Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mystery Photo- Sturm & Mapson Family

This Southern Minnesota photograph was likely taken in the Granada, MN area. 5 of the 7 subjects are identified. Two remain unknown. 




Left to Right :
Martha Sturm, Hazel Mapson, Beatrice (Mapson) Sturm, Unknown Male, Josephine (Sturm) Mapson, Leathal Mapson, Unknown Female

It appears that this photo was taken in the early 1920's. The Sturm & Mapson families were related to each other by marriage and had many relatives in the area. They were also very involved with their country church so it is possible that the 2 unidentified individuals are either kin or friends.

Hopefully someone out there will recognize either of these individuals!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

TBT- John Sturm Cabinet Card Photo

Spotlighting photos from my extensive photo collection
This week it is-
John Sturm [1869-1921]
My Great-Great Grandfather



John Sturm was born in 1869, in rural Long Grove, Illinois, the son of Johann & Salome (Sturm) Sturm. His parents were both immigrants from Ostheim, Alsace Lorraine.

After marrying and starting a family, they eventually left Illinos and settled for a brief time in Wisconsin before relocating to Southern Minnesota. They farmed here for about 15 years, before John passed away from colon cancer at 52 years old. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Lost Heirloom-- Esther Meister Baptismal Certificate

I recently rescued this 100+ year old baptismal record for Esther Elisabeth Meister, who was born 6 May 1912, the daughter of Ludwig & Emma (Lorenz) Meister. 

Brief research shows that Esther lived most, if not all, of her life in Dane County, Wisconsin. At some point, she was married becoming Esther Husker.

She died in 1996. At this point it's unclear if she had any children or any siblings.


It would be great to get this heirloom item to a relative who will treasure & appreciate it~

Thursday, May 18, 2017

TBT- Hattie (Maine) Hanlon McLaren & Children

Spotlighting photos from my extensive photo archive
This week it is-
Harriet "Hattie" (Maine) Hanlon McLaren & her children

Onnie Hanlon Rathbone, John Hanlon McLaren
Lyda Hanlon Small, Hattie Maine Hanlon McLaren
-Photo taken in later 1940s, before Lyda's 1949 death



Harriet Maine was the daughter of Erastus & Eliza (Pierce) Maine, born in 1864 in rural Winnebago, the 5th of 11 children the couple would have. 

Marrying twice, first to John Hanlon and later to James McLaren, Hattie lived in Southern Minnesota and South Dakota before settling in Alberta, Canada and later British Columbia.

Her children often used the McLaren name, though any formal adoption seems unlikely.

The mother of 5 children, only 3 lived to adulthood and are pictured above-
Eliza "Lyda" Hanlon Lofthouse Small [1884-1949]
John Hanlon McLaren [1890-1977]
Onnie Hanlon Trott Rathbone [1894-1961]

Hattie died in November 1952, at the age of 88. Three weeks later, her older brother Selwyn died following a stroke. They were the last of the Erastus Maine family.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lost Heirloom- August Sohre Baptismal Certificate

I recently rescued this lovely framed German baptismal certificate from the 1890's. I'm not fluent in German, but I was able to make out bits and pieces. 

The certificate is for August Louis Hermann  Sohre who was born May 10, 1884 in Horicon, Dodge Co, Wisconsin, the on of August Sohr & Henrietta Wegener [sic]. He was baptized on June 16, 1884.

I did a brief search into August Sohre and see that he eventually settled in Blue Earth County, Minnesota and children & grandchildren. 

I'm hoping that this certificate can find its way home to a relative to treasure it

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Test That DNA~ Do Not Delay!!

Have you yet to delve in to the world of DNA to aide in your genealogical research? Or have you tested yourself or other relatives, but still have others whom you’d like to test? I’m here to remind you, DO NOT DELAY!

My Great-Grandmother had a large number of “double first cousins”-- 3 brothers & sisters from one family married 3 brothers & sisters from another family. Leaving a whole bunch of first cousins who shared both sets of Grandparents with one another. My Great-Grandmother was one of the oldest cousins and has been deceased since the 1930’s…. however, she had cousins who were much younger-- including the last living one, a kindly gentleman born in 1919.

Late last year, I inquired of this cousins daughter, if she thought her Father would be willing to be tested. As he was the final living relative from this triple family marriage & share the same DNA that my Great-Grandmother would.

I’d thought about having him tested the last couple of years, and as he was in his late 90’s, I realized I shouldn’t delay. Since he lived 100’s of miles away, it wasn’t as logistically handy; it required mailing the test & then having them mail it in turn to the lab, themselves.


Lucky for me, this cousin was happy to provide a sample and had daughters nearby who would ensure the test was completed & sent in properly.

Delayed results, because of the large influx of holiday kit purchases, had the sample processed in the Spring. Finally, the day arrived when I received notification that the results were in!

The next day, I received word that this 97 year old cousin had passed away! Sadly, I was unable to share his results with him.

My paternal Grandmother came from a small family. And her parents came from a relatively small family each. Small families and a rather large number of relatives who remained unmarried/childless kept the pool of relatives rather small.

My Grandmother passed away nearly 30 years ago, while I was still a young child. Her only sister, 12 years younger, would pass away only 6 years later. This left my Great-Uncle, the only remaining sibling. A huge asset in my genealogical quest over the last two decades, I’d been meaning to ask him to test DNA, as he was the last living relative of that generation. As is often the case, I procrastinated until this Uncle in his late 80’s suffered a stroke and his health no longer gave the option to obtain a sample, until his death some months later.

Once you test that DNA, you have the results forever. Sadly, our relatives (especially the older generation) are not going to be around indefinitely. As a strong supporter of DNA as a tool in genealogy research, I can’t recommend enough getting samples as soon as possible!

You won’t regret having the test done… but you will regret if you wait too long…

Sunday, April 30, 2017

No! Not An Alien Abduction... I'm Back!

No... The Dead Relative Collector was not abducted by aliens or felled by an addiction to some new great hobby! Instead, a month of illness followed by a month of travel followed by a month of devoted laziness kept this Genealogist at bay from the blog world.

Fear not. I'm back and ready to share and opine on the world of our crazy and ever changing hobby. As well as continue the quest to reunite lost family items with family to appreciate them!

While The Dead Relative Collector may have appeared to be MIA for the last few months-- I was still pretty involved in genealogy. In March, The Germanic Genealogical Society of Minnesota had Dr. Michael Lacopo, researcher & blogger of Hoosier Daddy fame as the featured speaker for their Spring Meeting. An engaging speaker, whose wealth of knowledge is pertinent to any researcher, Lacopo always delivers. If you've yet to experience one of his lectures, you should actively work to change that!

Earlier this month, the Minnesota Genealogical Society had their Spring Conference, with a "Melting Pot" theme, where the various specialty groups affiliated with MGS, shared various aspects of their groups. From German & Norwegian research to DNA Interest-- there was something for everyone.

Besides continuing education & planning for upcoming workshops & conferences -- I also continued to evaluate DNA results and try to get organized with my overflowing mountain of paper (slow work in progress).

So between research, family visits & conferences-- there is always something genealogical awaiting me!  Well on our way into Spring, has me dying to tackle cleaning & organizing my home office-- and to get busy with some of the never ending & long neglected research projects that I'd hoped to wrap up over a long Minnesota Winter! 

Looking forward to "seeing" more of you all over the coming weeks & months~

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mystery Photo- Byron Cole & Sons?

This neat photo is from my own family archive
"Bryon Cole & Sons" was the identification



Byron Cole was an older brother to my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Delivan Cole. However, Byron only had 2 sons! 


Sadly, I don't know which of the men in this photo would be his sons... who were over 20 years apart in age. 
Nor do I know if the other men are his son in-laws? 
[He had 6 daughters who married!]

Hopefully there are some Cole relatives out there who can help identify these mystery "sons"

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mystery Photo- Estey Family- Mason City, Iowa

I forget now, just how I came to rescue this nice little portrait... it comes from a Mason City, Iowa photographer.



On the back side, someone took the time identify the 3 children and list their Father & Grandfather--
"Arthur E. Estey
Sylvia A. Estey
Harold W. Estey
Children of C.L. Estey
Son of Colin J. Estey"



A tiny bit of quick research show that Arthur Estey was born about 1898, Sylvia in 1902 and Harold 1910. They were the children of Clarence Luther "C.L." Estey & Carrie Brown. C.L. Estey was the son of Colin J. Estey & Henrietta Nelson. They families lived in Minnesota & Iowa at various points.

Hopefully someone out there is connected to this family & can claim this nice family portrait from the 1910's 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

TBT- Family of John & Beatrice Sturm

Spotlighting photos from my extensive photo archive
This week it is-

The family of John & Beatrice (Mapson) Sturm

L-R: Arlo, Mava, Beatrice, Ardyce, John

John & Beatrice were my Great-Grandparents, who sadly passed away many many years before I was born. They farmed in Martin County, Minnesota for many years, before moving into Fairmont in the 1940s.

They had 3 children: Mava (my Grandma), Arlo & Ardyce.
I'm not sure when or where this photo was taken, I don't recognize the side of the house-- and estimate it was taken around 1946, based on the appearance of my Grandmother & her siblings. 

Sadly, Beatrice would pass away in 1948, at only 46 years of age. John lived 20 more years, passing away in 1968.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Christmas Presents to Myself!

Even though we're two months beyond Black Friday, The Dead Relative Collector is just getting around to the purchases that were made for the home office!


After years of making do with mediocre printers & scanners, it seemed time to make some larger personal purchases!

Scanning my large photo archive and getting it digitally organized has been a longtime goal, that must be seriously tackled in 2017. And while I hope to limit the amount of printing that happens (too much paper!), I want what is printed to be of high quality.



And while I do have a super handy flip scanner for scanning on the go, it seemed time for a high quality flat bed scanner as well.

With the hustle & bustle of the Holiday Season, I never even got the packages opened up until later... and then a nasty bought of influenza after the New Year, that went on for weeks, delayed the setting up process even further.

Now, home office clutter has been tackled and it's time to get the new gadgets up and running! The Dead Relative Collector is excited for how these may aide in the research process.

Did you get any genealogy related gifts/purchases this last season?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

TBT- Maine Brothers & Sister of Winnebago

Spotlighting photos from my extensive archive
This week it is--
5 Maine siblings of Winnebago


Left to Right:
Ralph Maine [1872-1939] - my great-great grandfather
Spencer Maine [1860-1928]
Selwyn Maine (sitting) [1862-1952]
Olive Maine [1869-1933]
Irving Maine [1958-1928]

Five other siblings are not in this photograph-- 
Spencer & Irving farmed in Winnebago their entire lives. Selwyn & Ralph also lived in Winnebago & later lived in Northern Minnesota. Olive lived with different relatives over the years & also ran boarding houses throughout Minnesota.

They are the children of Erastus Maine [1823-1895] & Eliza Pierce [1838-1880]

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Genealogical New Year's Resolutions!

Another New Year Upon Us... Hello, 2017!

Another New Year…. My first impulse is to lament what a colossal failure 2016 was, in terms of my genealogical research! I still feel like I’m completely disorganized and wading through mountains of paper. And due to this dilemma, I feel that I’ve not been a very effective researcher—squandering valuable time and energy.

Of course, I know I’m probably just being unrealistically hard on myself. At one time, I was ultra-organized. I knew every single bit of research I’d done and every piece of documentation in my possession. In fact I had large swaths of my genealogy committed to memory. It was great. Fast forward 20 years. Things have changed. Lots of accumulated information, but not always where it needs to be. Brick walls have come tumbling down… but new ones have of course sprouted up. It’s a never ending cycle.

But in reality, if I’m honest, 2016 was a pretty good year for me genealogically speaking. I accomplished quite a few things and while I’m still “disorganized”, I think I’m well on my way to changing that.
Among my “accomplishments” that I can claim for the year
-Organized & launched a successful family reunion over a weekend, for 100 people
- Attended 2 day North Star Genealogy Conference, to further my genealogical education
-Continue to analyze DNA results from myself, father & both maternal grandparents
- A number of new pedigree ancestors & family surnames to research
- And even a few cousin connections

But now to the important part---- 
My 2017 New Year's Resolutions, albeit 3 weeks late...

1. GET ORGANIZED-- so much easier said than done... but I refuse to have this one show up in 2018. I know I can corral my 20+ years of research into something manageable once again!


2. Educate myself on what I don't know that I don't know... or a few things I know I don't, but wish I did! This is an easy one, because I'm already planning to attend a couple of genealogy workshops in person in 2017. There is always something new to educate yourself on when it comes to genealogy!

3. Photo Archive-- while this could fall under a sub-section of 'get organized', I'm giving it it's own resolution! I am lucky enough to have thousands & thousands (yes, really!) of family photos. It's time, once and for all to get them scanned & better organized. And the countless 'unknowns' need to be shared with others for possible identification!

4. Real Kin Connections-- Yes, there are actual living breathing relatives that I rather enjoy, and many of whom have interests in genealogy. It's time share some info & memories over a cup of coffee!

5. Time To Travel-- Yep, The Dead Relative Collector has more than a few road trips to take in 2017! There are records to be searched for, archives to be visited & cemeteries to be tromped through. Now to get planning the whens & wheres! 

And of course, this list could go on and on...and on and on... But I'll digress...  The world of genealogy is ever changing. Every week in fact, there are new resources and information entering our world. If I was lucky enough to be retired or vastly wealthy, I know I would devote many more hours in a week to our craft. Such as it is, neither is the case. And I will plug along, snatching what hours I might here & there... working hard at accomplishing my tasks... staying hopeful...

What's on your genealogical agenda for 2017? Any big goals? Trips or conferences on your schedule? A book to read or a webinar to enjoy? Some longtime brick wall you've finally decided to make a priority and smash down? Whatever these goals might be, Good Luck & Happy Hunting!