Susan was a resident here prior to her marriage... And I’m not even sure about the spelling of her first or last names! Some records show her as Susan vs Susannah and her surname as Hineman vs Hindman/Hindeman.

I have not been able to locate William Cole in the 1840 census yet. Or any Hindman families that could be connected. By 1850 they are living in Steuben County, Indiana. Though according to birthplaces for their children, it seems they lived in Michigan before returning to Indiana, before returning back to Hudson, Michigan by 1854 for the birth of my Great-Great Grandfather.

In 1861, eldest son Byron enlisted in the Civil War, a resident of Lenawee County. I can't locate the family in the 1860 census, but assume they are still there. 

By 1870, the whole Cole family have moved to what is now Kandiyohi County, Minnesota with their families.

William & Susan Cole had at least 5 children: 
Byron A. Cole born 1842- Indiana
Jennet Finn Welliver born 1845- Michigan
Anna Marie Randall born 1847- Michigan
Martha Gay born 1849- Michigan
Delivan W. Cole born 1854- Hudson, Michigan

 —but it is possible that there were other children, though no others show up in any census records, and at the time of William’s 1902 death, these were the only listed as survivors.

Death Record
Susan died on 12 April 1889, at age 73. She is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in New London, Minnesota. Her grave is unmarked.

There appear to be a number of descendants interested in the Cole family—you will stumble upon many trees on Ancestry…  and I have been in contact with different ‘cousins’ over the years. No one seems to know anything of Susan’s early life.         

Family of William & Susan Cole
Susan is in the middle row

I’d love to connect with any Cole descendants or Hindman researchers who might be able to shed some light on this mysterious Grandma and who she was prior to her marriage!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mystery Photo --- Minnesota or Iowa

This photo was among photos belonging to my Great-Great Aunt, there was family in Iowa and Southern Minnesota... 

I'm not sure if this is a relative, or just a friend of hers.

This snapshot is in pretty tough shape, after years in an old attic.... but they are pretty striking couple... 

I guess the photo was taken 1925-1935, based on clothing... 
It is possible they are connected to the Bruce, George or Averill families.

Hopefully someone will recognize them someday

Thursday, November 19, 2015

TBT Photos of Yesteryear- Arnold Weerts

Spotlighting photos from my extensive photo archive
This week it is

Arnold Weerts

In honor of last weeks Veteran's Day-- here is a photo of my Great-Great Uncle Arnold Weerts during his time serving in World War I.

Arnold was the second son born to Herman & Elizabeth Weerts in Iowa. Eventually they settled in Southern Minnesota, where Arnold would spend nearly all of his life-- marrying & raising a family. He died in 1955, the first in his family of 10.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mystery Photo-- Johannes Randahl of Illinois

I recently rescued this cabinet card from an antique shop. 

Someone wrote 'Johannes Randahl' on the back side
It comes from a Moline, Illinois photographer.

It seems that eventually Johannes ended up in Northern Minnesota. I've yet to do any significant research into this boy to see what became of him, but I'm hoping to reunite him with a family member who will treasure it

Friday, November 13, 2015

Has Genealogy gone 'Mean'? Rudeness Among Us

Has genealogy gone ‘mean’? I'm beginning to wonder!

In today’s world of Facebook groups, blogs, message boards & comment sections – there are no shortage of opportunities for people to ‘speak their minds’. And lately, I’ve been taken aback by the level of “meanness” that’s been displayed. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still consider genealogists to be among the most helpful people out there – but there is no place for rudeness in our world!

In the future, before you post a comment, reply, or ‘vent’ – 
I ask you to consider these 6 questions:
-Is this truly helpful
-Have I fully read/understood what I’m replying to
-Would I appreciate this response if I received it
-Is my ‘vent’ appropriate, on subject or necessary
-Am I sharing vs lecturing
-Would I say this if we were face to face

Genealogy itself is a vague hobby. We all have different techniques, methods, goals and end results. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. It’s a very personalized  hobby. Much of it is personal preference vs right/wrong. All of us have been at for various lengths of time and with varying degrees of activity. And longtime genealogists are very well are of how drastically our hobby has changed in the last 20 years with the advent of the internet.

I encourage you to regularly ask yourselves those 6 questions. If we aren’t being kind or helpful to one another – let’s just pass on sharing that with everyone.

Recently, on a Facebook group I belong to – a gentleman posted about searching for the burial locale of some ancestors. His quest was clear – he stated what he’d already done and what he was hoping to accomplish. Anyone who read his brief post should have had no questions or doubts… but many of the responses were anything but helpful. In his original post he state he was “desperate to find burial information”. One of the first responses was from a lady who shamed & criticized this man, stating “I can’t imagine being desperate to know anything – I’d like to know, but to be desperate…” And BANG! the debate over desperate was off. And completely inappropriate & off topic, besides not at all helpful. Another responder, a self-identified Findagrave rule expert, opened the always contensious subject of Findagrave – again, off subject and not appropriate. It took great restraint for me to not jump into those discussions but that doesn’t help to join an angry mob. Incidentally, I have no idea if the poor man ever found any help with his original post.

Not long ago, I received a shockingly rude email from someone regarding a Findagrave memorial. I couldn't believe the tone and condescending nature. Of course this person did not message me thru F.A.G, but instead emailed me (I have my address listed), with their anonymous no-name email address. I just did not understand the need to be rude.

It’s no surprise to me to see the frequent posts “I’m leaving this group due to rudeness/negativitiy” – and there are countless others I’m sure who stay silent, keeping their great offerings to themselves – or leave quietly without a word to anyone.

Yes. I know. Findagrave is NOT a perfect site. 
Yes. Ancestry is far from perfect.
Is it productive to rant and rave against these resources. No. Probably not.
Some of us are "experts" and some are "novices". 
Is my way better than yours? Yours better than mine?
Discussions are wonderful. Arguments, not so much so.

Personally, I use the resources I like. Ignore the ones I don't. I follow blogs and read articles that I find interesting and pass by those I do not. I rarely comment on contentious posts or subjects. My time is worth more than that. And so should yours!

We live in a world of opinions. And we now have much easier avenues in which to share those opinions. We can still teach, disagree, and even  dislike in a respectful manner!

This is my own form of "ranting & raving". If you've read to the end, know my intentions are pure and my only hope is that it might cause a few people to pause, and be a little kinder.

Remember those 6 questions above. 
Remember we're all in this together.

Be Kind & Keep Digging!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

TBT Photos of Yesteryear- Ossian Maine Family

Spotlighting photos from my extensive photo archive- 
This week it is 
Ossian Maine & Family

Back Row- Roy, Carl, Alfred, Alvin, Lester, Alonzo
Front Row- Mayme, Ossian, Vina, James[4 other children died in childhood]

Ossian and wife wife Melvina married & lived in Southern Minnesota, before moving up north to Cass County in the 1890s. Eventually they settled in North Dakota.

Ossian was the son of Erastus & Eliza Maine of Winnebago, MN... One of ten siblings- Jessie, Irving, Spencer, Selwyn, Hattie, Olive, Ralph, Minerva, & Crissie completing the family.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mystery Photo-- Galarneau(x) family

I recently rescued this cute Thanksgiving postcard from an antique shop.

It's written to Harry Galarneau, Jr --- from his Mother.
At the time Harry was living in Oregon and the postcard was sent from California.

Brief research indicates that Harry Galarneau(x) was born in 1894, the son of Harry Sr & Henrietta "Etta". It appears his parents divorced at some point, probably around the time of this postcard, judging from the message.  I did find a Findagrave memorial for Harry, but otherwise have done little research into the family.

It'd be great to reunite it with a relative who would treasure the postcard written 106 years ago, in a Mother's loving hand.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

TBT Photos of Yesteryear- Edna Cole

Spotlighting photos from my extensive photo archive
Today it is Edna (Cole) Ferguson Sharp

Edna Cole was born in 1886 in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, the daughter of Delivan & Josephine (Hagen) Cole. After the death of her first husband in 1910, she and her second husband eventually settle in Calgary, Canada... where Edna died in 1958.

Edna was a younger sister to my Great-Great Grandmother- Minnie (Cole) Maine.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mystery Photo... Gustie Scheer- Henderson, MN

This recently rescued picture postcard, is identified as-
"Miss Gustie Scheer - Henderson, Minn"

A brief search finds an "Augusta Scheer" who lived in Sibley County, the daughter of William & Bertha. It appears that this Augusta died in 1923, an unmarried woman in her late 30s. Further research would need to be done to confirm these are the same person, though Henderson is a small town.

It's a wonderful original photo.. and hopefully I am able to reunite it with a family member who will appreciate it and be pleased to add it to their collection.

[**Update-- this photo has been reunited with a family member where it belongs!]

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mystery Photo... Peter Pogatschnick

I often spotlight photos or other family memorabilia I've been able to rescue...

I recently found this wonderful framed portrait at a Southern Minnesota antique shop. The backside identified the photo as  "Peter Pogatchnick father of Elizabeth Pogatchnick Schulz".

It is a great print, in a very lovely heavy frame. Unfortunately, it is priced at $69, which is out of my price range to "rescue" items... but I'm hoping to find a descendant of Peter & his wife Ursula, that I can help reunite this print with.

Brief research shows that this family lived in Stearns County, Minnesota... Sometimes the name is spelled Pogatschnick and other times Pogatchnick...

Peter Pogatschnick died in 1927.... at this time I have not actively searched for descendants, though I have shared this photo within other online groups, hoping someone will claim it.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to get this portrait out of the shop and onto the wall of a descendant who will treasure it!

[**Update: Thanks to the efforts of readers, especially Pam, this lovely portrait was connected to a great-granddaughter, who drove to the store & purchased this amazing heirloom!]

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Loss of a Special Uncle... Honoring Westal Maine

Every family has that special Uncle... the one with the infectious laugh, twinkling eyes, and tender heart. For me, in our family, that was Uncle Westal.

As my Grandfather's younger brother, Uncle Westal was always part of family stories & memories... and he never missed family reunions and other functions. He was easy to love... and everyone did!

Westal John Maine was born September 2, 1935, the third son of Hiram & Laura (Nelson) Maine, on the family homestead in Home Brook Township, Cass County, MN.

He grew up with his Grandparents as neighbors; later the family moved in with the widowed Grandmother following a fire that claimed their own home. 

Besides his Grandparents there were countless Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and other relatives constantly around the rural community he & his 5 siblings were raised in. 

It is no wonder that family would always be very important to him! 

Westal, 3 Hagen cousins: Lorraine,
Royal & Milo, & brother Boyd
His parents raised a family of 5 boys-Horton, Dale, Westal, Boyd & Albert. And the lone daughter- Carol. 
Graduation 1954

Certainly the depression times were lean years, but the family worked hard & valued the important things in life that mattered!

Westal attended country school with his brothers and later Pine River High School, where he graduated in 1954. Later serving two years in the army, until returning home in 1958.
Soul Mates- Westal & Marian

He was married to Marian Wymore in 1961. If you ever saw them together, there is no doubt that they were true soul mates.

They would go on to raise a fine family of five children (including twins!). 

Westal & his brother Dale [my Grandpa]

A lifelong farmer, Uncle Westal loved his cows and the farm they all lived on. He was surely not afraid of hard work! It brought him great joy. 

Westal & sister Carol
being a good Uncle & Aunt

He was a loving husband and a devoted father, grandfather & great-grandfather. It is easy to envy the close, loving family that he and Aunt Marian produced. 
He was also a special brother, uncle, cousin and friend to many!

Westal passed away September 20, 2015, at the farm home he loved, with his family tenderly at his side. His brief fight with cancer ended that Sunday morning.

While it is impossible to even imagine the void his loss will leave on our extended family, we can grab onto all those happy memories and fun times and hold on tight! 

We acknowledge what a fine man he was, and what an honor it is to have known and loved him! And know we will miss him very very much!
Me & Uncle Westal
July 2o15

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mystery Photo...Budensiek Family?

Budensiek Family? Of  Wabasha & Goodhue Counties, MN

While I often spotlight weekly "mystery photos" from my own collection, today I have some photos belonging to a blog reader, who is hoping to identify some mystery photos of his own!

He states "I have received an old album that belonged to the Budensiek family in the Wabasha and Goodhue counties.  There are several old photos that I can not place a name on."

I'd be great if we could identify some of these great old cabinet cards!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mystery Photo... Peoria, Illinois area

This mystery photo was among other photos from the Krumholz & Weber families. I suspect it may be two daughters of Josephine (Krumholz) Schmitt, 
of East Peoria, Illinois

These two girls are sure cute... and it would be nice to know their identities! Maybe someone out there has this same photo, or recognizes them 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

TBT Photos of Yesteryear- Charlie Wilson & Fred Cole

Spotlighting photos from my extensive photo archive...
Today it is Charlie Wilson & Fred Cole

Charlie Wilson & Fred Cole

Fred Cole [1890-1977] was the son of Delivan & Josephine (Hagen) Cole, and the youngest brother of my Great-Great Grandmother Minnie (Cole) Maine.

Charles Wilson [1888-1959] was the son of William & Mary Etta (Randall) Wilson. Mary Etta Randall was the daughter of Anna Marie (Cole) Randall, who was the oldest sister of Delivan Cole.

This photo is undated, but it is not the only photograph I've seen of the two cousins together. So it appears they were not only kin, but friends.