Father’s Day

One dad too many?

My Mom (Ardyth Meintzer Haws) and her cousin’s wife (Lois Palmer Meintzer) decided it was time to plan a Meintzer family reunion for 1983. The last one took place in 1930, so enough time had gone by! Instead of including the extended “Mentzers without the i” cousins, they limited it to descendants of Christian Meintzer. He had nine children surviving to adulthood, between his two wives.

The downside of having a large family, is that there are a lot of people to track down. The upside is having a lot of people to help with that task! While no one would know where everyone was (okay, Anna Kranz Schultz might have!), the hope was everyone had someone else who knew where they were. The phone calls and letters to the cousins began, starting with the oldest ones, who hopefully would know the most! The two-step process included:

  1. Identifying each descendant
  2. Finding an address for them

Both steps were equally important: you couldn’t find an address for someone you didn’t know about! Even cousins who couldn’t provide contact information usually knew names and general locations. Mom began to compile her “little black book” containing 4″x 6″ index cards and dividers.

Each child of Christian’s had a divider, with their kids, grandkids, etc., each having their own information card. Mom recorded the address, phone number, married-in spouse’s name, kids still at home. Sometimes birth or death dates were included. It was certainly a low-tech system, but it was easy to access, and kept everything together . . . for almost 40 years, it would seem.

Some sections were larger than others. Aunt Sophie (11 children) accounted for more than 1/3 of the cards! Then there was Aunt Emma’s section with only two cards. Emma was the first child of Christian Meintzer & Sophia Gaertner to be born in the USA, 18 April 1882. I knew she married Edward John Seiler, and they had one son, Elmer Kenneth. Elmer was six years older than my mom, so she remembered him. Her Aunt Emma died 8 July 1926, 44 years old. Elmer wasn’t yet 10. My mom was only 4, so her memories of her aunt were sketchy, at best, but her father had a couple photos of his sister:

Mom also had a school photo of Elmer—one of those small, 1″ x 2″ swap-with-your-friends photos:

Elmer’s father, Edward, died in 1931, only 6 years after Emma. Mom lost track of Elmer through the years, but located him in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1983. A lot of Seilers still lived in Deerfield, and Lois knew some of them. I think Lois found him that way. Mom’s notes listed a wife, Jeanette, but that she had died. She also wrote that he & Jeanette had 1 son.

We’ll come back to that, later.

Elmer attended that first reunion, though he didn’t come to any later ones. At that point, I was having kids, and was on my genealogy hiatus. When I resumed, I was busy converting from paper-based genealogy to computer files, and catching up the funeral cards, weddings, and new babies that arived in the 12 year break. I didn’t do much new research, certainly not on Elmer. I already knew his parents, after all!

Later reunion address lists moved him to Racine, Wisconsin, but then he fell off the grid. Mom figured he must have moved into a retirement center. As the new millenium started, my kids were older, so I had a little more time for genealogy. I decided to look for Elmer. Was he still alive? I did not find anything for him, so I decided to look for Jeanette, his wife. The only Jeanette Seiler I found was the wife of a Burney (Bernard) Seiler, with a son, Elmer.

What rabbit hole did I just fall into?

Remember, this was late 2000 or early 2001. Far fewer records were online. Ancestry, as a subscription site, was only 4-5 years old. Find a Grave was 2 years younger than that. Somehow I discovered Burney was buried in Green Ridge Cemetery, in Kenosha (he didn’t have a Find a Grave memorial yet). The cemetery offered an obituary lookup service, for a fee.

I must have mailed them a check with a request for Burney’s obituary, because I have a letter from Roxanne, postmarked 5 June 2001:

Enclosed are the obituaries-I enclosed the other two at no charge, As I feel they’ll be helpful in your research.

Roxanne, Kenosha Cemetery Association: Green Ridge Cemetery, Kenosha, Wisconsin to Christine HAWS BAUMAN, letter, 5 June 2001, requested obituary (Burney SEILER) plus 2 additional (Jeanette Ann SEILER and Mrs. Bernadine SEILER), Bauman Correspondence Files; privately held by Christine HAWS BAUMAN, Greenwood, Indiana.

Burney’s 1967 obituary listed Elmer K. Seiler (of Kenosha) as his son, a grandson (who I’m leaving unnamed, because he’s still living), and Jeanette as his surviving widow. What about the other obituaries? Jeanette Ann Seiler’s 1982 obituary confirmed Elmer as a son, and the existance of a grandson. Bernadine Seiler’s obituary listed her husband, Elmer K. Seiler, as a survivor, along with her son (matching the name in Burney’s obituary). She and Elmer married in 1948. The clipping did not have a date on it, but later research determined she died in November, 1965.

At that point, I was thoroughly confused. The notes from my mom didn’t match anything I was turning up. Had Elmer married twice, by coincidence marrying a woman with his mom’s name? Or was this Elmer K. Seiler the wrong man, entirely, even though Kenosha, Wisconsin, matched what I knew? The parents listed for him meant nothing to me. I did the only thing a sensible genealogist could do.

I walked away from the problem.

That may seem like a cop-out, but since I was fairly sure my mom’s cousin Elmer was still alive, I wasn’t going to find any records pointing directly to him until he died. Plus, time ticking by would allow other records to find their way online. It wasn’t a bad strategy.

By the next time I looked for him, he had passed away. I found Elmer K. Seiler in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)¹ with a 20 November 1916 birth date, Social Security Number issued in Wisconsin, and dying 29 September 2006. That fit with what I already had. When I located his obituary, though, I ran into the same problem as before: the parents were Burney & Jeanette, and the wife was Bernadine. I decided I needed to track Elmer more thoroughly, and research the other names.

Edward’s WWI draft registration² listed Emma as his wife. The 1920 census³ showed Edward Seiler, wife, Emma, and 3½ year old Elmer farming in Vernon Township, Illinois, not far from Emma’s father’s farm. I acquired a copy of Emma’s death certificate, which confirmed her birth and death dates for her Find a Grave4 memorial. Her husband’s adjacent headstone confirmed the information I had for him.

The 1930 census5 showed a widowed Edward, with his son still living in Vernon township. Everything looked great, until I found Elmer in the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. That database is related to the SSDI, but includes the names of the parents for the person applying. Emma and Edward were listed as his parents—great! Except that birth and death dates matched the ones in the obituary I found—the one that had Burney and Jeanette as parents.

I was back where I started. It was like being stuck in a really bad episode of My Two Dads. I decided to research Burney and Jeanette.

They were living in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the 1940 census, with a 20-year-old Elmer Seiler. Elmer’s age was off a bit, but he was born in Illinois, and had lived in the same house since at least 1935. It was consistent, but could I prove this Elmer and my Elmer were the same?

I could track Burney through all the census years:

  • 1930: age 35; married to Jeanette, living in Kenosha.
  • 1920: age 24; living with his parents, Henry & Christine.
  • 1910: age 15; living with his parents, Henry & Christine.
  • 1900; age 5; living with his parents Blassus (the 1880 census and his passport application listed him as Blasius) & Christine.

Edward (Emma’s husband) never appeared in any census record with his parents. He was living on his own and working for the 1900 and 1910 census enumerations, and then was married. But he was connected to Leo, Dora, and other siblings, who also appeared in that family, so Burney was just another younger brother. From Burney’s obituary, it was clear he and Jeanette had no other children. Whether they simply took in Elmer after Edward’s death, or if he was officially adopted, I don’t know.

My theory is that Elmer’s son (the person providing information for the death certificate and writing the obituary) never knew about any other parents than Burney & Jeanette. If he never heard about Emma and Edward, wouldn’t know to use those names, instead. Or maybe he did, but still felt the people who spent more years with Elmer deserved the recognition?

One sure-fire way to confirm the theory would be if Elmer’s son showed up as a DNA match to me and the other Meintzer cousins. He is a 2nd cousin to me, so the odds are astronomical that he would not share some DNA with me. Will I hunt him down and ask him to test? No. That would just be creepy.

In the meantime, I continued down the Ancestry hints for Elmer, and found his WWII draft registration. He listed “Mrs. Jeannette Seiler” as next of kin. Looking at the card image (not just the indexed information), in the relationship field, he wrote “foster mother.”

Bingo! The one detail I needed to explain “his two dads” and connect everyone together as they should be.

One mystery finally put to bed.

#52Ancestors


¹Social Security Administration, “Social Security Death Index”, database, Ancestry.com,(https://www.ancestry.com), accessed 16 June 2021, entry for Elmer K. SEILER, SS no. 390-03-7793.

²”United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918″, digital image, The National Archives (https://www.familysearch.org), Edward John SEILER, serial no. 6, order no. 3454, Draft Board 1, Lake County, Illinois; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: NARA microfilm publication M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library Roll No. 1,614,031; accessed 26 December 2015. Registered 12 September 1918.

³1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Illinois, Lake, Vernon Township, e.d. 267; sheet 11B; dwelling number 253; family number 261; line 81; Edward J. SEILER household; accessed 25 December 2015. Elmer SEILER age 3 1/2; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 382; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).

4Find a Grave, database, Find a Grave (http://www.findagrave.com) accessed 25 December 2015, memorial 148219739, Emma E. SEILER (1882-1926), Lakeside Cemetery, Libertyville, Lake, Illinois; photographs by Dorie. I’m not sure why the middle initial is “E”, unless sometimes her middle name of “Amelia” got misspelled/misheard as “Emelia”.

51930 U.S. census, population schedule, Illinois, Lake, Vernon Township, e.d. 49-65; sheet 1A; dwelling number 1; family number 1; line 1; Edward J. SEILER household; accessed 26 December 2015. Edward J. SEILER, age 48; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 529; digital image, Ancestry,com (https://www.ancestry.com).

Bridge

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.”—A. A. Milne

Sometimes genealogy is like a jigsaw puzzle. Other times, like this weekend, it becomes a scavenger hunt. I knew I wanted to use a photo of an old bridge that was “significant” to my grandfather, Christoph Jacob Meintzer. I looked through the 3300+ photos my son scanned for me, with no luck. I was pretty sure it had been a “Real PostCard” image, with a description printed on the front, so I also checked the binder currently gathering the postcards with messages written. Nothing there.

I checked the 3 hanging files for my Meintzer line (I have a lot for them!) and didn’t see it.

I pulled out the Meintzer correspondence binder (yes, they earned their own!), in case I mounted it on acid-free paper with clear photos corners. Nothing.

The bins with my unscanned photos? Nada.

I looked through the 3300+ scanned-in images again, with larger thumbnails. Still no luck.

Maybe I’d tossed it, somewhere along the line? I really didn’t think so, because I thought I remembered there being a negative of this photo, too. Even though Mom didn’t recall why the bridge was important, one doesn’t keep (or make) negatives of unimportant images. I kept looking.

Searches through some of the other hanging file folders were equally fruitless. It was time to dive into the rabbit hole of “Mom’s folders.” She had hundreds of pocket folders (like kids use in school), and would buy more each start of the school year, when they were on deep discount. When she moved in 2009, we stored an entire bankers box of unused folders in her storage area—in addition to the ones in her apartment being used.

She had multiple folders labeled “Family History,” “Family Stuff,” “Genealogy,” etc., not because she had so much information, but because she wouldn’t remember where the first folder was, and would start a new one, often with duplicates of items in the first folder! Of course, the label on the folder was no guarantee off-topic items wouldn’t roost there. I found a word puzzle in one of the folders this evening. Not remotely related to genealogy! I filed it in the recycle box.

Obviously one of my projects is to weed through her folders to see what needs to be merged with my files (which need their own weeding!), and what can disappear. Anyway, in the 7th or 8th folder, I did not find the original, but I found an 6.5″ x 9.5″ enlargement my dad scanned and printed on photo paper for her:

The Des Plaines River was a by-product of the glaciers scraping across northern Illinois. It wanders freely through the Chicago area. I knew the farm Christoph grew up on in the Riverwoods was near the river, as were my Kranz cousins living in Des Plaines and Riverview. Highland Park, however, is about 6 miles east of where my grandfather lived, so I figured there must be a section where the Des Plaines River flowed west from Highland Park, toward the Riverwoods, and then south, eventully to Des Plaines.

Wrong!

Highland Park is on Lake Michigan, and the Des Plaines River never gets anywhere close to it. It is the longest stream1 in the Chicago area, meandering south from southern Wisconsin for 133 miles, varying from 30 to a 180 foot widest point. Around Joliet, it joins forces with the Kankakee River, becomes the Illinois River, and ends up in the Mississippi. Why this photo/postcard suggested it was near Highland Park, I can’t imagine. Perhaps at the time, Highland Park was the bigger (more notable) town, so it was mentioned for that reason?

So, where was this bridge, and why was it important to my grandfather? The most likely guess I have is that it crossed the river at Deerfield Road. That was only 2 miles from his parents’ farm, and it would be a logical choice. Unfortunately, the bridge above is no longer there. It’s been replaced by a modern bridge, with a pedestrian bridge parallel to it, part of the Des Plaines River Trail, which runs through the Forest Preserves.

I’d heard Grandpa fished in the Des Plaines River, so perhaps he fished off this bridge?

I searched the internet for copies of this image, to see if I could confirm that theory or learn anything more. With the identification printed on the front, this was obviously a commercial post card. Google Images found many other old photos of the Des Plaines River, none with this bridge, though. Nothing turned up in eBay listings, either. An article in The Daily Herald newspaper (behind their subscription wall) showed an image of a similarly-styled bridge, but only half the length, in Long Grove, Illinois. Clearly not the same bridge!

As I unsuccessfully searched for that bridge photo, I unearthed this photo:

Unlike the other image, this one came from a roll of film, and had “Deerfield Crossing” handwritten on the back, in my mom’s writing. But which crossing? What road? When? Google Maps marked the Northbrook Metra station—clearly not Deerfield. The next stop north was the Lake Cook Road station. Lake Cook Road also passes under the rail line, but further research revealed that station did not open until 1996. Deerfield station was next. The current station is north of Deerfield Road (past the far side of the bridge in the photo), but when street view drops down to Deerfield Road (instead of the tracks and parking lot), it’s clearly the right crossing! The steps have been updated, as well as the bridge, but there’s no mistaking it.

Amazingly, someone wrote a Wikipedia article² about the Deerfield station, providing answers to some questions about the photo. The underpass was not built until 1913, so the photo was taken after that. The building at the top of the hill may have been the previous station building, but a new one was built north, at the present location, in 1903 (according to the Deerfield Historical Society³) or 1900, (according to the Wayback Machine archived copy of the Village of Deerfield website4). Either way, at the time of this photo, the building was repurposed by the railroad, or whoever the railroad leased or sold the building to.

With the station on the north side of Deerfield Road, presumably another set of stairs existed on that side, outside the camera’s viewfinder. Walking over the bridge on the tracks to reach the station would seem ill-advised!

Why does either bridge matter? Obviously they are not ancestors. When I look at my collection of photos from the early 20th century (and earlier), I find very few photos my family took of things or scenery. Mike’s family is (and your family might be) different, but for mine, I seldom find a photo of a house by itsel f. Usually, people are in front of it. Ditto for cars. Or vacation spots.

So even though I still don’t understand why Grandpa kept them, the existance of these photos suggests to me these bridges were important on their own merit. Taking the time to research them gave me a better understanding. The Des Plaines River bridge not actually being “near” Highland Park was a huge revelation! So it was not a bridge Christoph took to court my grandmother. Or to go to work at the brickyard.

Eliminating possibilities can be as important as finding answers.

And the railroad bridge? It was quite a marvel at the time. I can see my grandfather taking a photo of it. Even more amazing was the fact the village managed to con persuade the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad to cover the construction costs!4 Farther up the track, Gurnee was not so fortunate and had to pay the $14,000 cost for their underpass (about $377,652.12 today!).5

Everything has a story . . .

#52Ancestors


¹”Des Plaines River”. 2021. Ifishillinois.Org. https://www.ifishillinois.org/profiles/Des_Plaines.php. Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Accessed 7 June 2021.

²”Deerfield Station – Wikipedia”. 2021. En.Wikipedia.Org. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deerfield_station. Accessed 7 June 2021

³”Deerfield Area Historical Society”. 2021. Deerfieldhistoricalsociety.Org. https://deerfieldhistoricalsociety.org/history.html. Accessed 7 June 2021.

4“Community – Historical Information,” The Village of Deerfield, (http://deerfield-il.org/community/historical.html : accessed 30 July 2007), Railroad section; web page archived at Wayback Machine (https://web.archive.org/web/20070730122453/http://deerfield-il.org/community/historical.html : 7 June 2021).

5https://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1913?amount=14000

Military

“Where have all the young men gone? They’re all in unform.”—Pete Seeger (or, “Gone for soldiers, every one,” if you prefer Peter, Paul, & Mary’s or The Kingston Trio’s versions.)

I’ve been on a “Rondout Kranz” kick of late, mostly by accident. While Amy Johnson Crow has published the prompts for the entire year these last two years, I do NOT plan my topics in advance. Maybe I should, but I don’t. I try to spread the love around my (and Mike’s) various ancestral and collateral lines. If I have a sudden influx of information (or photos, in this case), and the prompts fit well, I find myself hovering around a family for several posts.

In this case, a newly acquired photo of Lovina Kranz Brumm’s brothers is the culprit:

Raymond Edward Kranz (1892-1971) [left] and Clarence Albert Kranz (1895-1973) [right] in their WWI uniforms. Photo in the possession of their grandniece, Paula.

Lovina was the oldest of Adam Henry and Carrie Meintzer Kranz’s three children. She and Raymond were born in Iowa, while the youngest, Clarence, was born in Illinois. Until I received this photo, Raymond and Clarence were only names in the tree. I had bare-bones information about them—that’s about it. I knew Raymond’s service dates, but didn’t realize Clarence enlisted, also.

I can only imagine Aunt Carrie’s reaction to having both boys enlisted and shipping out for who knew how long. The Alsatian village she had emigrated from (Dehlingen) was located on the German side of the Western Front. The war was raging around the family members (uncle, aunt, and cousins) she’d left behind at age 9. The families kept in touch, but after Carrie’s mother (Sophia Gaertner Meintzer) died in 1913, who (if anyone) maintained that contact? Perhaps Carrie’s oldest full sister, Sophie. Could they get letters through while the war continued on? I’m not sure.

But, back to the boys. Raymond registered, as required, in the first World War I draft registration, 5 June 1917. At the time, he was 25 years old, and working as a railroad clerk at the nearby train station. I don’t know whether he was ordered to appear for a physical (like my grandfather was), or if he decided to volunteer, but Raymond enlisted 19 September 1917. He was a Private First Class in Company M of the 131 Infantry, 33rd Division.

131st Infantry – Company M. Photo taken in Hempstead, New York. at Camp Mills. Clicking on this image will zoom it in, with scroll bars. Or click on the link below, and click again to get a larger, higher resolution photo, if you are interested. Used with permission of Laura J. Stewart.

Raymond’s Find a Grave memorial1 has a photo of his company, uploaded by Laura J. Stewart. She graciously gave me permission to embed the photo, here. The caption (on the site) indicated it was taken at Camp Mills, in Hempstead, New York [Long Island]. Camp Mills was one of the staging areas for soldiers shipping out. Company M sailed on the USS Leviathan from Hoboken, New Jersey, 22 May 1918. They arrived at Brest, France, 30 May. Unfortunately, I cannot pick Raymond out of the 156 men in the Camp Mills photo! Presumably this image was taken shortly before they sailed.

My understanding is the 131st Infantry was formed from the Illinois National Guard. I don’t know if Raymond was already a member of the guard, or if he simply ended up there, after enlistment. His training would have taken place at Camp Logan (near Zion, Illinois). There’s a little confusion about Camp Logan, because another one existed near Houston, Texas. Some web sites claim the 131st infantry trained in Texas, but that doesn’t really make much sense. Camp Logan in Illinois was obviously closer. It was also the rifle range for the Illinois National Guard. Since the 131st Infantry formed from the Illinois National Guard, it would make sense that the training would have taken place there.

While I don’t have a detailed service record for him, or a list of where Company M served, the 131st Infantry would have been involved with:

  • Le Hamel
  • Meuse-Argonne Offensive
  • Somme Offensive [Second Battle of the Somme], and
  • Battle of Saint-Mihiel

Raymond shipped home as a Private First Class from Brest on the USS Kaiserin Augusta Victoria 14 May 1919. This was a German ship turned over to Great Britain as part of the German war reparations, and was used to repatriate American soldiers after the war. His return transport passenger list did not specify where they landed, or when, but most soldiers were repatriated through Camp Merritt, New Jersey, before being placed on a train home. That’s the most likely scenario.

What about Clarence? He registered for the draft the same day as his brother. The serial number on his card was 7 less than Raymond’s, so I guess he was ahead of him in the line. Clarence didn’t enlist in the Army, however, until 28 May 1918, eight months after his older brother. Clarence was part of the Automatic Replacement Draft, Company #21, Infantry. That group of soldiers was needed to replace the soldiers dying in Europe from either the fighting, or the Spanish Flu.

Camp Gordon was mentioned in the header of his transport to France, so it seems he had boot camp or whatever training he had, in Georgia, near Atlanta, then was transported to New Jersey for the ship. I don’t have an explanation for that. Clarence also shipped out from Hoboken, New Jersey, on the USS Leviathan, 3 months after his brother (31 August 1918). The ship docked at Brest on 7 September. Since Clarence was part of the replacement draft, he would have been sent where he was needed. I don’t know which company or regiment he landed in, or what his duties were.

Clarence’s return transport passenger list provided a few clues I’m still trying to decipher. His rank was “PVT. A.S.C.” I can figure out “Private” but the initials are giving me trouble. “Army Service Corps” showed up on several lists, but it was generally linked to the British Army, not the US Army. The next string is even more confusing:

HQ. CO. C.C. 1st R. D.

“Headquarters” and “Company” would make sense, but the “C.C.” still leaves me scratching my head. The header for the page indicated the military unit was the “St. Aignan Casual Co. No. 7401 (Illinois).” St. Aignan was a staging area in France for shipping soldiers home. They tried to gather them into groups of 150 or so, all traveling to the same state—or nearby ones—and ship them out together.

So, what’s a “Casual Company”? One source said it was “an army group specially composed for specific duties, drawing personnel from other types of units.” Another source (that talked about the shipping home process) said casual companies were “formed out of men who have been wounded or recently discharged from a sick bed in a hospital—men, in a word, disqualified for replacement service.”

Had Clarence been wounded? Or sick? I really don’t know. Keep in mind, the Spanish Flu was still making the rounds everywhere, including Europe. It’s possible that C.C. could be used for both meanings, depending on the context. Based on the passenger list going to France, it’s possible the “1st R.D.” stood for “1st Replacement Draft.” So I still don’t really know where he was, or what he was doing.

He sailed home on the SS Pesaro from Marseille on 25 June 1919. That trip was much slower than the first, not arriving in New York until 17 July. His passenger list was stamped for Camp Merritt.

I found it curious that the brothers shipped out on the same vessel, months apart. The USS Leviathan was a German2 passenger ship, the Vaterland, seized by US Customs officials because it was anchored in New York when the USA finally entered World War I. She was refitted to use as a troop transport, renamed, and turned over to the Navy on 25 July 1917. She also received a new paint job:

USS Leviathan, painted with the “dazzle” camouflage designed by the British. This image, embedded from the Armenian News Network/Groong3 website, was apparently taken on 30 May 1918 by United States Signal Corps photographer Lt. A.J. Sutton—the day Raymond arrived in Brest, France. Maybe if I zoom in a lot, I’ll see him on deck?

She was the largest (59,956 ton3) ship in the world at the time, and one of the fastest, clearing 22 knots. Roughly ten thousand soldiers were transported to France each trip, taking just 8 days, as we saw above. Perhaps, given her size and speed, she was the only ship used to transport soldiers. It was generally thought she could outrun the U-boats, which were a problem in the Atlantic. I located a digital copy of a history for this ship4 at Project Gutenberg, giving details of their run-ins with attacking German ships and subs.

The USS Leviathan experienced tragedy2 on the eastbound trip a month after Clarence’s. During the westbound trip immediately after his, several passengers and crew had died of influenza and were buried at sea. Franklin D. Roosevelt (Assistant Secretary of the Navy) was on board, and had become seriously ill, barely surviving. In the meantime, influenza was working its way through Camp Merritt, afflicting the soldiers ready to deploy. That next eastbound trip saw over 2000 cases of influenza and pneumonia on board, with almost 100 deaths. That didn’t count the men who were too sick to board and were taken back to camp.

Clarence’s timing was extremely fortunate!

One question still remains: Where and when did the boys have that photo taken? When Clarence enlisted, Raymond was already halfway across the Atlantic! Did they meet up somewhere in France and have a picture taken? Maybe. If it was at the end of the war, it would seem pointless to send a photo to their parents, if they were soon to be discharged. They shipped home from ports nowhere near each other, so they weren’t in the same place at the same time at the end.

I suppose they might have taken a photo together in uniform when they returned home, just to commemorate their service time. Regardless, it’s nice to have this photo to remind us of that time in their lives—and to be grateful they survived both the conflict and the Spanish Flu epidemic.

#52Ancestors


¹Find a Grave, database, Find a Grave (http://www.findagrave.com) accessed 31 May 2021, memorial 35736772, Raymond E. KRANZ, Sr., (1892-1971), Northshore Garden of Memories, North Chicago, Lake, Illinois; photo credits Ray Roewert and Laura J. Stewart.

²Arnold, Catharine. 2020. “Ship Of Death: The Tragic Tale Of The USS Leviathan – The History Reader”. The History Reader. https://www.thehistoryreader.com/world-history/ship-of-death-the-tragic-tale-of-the-uss-leviathan/. Accessed 31 May 2021.

³Krikorian, Abraham D., and Eugene L. Taylor. 2015. “Ninety-Six Years Ago Today. . .”. Armenian News Network/Groong. https://www.groong.com/orig/ak-20150216.html. Accessed 1 June 2021.

4U.S.S. Leviathan History Committee. 2019. “The Project Gutenberg Ebook Of History Of The U.S.S. Leviathan, By Various.”. Gutenberg.Org. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/59699/59699-h/59699-h.htm. Accessed 2 June 2021.

At the Cemetery

Cemeteries aren’t the unchangable places we may think they are . . .

My great-grandparents, Christian Meintzer and Sophia Gaertner, were buried in Mooney Cemetery, along with other family members. I wrote about this cemetery and the one it connects with (no fence in between) about 2 years ago, but I’m revisiting it this week.

Why? Things happen.

When Sophia died in 1913, Mooney Cemetery was fairly new. In 1899, John Mooney had used part of his property to reinter some of his ancestors when the cemetery where they were buried was sold. As other graves accumulated for the family of friends and neighbors, he decided to turn that land into a public cemetery, and sell plots. He recorded it officially in 1907, so it was only six years old when Sophia was buried there.

If you look at Google street view, you can see the hairpin-shaped road through the cemetery was paved with bricks. Given that there were at least two brickyards nearby (my grandfather, Christoph Jacob Meintzer worked at both of them), that may not be surprising. Are those still the original bricks? I’m not sure. Possibly. Cemetery roads don’t get heavy traffic, so they may have held up well enough over time.

So why have I come back to this cemetery, and these graves? There’s not really any new information about either Christian or Sophia.

When I reconnected with my 2nd cousin once removed this spring, we each shared photos the other person didn’t have. Among the photos from Paula was the one below:

Christian & Sophia’s headstones from a long time ago. It was obviously after Christian’s death 28 January 1922. The ground in front of his headstone (left) doesn’t look freshly disturbed, so it may have been taken a year or two later. Photo in possession of 2nd cousin, once removed, Paula. It was probably taken by her grandmother, Lovina Kranz Brumm.

My jaw dropped when I first saw it. First, because the only cemetery photos I have are ones taken either by myself, or by my parents (at my request), to document my genealogy files. I have never seen an old cemetery photo in all the photos I’ve run across. In 40+ years of genealogy, I’ve been shown a lot of old photos!

Secondly, I’m used to picturing that cemetery the way it looks now, so this photo was totally unexpected. Those are fence posts along the northern boundary, probably strung with barbed wire between them (since we can’t see anything). The sapling and small bush may be planted along the fence line.

Beyond the fence was the remainder of John Mooney’s property—probably under cultivation for whatever crops he raised.

Returning to Google street view, and zooming in as much as possible, I can barely make out my great-grandparents’ headstones. They are to the left of the large white headstone on the right side of the road. Their horizontal cylinders are the only ones in that section of the cemetery, helping to identify them. There are two very large trees in front of them (perhaps a couple rows ahead). Other, smaller trees provide shade, and add to the current park-like appearance. The barbed wire fencing was replaced with nicer looking wood rails, and that entire boundary is now lined with bushes and trees outside the fence, blocking from view everything on the other side.

The appearance of the cemetery is vastly different now, compared to the older photo!

What’s outside that fence, now? How did that land develop in the last century? If you “drive” north (to the left, still in street view) of the cemetery, you find Mooney Park. The article1 I referenced 2 years ago said original plat maps of the Mooney property designated part of the land as “swamp.” That would have made it difficult to develop with buildings, so it’s possible that’s why the property north of the cemetery was donated for use as a park. The trees and bushes around the perimeter provide privacy for those on either side of the fence, but if they were gone, it would look much as it did in the original photo—open, not built up.

So, what’s the takeaway, from all this?

We are so accustomed to seeing the cemeteries, houses, neighborhoods, etc., of our ancestors as they look today. Or even 20 or 30 years ago. We forget these places started out looking a bit rough around the edges. Or that they were out in the middle of nowhere (like my grandparents’ house several posts ago).

That realization may not change any actual facts about my family members, but it may alter my view a bit. It changes my understanding of them and their lives—or at least forces me to acknowledge there were influences in their lives I will never fully understand.

Old photos and ephemera can give us insight we wouldn’t have, otherwise.

#52Ancestors


¹”Mooney,” Talk of the Township, Summer Issue 2010, online posting of article at the Moraine Township, Illinois web site. (https://www.morainetownship.org/super/CemMooney_article.html

Cousin Bait

“Within our family there was no such thing as a person who did not matter. Second cousins thrice removed mattered.” – Shirley Abbott

Back in what seems like eons ago (it was only 2014 or 15, I think?), I discovered free genealogy webinars. Since I knew a trip to Rootstech (still new at that point) or any of the other big conferences was not in my future, I started watching them live or in replays.

Since my children had been nagging me start a blog, I made a point of watching several blogging (or family website) webinars over time. Being focused on genealogy, those made more sense than aimlessly wandering the internet for how-to articles of a more generic nature. I’m pretty sure I watched one from Dear Myrtle (Pat Richley-Erickson) as well as Lisa Louise Cooke. Both genealogists talked about an online presence being “cousin bait.”

So, what is it?

“Cousin bait” is a term that genealogists use for luring cousins who can share and collaborate with them.

“Help:Cousin Bait”. 2021. Wikitree.Com. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Cousin_Bait. Accessed 16 May 2021.

Bottom line: it’s fishing for cousins. Distant ones. The ones who know more than I do. Or have different information than I have. I know many of my extended cousins, but they are a drop in the bucket, compared to the ones I don’t know.

So as I embarked on this blogging adventure in 2018, “cousin bait” was certainly a consideration! I didn’t (still don’t) have time to become an expert in SEO (Search Engine Optimization—how Google (or other search engines) finds your site and directs other people to it), but I gleaned enough information from WordPress (my hosting platform) and a few blogging articles to realize I should:

  • blog consistently (Amy Johnson Crow’s 52Ancestors Challenge helps with that!)
  • tag posts with keywords (I limit them mostly to surnames and locations)
  • include images (most posts have at least one!)

In the early days, I’d post a blog, and then stalk Google, seeing if it found me. Pathetic, right? It was exciting when a search for my blog name landed a link on the first page of results. I was even more excited when a search for “<surname> genealogy” pointed to an appropriate blog post on the first page of hits!

The question is, now that I’m into year 4, has the “cousin bait” worked? I would say yes. Searches like the one above still generate a link to my most recent post with that surname, usually on the first page. On my laptop that died last month, I used to get a “filmstrip” of thumbnail images near the top of search results, many of them also coming from my blog. On the new laptop (which arrived a week ago), I’m not seeing that feature, even though I’m still using a Chrome browser. If I click over specifically to “images,” they show up. I’ll need to see what setting I need to adjust to see the “filmstrip” like before.

The point is that Google still finds (and indexes) my posts. If someone searches appropriately, they can find me. But does anyone search? Apparently, yes. Obviously, I hear from known cousins about various blog posts. It’s great when they can add to the story I’d started. Unknown relatives occasionally turn up, too.

An Ensminger cousin found a 2019 post (I’d Like to Meet). She was planning a trip to Insming, France, that summer, and hoped I might have more information. We determined her father and I are 11th cousins. Ensmingers are way back on my tree . . . I really didn’t know any more than what was in my post, but suggested she contact the Ensmingers who updated the pages and information I had used. They would know more than I did. Hopefully she found them, learned what she needed, and had a wonderful trip. I’m glad I wrote about them, so that she was able to find my post.

The post about St. Joseph’s Cemetery, in Wilmette, generated contact from the granddaughter of William Levernier. In the post, I suspected William was a brother to my granduncle, Urban Levernier, though I didn’t have absolute proof of that. She confirmed that William & Urban were brothers. Better still, she sent photos of Uncle Urban, as well as a couple of Lizzie, his wife (my grandmother’s sister). I have very few photos of her, so was delighted to obtain a few from a different time in her life.

I’m not related to the Levernier family—Urban married into my Schweiger line. The new “cousin” isn’t related to the Schweigers—Lizzie married into the Levernier family. Yet we were each able to fill in gaps for one another, both of us benefitting.

Sometimes, the “cousin bait” works in a more round-about way. Very recently—this spring, actually—I was contacted by a 2nd cousin once removed. I knew who she was, and how we were connected, though we’d never communicated directly. I wasn’t sure where she currently lived, so had no way to reach her. She didn’t search for genealogy information.

So, how did we get together??

I had written a post about her grandmother, Lovina Kranz Brumm, in January, complete with a lovely photo. Meanwhile, in a Facebook private group that reminisces about the town where Lovina lived most of her life, this cousin posted (and identified) a different photo of Lovina. One of the other group members (not related to either of us, as far as I know) posted the link to my blog post to the group, and suggested she contact me, in case I had more.

WOW! Thanks!

So in addition to a ton of blog hits that week from others in that group, I heard from her via the contact form on my blog site. We’ve spent the last six weeks exchanging photos and stories. The information we each have complements the other’s.

While I have the names and dates of our shared ancestors going back to the seventeen-, sixteen-, and fifteen-hundreds, she has photos fleshing out that branch of my tree much more. Names now had faces. And stories! She grew up literally next door to her grandparents and could tell me tidbits of information that suddenly made sense of something else.

For instance, I always knew Lovina’s husband, Bill, made burial vaults. For those of you unfamilar with the term, when a wooden casket is used for burial, it needs to be placed inside a concrete box—vault—so that as the wood decomposes under the ground, dirt above it doesn’t sink. I’m not sure if vaults are required if the casket is made of metal, and my quick online searches didn’t answer that question for me. Other materials can also be used for vaults, but back in the day, concrete was probably the most common.

My mom only ever mentioned the burial vaults, when talking about Bill. Imagine my surprise to learn he did other types of concrete work, and poured most of the concrete sidewalks in his town. Suddenly, I saw the red diamonds in my grandfather’s front sidewalk in a completely different light!

While I have no proof, and my mom never said anything about her dad getting help from his nephew (by marriage) when putting in that sidewalk, I would lay odds that Lovina’s husband came to help with that project. It makes perfect sense; he would have had the know-how, and the tools, to simplify the job.

Getting nibbles on the cousin bait I’ve put out to the universe is always exciting. And always exhausting! Trying to decide what to share and what to ask about, while not scaring off the other person is tricky business. Handling that while trying to absorb information coming in from the other person isn’t easy. Real life has this nasty habit of interrupting, too.

Fortunately, nibbles seem to space themselves out, so they don’t overwhelm, but they provide enough of a reward to make the effort worthwhile. So I keep setting out bait . . .

#52Ancestors

Mother’s Day

“But behind all your stories is your mother’s story, for hers is where yours begins.”—Mitch Albom

I’d planned on writing about Mike’s maternal 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Renehan (on the side of his grandmother, Elizabeth Gertrude Nolan). When I started looking at her, I realized I’d written about her last fall, in Proud. Time to regroup.

I moved up Mike’s pedigree chart, to a great-grandmother—the mother of his grandfather, Francis Charles Kukler (Elizabeth’s husband, Frank). Frank’s mother was Mary Magdalena Schmitt (sometimes spelled Schmidt). I ran into her maiden name on the 1942 death certificate of her husband, Frank J. Kukler. She was 72 at the time, suggesting an 1870 birth. I was able to confirm that in the Michigan, County Birth registers.

Magdalena passed away 31 August 1943—one year, 10 days, after her husband. I can find her on Find a Grave, in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, but not Frank—even though his death certificate said his remains were headed there. Her headstone is engraved with “Mother,” so I assume he’s there next to her. Either his headstone (with “Father”?) is gone, or he simply doesn’t have a memorial page. I’ve never been to that cemetery in person to see what’s there. When I’d asked my mother-in-law about the family’s cemeteries, I was told there weren’t always headstones erected, so who knows?

Francis Charles Kukler and Magdalena Schmitt Kukler. Date is unknown, as is location, but I believe it may be before Frank’s marriage in 1919. This could have been one of the houses on Seyburn, or the house on Maxwell. I believe it’s the same house as in the photo below. I ran this image through MyHeritage’s enhancement tool.

Magdalena is one of the better-documented women in my tree, with lots of data points to track her through time. Her name was recorded fairly consistently, too, which helped to find her records in the first place, as well as connect her correctly to her children in their documents. I found her in each of the census years (barring 1890, of course):

  • 18701—She was merely 2 months old, having been born on March 1st)2. She was child #5 of Peter and Margaret.
  • 18803She was 10, living at 389 Brewster Street with her parents and three brothers. Her father was listed as Joseph, but all the ages and the other names fit.
  • 19004—She and Frank were living at 1193 Seyburn Avenue, with 4 children and Magdalena’s widowed mother, Margaret, moved in. They had lost 2 children by that that time (“mother of 6 children 4 living”)
  • 19105—They were living at 528 Seyburn with 8 children, with 5 being born between census years. Another child had been born and died in the 10 years (all 4 from 1900 were accounted for). Magdalena’s older brother, John, was living with them, as well a boarder. That’s 12 people in one house! They were mis-indexed as “HUKLER,” but the “K” simply got misread.
  • 19206—The family moved to 1158 Maxwell Avenue, with 3 more kids moved out, and Magdalena’s brother, John, still living there, but listed as a lodger. Once again, the name was indexed/transcribed incorrectly as KECKLER, even though it was written KUKLER.
  • 19307—Frank and Magdalena were almost empty-nesters, with only one son (Lawrence, age 26) remaining in the house. The house address was 5046 Maxwell. Detroit renumbered its streets in 1921, so it’s possible they didn’t actually move between the census years, and this was the same house as 1920.
  • 19408—Frank and Magdalena (written as Michalena!) had not moved.

Throughout the census years, Magdalena had no occupation listed. With 8 living children, and having boarders for portions of that time, I’m sure she kept plenty busy! She completed only 6th grade8, but comparing the school system from that era with the current one isn’t necessarily a fair comparison.

Margaret E. Kukler, Magdalena Schmitt Kukler, and Francis Charles Kukler. As before (above) the date and location are unknown, though I think both were the same day. A Google Maps street view on both streets didn’t identify a house, though it looked similar in style to several. Many have been torn down over the years. It may be the right side of a duplex. Neither photo showed a house number.

Magdalena Schmitt and Frank J. Kukler married in 1890. They applied for their license 20 October, and tied the knot the next day. Magdalena was recorded as “Mamie,” a nickname commonly used for Mary or Margaret. The only record I’ve found with with “Mary” included in her name was her death certificate–which fed over to her Find a Grave memorial. Of course, finding Schmitt recorded as “Smith” came as no surprise! Their parents’ names matched, so I know it was the right couple.

Their children tended to marry in their late twenties, so lived in their parents’ household for two census years. Coupled with birth and death records, I could account for all 11 of their children:

  • Francis Charles—8 September 1891-2 January 1972 (Mike’s grandfather)
  • John—December 1892-14 October 1893
  • Joseph M. (sometimes other middle initials!)—25 June 1894-26 July 1971
  • Margurieta—5 April 1896-9 April 1896 (Her dates are a bit “off.” Death register (recorded 13 May 1897) said she died April 9th, 8 days old. Birth record (recorded 25 May 1897) said she was born April 5th. Maybe I need to find a baptismal record?)
  • Charles J.—17 June 1897 (recorded almost a year later!)-12 September 1971
  • John L.—8 November 1898-9 May 1986 (sometimes he was John Charles)
  • Margaret E.—1902-1940 or 1941. She married Harry Campbell, and had daughter, Helen. Mike’s aunts said she died between 1932 and 1941, but I found her in the 1940 census. I still haven’t found her death certificate to nail down that date, though!
  • Lawrence Anthony—3 February 1904-17 March 1994
  • Edward—16 September 1905-8 January 1924
  • Clarence—30 September 1907-5 January 1916
  • May—5 September 1909-5 September 1909 (stillborn–her surname was spelled Kuchler, but her father’s was spelled Kukler, and her mother’s name was correct)

Mike’s aunts (his mom’s sisters) said they didn’t really see their paternal grandparents too much. They seemed to think it had something to do with their mother (Elizabeth Nolan Kukler) being Irish, and their father’s parents not approving of that. As a grandparent, that seems counter-intuitive to me! Only two of Francis Charles’s siblings had children, so there were only 3 other cousins (grandchildren of Frank & Magdalena).

Would they really have cut out (or scaled back) seven grandchildren because their mother was Irish? I don’t know. On the other hand, kids often pick up on the tension or emotion in a situation, so there may have been some truth in what they sensed. We’ll never really know.

Regardless, when Magdalena and Frank J. celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1940, they threw a party with everyone (kids included) invited. The aunts clearly remembered that party, 60+ years later, because everyone of them (all 7 kids!) had a new outfit to wear to it. Their mom didn’t want to hear any grief from her in-laws, so there were no hand-me-downs that day.

For some of the moms in our trees, we know little. For others, we can accumulate a decent amount of information. Even then, so many questions are left unanswered.

#52Ancestors


1“United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHCY-6HD : 3 January 2021), Magdalena Schmidt in entry for Peter Schmidt, 1870.

2“Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QLXC-GSTX : 19 February 2021), Magdalena SCHMIDT, 1870; citing Birth, various county courts, Michigan.

3“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW3Y-9V3 : 19 February 2021), Magdelena SCHMITT in household of Joseph SCHMITT, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district ED 315, sheet 620A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,614.

4“United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M914-N28 : accessed 12 May 2021), Madgelen Kukler in household of Frank Kukler, Detroit city Ward 17, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 175, sheet 7A, family 125, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,753.

5“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLTX-5C1 : accessed 12 May 2021), Magdalena Hukler in household of Frank J Hukler, Detroit Ward 17, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 249, sheet 8A, family 153, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 680; FHL microfilm 1,374,693.

6“United States Census, 1920”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZWB-CJW : 2 February 2021), Magdalena Keckler in entry for Frank J Keckler, 1920.

7“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X7S7-7F6 : accessed 12 May 2021), Magdalena T Kukler in household of Frank J Kukler, Detroit (Districts 0501-0750), Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 577, sheet 5B, line 52, family 13, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1056; FHL microfilm 2,340,791.

8“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KHSM-M2Q : 10 January 2021), Michalena Kukler in household of Frank Kukler, Detroit Ward 17, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 84-1095B, sheet 3B, line 66, family 63, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1873.

Crime and Punishment

“Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.”
—The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland

Fortunately, I don’t really have (or at least, know of) ancestors or relatives who were victims—or perpetrators—of crime. But I do have vivid memories of the kangaroo jail in my grandfather’s (Edward Mathias Haws) basement. He died when I was 7¾ years old, so we are talking really old memories!

The kangaroo jail was behind a wooden door suspended in the wall of Grandpa’s basement. It did not reach to the basement floor. I always expected to see a kangaroo when I opened the door, and was always disappointed. Finally, my dad or siblings explained to me about kangaroo courts, telling me it was a trial that wasn’t fair.

Hey, I was maybe 5 at the time? It was distilled to the simplest explanation possible. It wasn’t terribly different than a more “official” definition found on the Cornell Law School pages:

1) An unauthorized, mock court or legal proceeding, e.g. a tribunal of sorority sisters created to settle disputes within the sorority, in which some or all of the accused’s due process rights are ignored and the outcome appears to be predetermined. The term’s first known use was in the American West in the 1850s.

LII / Legal Information Institute. 2021. Kangaroo court. [online] Available at: <https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/kangaroo_court&gt; [Accessed 1 May 2021].

So, obviously a kangaroo jail was where someone convicted in a kangaroo court served out the sentence. It made perfect sense to me! At age 5 or 6. So why was there one in Grandpa’s basement? How or why did it get that name? That was always a mystery.

Since there was never a kangaroo behind the door, what was there?

All the board games. At that time, my aunt and 2 teenaged cousins lived there, and that was the storage for the games and puzzles. I don’t recall all the choices, but I’m pretty sure they had The Game of Life and I know they had Go to the Head of the Class. Both were games we didn’t have at home, worked well with a wide age-range (4-18), and didn’t take forever to play (unlike Monopoly!). As the youngest, I at least stood a chance of winning.

Of course, the older kids cried “foul” with Go to the Head of the Class, claiming the questions for me were “too easy.” The game came with a booklet of questions sorted by grade, based on difficulty and what kids in that grade were likely to have learned. I would hope my questions seemed easy for them!

My other memories of that house are fragments. The living room was to the left of the front door. I remember Grandpa had a favorite armchair, with his pipe holder nearby. The dining room was to the right, with the kitchen behind it. I don’t remember much about that, other than walking through it to reach the basement door. The crown molding around the top of the walls was a true “picture molding.” All the pictures on the walls were hung from that rail. Grandpa wasn’t hammering nail holes in his plaster to hang a picture!

I’m sure there was a bathroom (probably on the 2nd floor), though I have no memory of it at all. I can’t picture my mom letting me get in the car for the 30-minute trip home without a stop at the bathroom, though, so I must have been in it.

My cousin, Barb, remembered playing with a doll house on the first floor. She had the advantage of visiting before Grandma (Victoria Barbara Schweiger Haws) died, so she saw Grandma’s treadle sewing machine (in Grandma’s bedroom), as well as the full, stand-up attic.

She had way more fun there than I did!

So why was there a mini-closet (that’s really the best description of the kangaroo jail) in the basement? It was no accident, because my grandfather built that house himself. He’d moved the family to Manitowoc, Wisconsin between June, 1917 and June 1920. They moved back to the Deerfield area around 1924, because they appeared in the 1925 Polk’s Waukegan City Directory.

While he was building the house on Rosemary Terrace, they rented at 25 East Webster Street, in Highwood (just west of Fort Sheridan). Today the building is listed as a 4+ Apartment Building, though I don’t know how it was configured in the 1920s. The building at that address in Google Street view looks like it could be from that era, rather than a more recent tear-down and rebuild.

As Grandpa put in the basement foundation, he left a gap in the foundation wall under the area where the front stoop would be. He intended it to be a root cellar, or cold storage, for Victoria to use. At least, that’s what my dad told me long years after the house was out of the family. I don’t recall how the kangaroo jail’s walls were constructed, but I assume they were concrete or cinder block—something solid, and not just dirt. I can’t imagine its later use for the games if the walls had been dirt!

Edward didn’t take those walls all the way down to the floor, so Victoria didn’t have to bend over so far for items like potatoes. Raised up a couple feet, they were within a much easier reach. Even though the room connected to the basement, having it jut out on its own, kept that space cooler. In its use as the kangaroo jail, there were shelves for the games, but I imagine those were holdovers from its original use. They always had a garden, so Grandma probably canned excess goods for the winter months. She would have needed shelves to store the jars.

17 June 1928. The south side yard of 910 Rosemary Terrace, looking toward the street. Victoria Schweiger Haws, Bertha Haws Goessl (aunt of Edward M.), Charles Goessl (Bertha’s son), Marie Haws Busse Eames (age 11), Edward Mathias Haws. The imp on the left is my dad, Robert William Haws (age 7½), next oldest brother, George Frank Haws (in the jaunty cap) age 9. Charles drove his mom down from Wisconsin to visit her nephew. Note the lack of houses across the street! I’m not sure where Ed & Victoria’s oldest son, Henry Urban, was for this photo. Maybe he was holding the camera?

They were obviously moved into the house by June, 1928. The neighbors were not. The photo above clearly is an empty neighborhood. Looking at the current Google Street View shows how much the area built up after they moved in. If you “drive” a little past their house, you can see the original single car, detached garage. Large evergreens have been planted to the left of the house, providing privacy for the screen room that was added. The Lake County property tax page lists the property as an”older home” with a built date of 1930. They are off by a couple years.

In the 1970s or 80s, one of the cousins who had grown up in that house drove by it. She had her husband stop, and she knocked at the front door. After explaining she’d grown up there, she asked if she could come in and take a look around. Amazingly, they let them come in and walk through it!

This house is pushing at least 93 years old, but it still seems to be holding its own. Edward obviously knew how to build things well! I’m glad it’s avoided (so far) becoming a “tear-down, rebuild.” I wonder what the later owners though of the kangaroo jail—or if they ever knew it had a name!

#52Ancestors

Favorite Place

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.”—Dorothy Gale

Growing up, my favorite place was my backyard. It was more of necessity, rather than choice. My parents bought the house on York Road in 1952, looking for property that was already zoned for business. My dad’s carpet cleaning business was run out of our home, and he brought carpets and furniture to the house, and cleaned them in the basement. His work truck would be parked, or coming and going. He couldn’t afford to run afoul of zoning laws in a residential neighborhood.

When they moved in, other houses lined the street, still with families. My older siblings had some kids their age living nearby. By the time I came along, most of those families had moved away, their houses empty and waiting to be torn down and replaced by brick office buildings. Besides us, our side of the street had:

  • Slabersan older couple running the Jays Potato Chips distributorship
  • Ida—a spinster who was Seventh Day Adventist
  • several empty houses, waiting for Ida to die. The office building was being built across many lots, but nothing would happen until Ida died.
  • Shimkuses—neighbors on our north side with teenage girls. We bought that house when they moved, and rented it out.
  • Ericksons—an older couple on the other side of Shimkus’s house. I would visit them and mooch rhubarb. They finally gave my dad the roots when they moved away.
  • The Auto Body Shop on the other side of Erickson’s. We had strict orders to stay away from it, particularly the cars parked in back, easily accessible (no fence, lots of broken glass and rusty metal. Can you say tetanus?)
  • Sam’s (a bar), just over the city line (our village was dry!)

Across the street was Coffin’s house and farm stand. Their house was an original, historic house in Fullersburg, and was jacked up and moved nearby to preserve it when they retired and moved.

The number of kids on the block had dwindled. I had a brief reprieve from isolation when the Scotts rented the house directly across from us. Diane was in morning Kindergarten with me. She had an older sister, Barbara; and a younger brother, Timmy. York was a busy road, though, so we couldn’t go to each other’s house without an adult to supervise crossing the street. They lived there for only a year, because that property was the first one developed into an office building. The traffic problem continued to prevent me (or my friends) from being able to visit without an adult providing transportation.

Since my entertainment options were limited, I learned to make due with what I had—the backyard and myself. Our property was long (about 260 feet from the street) and narrow (wide enough for the house, the driveway, and thin side yards. 50 feet, maybe?). Taking into account the postage stamp front yard, the house, and a 2-car garage behind that, that left the actual backyard about 150 feet deep. It was pretty long. I’m sure my brothers felt it was even bigger when they were mowing it!

It was a bit overgrown when they first moved in, with 2 huge evergreen trees and an old chicken coop back by the lot line:

I’d estimate about 1953, after the garage was built and the driveway paved with blacktop. Both evergreens were still there. The one on the right was removed later, and the left tree lost its lower limbs so adults could walk under the branches easily. Not visible is the chicken coop at the end of the property.

More interesting to me was the chicken coop next door at the Slaber’s house. Mrs. Slaber kept chickens until I was about 3. I visited them whenever I could. I was a bit of an escape artist, and her chicken coop was where I was usually found.

Except for the time when I was 18 months old and Mom was talking with Mrs. Shimkus in the front yard. Mom thought I was safely in the house. I wasn’t. I had escaped and toddled my way into the middle of the street.

Traffic came to a halt. Mrs. Shimkus (who was facing my direction) noticed the backup and suddenly realized what had happened.

Mom quickly retrieved me, unharmed. That’s when she started locking the front and back doors at all times. And taking me with her into the bathroom, because she couldn’t leave me unsupervised.

The side door of the house (heading to the basement or to the kitchen) really couldn’t be locked, though, because my siblings needed to get in the house after school. Dad installed a sliding chain lock on the kitchen side of the basement door. It was too high for me to reach, but the other kids all could. It had enough slack so they could open the door from the other side, slipping their hand through to slide the chain off to unlock it. Or go out that way, and re-engage the chain.

In theory, I could have dragged the kitchen step stool across to the door, but Mom figured the 10 or 15 feet would take me a while, and scraping along the tile would be noisy enough she would notice before I got it there. Her safety measures worked; I never stopped traffic again, and I survived my childhood.

Early 1970s, when the shed was full-sized. The doors opened on the right side. To the right of the shed, beyond our lot line, is one of my huts. Pepper is standing on his snowball.

We repurposed our chicken coop into “the shed.” It was home to all our bikes, the lawn mower, the snowblower, rakes, bushel baskets, hoses, and other yard tools. It was before the days of mini-barns, and it left our garage nice and tidy! The door had a string latch (go back and re-read Little House on the Prairie [chapter 8]), which took some finagling for a little girl to open.

The redesigned shed, with its bright red doors and white trim, the new siding, and a snowblower path to and from the driveway. The framework for the former screen house is just to the left of the shed (and closer).

Some time after the photo above was taken, the shed caught fire. I don’t remember how it started, but we extinguished it, losing only about half. The doors survived, so Dad removed the burnt wood, reinforced the remaining walls, and moved the doors to the side facing the house. He added some siding shingles, spiffing it up considerably! With three older kids gone by then, fewer bikes were needed, so we could get by with less square footage.

After Dad had cleared out some of the trees in the backyard (1950s), he bought some paving rectangles to create a patio large enough for our picnic table. He assembled a screen room on it, with 1″ steel tubing (and a peaked roof) to support the canvas and screening draped over it. Bug-free outside eating!

So I hear. The canvas and screen were gone before I ever saw it. Dad forgot to take down the canvas soon enough one fall, so the weight of a snowfall destroyed the roof. The framework remained, eventually providing a place I could hang from my knees. I’d stand on the picnic table seat, grab the top bar, pulled my feet up between my hands, and hooked my knees over the bar. I remember taking a book to read, sometimes.

Couldn’t I have done that on the swing set? Sure. I probably learned it on the crossbar between the swing set legs. But I’d gotten too tall to continue using the crossbar, and the top bar had a 2½-3 inch diameter. It wasn’t as easy to hang from your knees. Plus the bolts from the swings chains stuck through, making it uncomfortable, and harder to find a good spot. The screen house frame worked great, though after we got Pepper, the patio morphed into a dog yard for him. The screen house frame moved to the vegetable garden, becoming support for climbing beans.

Beyond our back lot line was “the pasture.” It was just an empty field, and a definite low spot. We dumped leaves back there, or fallen tree limbs. When I was little, my sister would take me through the pasture, and up the hill on the other side, where there were wild buttercups, violets, and phlox growing in spring. Dad & I would fly our kites back there, because it was so open—no trees or power lines to get snagged in. Being low, when Salt Creek (a block away) overflowed, that’s where the excess water collected.

The pasture was also where Dad would help me construct “huts.” The first one was a domed hut backing up to the bank marking the edge of our property. We leaned branches against each other to create rafters, then piled leaves on top, making a thatched roof. It wasn’t very big. It certainly wasn’t pretty! I can only imagine what critters might have been in there with me. Nevertheless, it was my own space—a rare commodity in a house with 5 kids!

The next hut was a huge upgrade. Dad made new storm windows for the front porch windows, leaving him with the 12 old ones. We salvaged ones in better condition, nailing them into an A-frame design. It had a plywood floor, and a bench across the back wall. The clear plastic let in light. My most vivid memory was slicing my index finger knuckle (about ½”) on a nail or tack that was sticking out a bit. I still have the scar from that, a constant reminder of that hut.

As time went by, the developer who owned the pasture brought in fill dirt to bring it to the level of the land on the far side. With less low area, the flooding then spilled into our yard.

The shed eventually died, it’s death probably hastened by repeated flooding damaging the wood. Dad bought an aluminum mini barn, and located it on the former patio. Pepper had died, so we didn’t need a dog run. That fencing was repurposed to the vegetable garden, too, later following them to their next house.

Backyard activities didn’t exclude the winter. It wasn’t the time to play a 3-player baseball game, or running bases with my brother and Billy Carpenter (to make their throwing practice more interesting), but at least one winter my dad flooded the backyard. I’d gotten figure skates for Christmas that year. With our own rink, I could practice without having to be driven to one of the village parks that was flooded for skating. Skating on Salt Creek was not an option for us. I know people did it, but some of them fell through. And some didn’t survive.

Our homemade ice rink, mid-1960s.

Making the rink was more work, I believe, than my dad anticipated. He was out there each evening, spraying water on the snow (later, the ice), building it up. It was cold work, and he needed to remember to disconnect the hose each night, so the faucet didn’t freeze and burst. He convinced my brothers to handle clearing new snow that fell.

I did learn to skate that winter, not without some injury. I slipped and fell backwards, raising a nice goose egg on the back of my head. At that time, I always slept on my back, so the ghosts and monsters wouldn’t come out of the walls and get me. As long as I could see the walls, I was safe. The goose egg hurt too much and wouldn’t let me do that. It was a long couple of weeks, sleeping on my side, but somehow I survived.

About the time that goose egg disappeared, I fell again, this time hitting the side of my head. I returned to sleeping on my back. I don’t remember if Dad repeated the effort the next winter, or if it was a “one and done” experience.

My biggest disappointment was that despite the many trees we had, none were climbable. They were either too small, had wood that was too weak, or branches starting too high. It simply wasn’t fair!

Sometimes we focus so much on going elsewhere to make memories, we forget about the ones created literally outside our back doors.

#52Ancestors

DNA

“DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is.”—Richard Dawkins

We often hear the phrase, “DNA doesn’t lie.” It’s a nice little sound bite, but over-simplifies the reality. Truthfully, DNA doesn’t really say much at all. It’s like the captured soldier who tells his captors only his (or her) name, rank, and serial number. It’s up to the captor to make sense of that information.

Lately, I seem to be hearing webinar speakers using, “DNA doesn’t lie,” less often. Judy G. Russell (The Legal Genealogist) had a blog post1 about that phrase way back in October, 2017. She shared several interesting situations with Twilight Zone twists to them. The forty comments following the post provided additional examples. It’s an interesting read, and good food for thought.

I’ve also changed my phrasing, gravitating toward, “DNA is what it is.” My challenge is to figure out what the shared DNA number means, and how to make sense of it. In the process of doing that, I need to avoid confirmation bias. What’s that? It’s seeing the answer we want to see, and not considering other possible (even if less likely) explanations. We’ll come back to that idea.

So DNA by itself doesn’t answer any questions. More often than not, I find it creating more questions for me . . .

When I look at the amount of DNA I share with my niece (1435 cM), that number doesn’t tell me she is my niece. The chart at the Shared cM Project 4.0 says a person sharing that amount of DNA is likely (93%) to be my:

  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • half sibling
  • aunt/uncle, or

niece/nephew. There’s also a 7% chance that the person could be a:

  • great-grandparent
  • great-grandchild
  • grandaunt/uncle, or
  • grandniece/nephew

That’s a lot of choices. Only after considering other factors—our ages and how we connect to other people—can I eliminate some of them, and narrow it down to the correct relationship. My niece and I actually share about 300 cM less than the predicted (pure probability) amount, but we are well within the reported range for aunt and niece.

What would cause us to share less? It’s possible my sister and I shared less than the average for siblings. That would typically translate to a lower number for my niece. Even if my sister and I shared the expected amount of DNA, my niece might have inherited more of the DNA my sister and I did NOT share. Gene inheritance is random, so there’s no guarantee the 50% of my sister’s genes going to my niece was split evenly between my sister’s and my shared and not shared genes.

Confirmation bias might be more likely with more distant relatives, and smaller amounts of shared DNA. There are simply a lot more potential relationships. My 2nd cousin & I share 137 cM. That’s lower than the average. Only 17% of test takers sharing that number of centimorgans were 2nd cousins. There are 11 more relationships we could theoretically have; six of those being “half” relationships. If I didn’t already know how our trees connected, 2nd cousin probably wouldn’t be my first guess. But that doesn’t mean we have the connection wrong.

If the number was with an unfamiliar match, though, I’d want to view (or create, if necessary) the match’s tree, and consider the various ways we could be related. Do we connect in more than one way (have shared ancestors on more than one branch)? Is there a half relationship (descending from only 1 person of a couple, instead of both) to consider? Either situation would have an impact on how to interpret that number.

When I looked at my match list the first time, almost 4 years ago, I was so excited to see first cousins from both paternal and maternal sides! Then I noticed my maternal 1st cousin shared only 585 cM—compared to the average of 866.

Did we have a “problem”?

After my heart palpitations stopped, I went through a mental list of possibilities:

  • Nothing my mom could have done would have had an effect. With 3384 cM shared, I’m clearly her daughter.
  • Was my uncle not my cousin’s father?—well, then we wouldn’t be matches at all. I’m not related to her mother.
  • Did my grandmother have an affair?—my cousin shares matches with all sorts of people on my grandfather’s side, so she has to have those genes. Ditto for me.
  • Did my grandmother have an affair with one of her husband’s brothers?

SERIOUSLY?? Well, it could be a possible explanation. Do I believe it was a reasonable or likely one? No. I don’t think it would have happened, especially not in a small town.

Did I actually follow that train of thought at the time? Yeah, I really did. Just because some options might have suggested an embarrassing or awkward situation didn’t mean I could summarily dismiss them. I needed to at least consider alternate possibilities.

On the other hand, Occam’s razor (“the simplest explanation is usually the right one”) also needed to be considered. The most likely scenario was that my cousin’s DNA zigged when my DNA zagged, so we ended up with a higher proportion of DNA our parents didn’t share with one another. It happens.

As it turned out, my assessment proved correct when my uncle’s DNA was processed at FamilyTreeDNA: my mom and her brother clocked in with 2491 cM shared. It’s a smidge below the average for siblings, but not by much. Everyone’s virtue seemed to be intact.

If using DNA for genealogy is fraught with so many potential pitfalls (and so much stress!), why do I bother? Primarily, it fascinates me. Trying to understand the science of the genetic inheritance is challenging, and never dull. Even though I may not find an immediate answer, I always come away knowing more than I did. I may help me formulate a new question about the person or the family line, sending me in a different direction with my research.

Plus, every time a new match comes in, it’s like Christmas! Who can put off tearing into a new match, seeing who they are, who else they match, and trying to see how they connect? Sometimes a new match knows things I don’t, or has photos I don’t have. Sometimes I get to be the good guy, sharing what I have, with them. Everyone wins.

And, call me nerdy, but using 2nd and 3rd cousins’ chromosomes to identify a segment of DNA and follow it backwards to the ancestor it came from is cool! It’s a tangible connection to that ancestor, just as real as finding a signature of theirs on a document. It’s literally their signature on me.

So I will continue to plug away at matches, researching and adding information about their ancestors and descendants to my tree.

#52Ancestors


¹Judy G. Russell, “DNA doesn’t lie,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 1 October 2017).

Brick Wall

“When you’re hitting a wall, focus on one brick.” Tyler May

Not all brick walls are created equal. Some are

brick walls

Some are

brick walls

And then there are the

BRICK WALLS

They materialize in our trees in various ways. Some appear due to scant information. My great-grandmother, Elfrieda Jonas, has one of those. I don’t know her birthplace; I don’t know her mother’s name; and like Anakin Skywalker, “she has no father.” When I look at her spot on the tree, sometimes I just want to cry. I’m pretty sure DNA is the only way I’ll break through that one.

Other times it seems as if we have plenty of information—it’s just not enough or the right kind to move us backwards another generation. Mike’s 2nd great-grandfather, John Nolan is an example of that scenario.

John Nolan, date unknown. Photo uploaded by Marguerite to Find a Grave memorial #147323276; John Nolan 1816-1886. It was also shared in an Ancestry tree in 2012 by celticmom121.

John was well-established on the death certificates of his sons: Patrick, Michael, and John. It corroborated the information I’d heard from Mike’s grandmother, Elizabeth Gertrude Nolan Kukler. She turned 90 shortly after we were married, and was still quite sharp when I interviewed her about the family. Her father’s (Patrick) father died before her birth, but she knew his name, at least.

Searching creatively, I found John Nolan and his wife, Elizabeth (Betty) [H]Alpin in US census records1 (Michigan), starting in 1860:

  • 1860: John Knowland, age 45 [birth 1815]
  • 1870: John Nowland, age 60 [birth 1810]
  • 1880: John Nolan, age 64 [birth 1816]

Based on the birth years of his children (specifically Patrick and Michael), I could place his emigration from Ireland in an 1851-1855 window. Unfortunately, I can’t find a passenger list for this family of five (John, Betty, Mary, Anna, and Patrick) to nail it down further.

It wasn’t until I found a distant cousin, that I learned the Nolans came from Clonegall, County Carlow. Or Wexford. Or Wicklow. Clonegall is on the Carlow/Wexford border, about 2 miles from the point where all three counties meet. It’s not uncommon for border towns to have some boundaries extend into the neighboring county. Couple that with different jurisdictions having the same name—Clonegal[l] is a town, a Civil (aka Church of Ireland) parish, and a Roman Catholic parish—it makes it difficult to know which records to look in, or what geographical area is included.

Finally armed with a place, though, I located the baptismal records2 for the three oldest children of John and Betty: Mary (1845), Anne (1848), and (most importantly) Patrick (1851). I’d found all sorts of dates for Patrick’s birth year—ranging from 1850 to 1855. Finally nailing it down better, and anchoring the family to a county and town (I thought) was huge!

Unfortunately, other than confirming John and Betty Alpin as the parents, it didn’t help much. I found nothing to push John’s branch farther back. I didn’t have a solid birth date for him, or definitive parent names. John’s 1886 death record (a line in the St. Clair County [Michigan] Death Register) listed his age as “70 years,” but had no months or days, like other entries had. It suggested an 1816 birth year, but I’m concerned that age was only a guess to begin with.

There was no indication of who the informant was. His wife, Betty, was in her late 60s, and suffered from chronic depression. It seems likely one of her kids would have taken care of the necessary details surrounding John’s death. But how accurate was their information? Based on his census ages (above), his age seemed to be “flexible.”

The death register entry also gave a father’s name of “Patrick.” I don’t even want to think how many Patrick Nolans were in County Carlow! The database containing the kids’ birth records included a marriage register for the parish. Maybe I could find John and Betty getting married? Despite going page-by-page (104 images–almost 2/3 of the total) from the beginning (1833) to 1853 (well past Patrick’s birth), I didn’t find them among the brides and grooms. I did not look for them as witnesses to other marriages.

Other than learning a marriage date, finding them wouldn’t have really helped, though. The local priest neglected to record parents’ names for any of the entries! Some of the handwriting was light, so I might have missed them, but “Nolan” and “Halpin” have a distinctive look to the word shape, so are relatively easy to pick out. Any time I saw one, I looked for the other, just to be sure. I found a number of each, but never the two of them, together. Maybe they married elsewhere?

Information about John (and Betty) prior to their children’s births was sketchy. My file currently has a birth year of 1807 for John—considerably different than the other records I’d found. I obtained it decades ago (before modern-day FamilySearch), from information in the IGI (International Genealogical Index). That information was harvested from user-submitted Family Group Sheets from dhemingway3846449, mostly likely a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like Ancestry Trees, that information can be accurate—or not. Sources were not provided.

The birth years dhemingway3846449 had for the 3 children were accurate, and verified by church records. The 1832 marriage year could be reasonable with an 1807 birth, but it seems odd with no kids born until 1845. The 1807 also seems a bit old for a first child born in 1845—but not impossible. The reliability of that data is a mixed-bag.

I found an Ancestry tree listing a 4 March 1815 baptism date for John, but in Rathvilly, County Carlow. The year is consistent with information from his US census ages, and the father was a Patrick. Rathvilly is 12-13 miles away from Melitia, where John’s children were born, so it’s possible John was born in Rathvilly, and later moved—but there’s no proof for any of that.

After puzzling over where “Melitia” was (it’s not on any map!), I discovered it was an alternate spelling to “Moylisha”—a townland in Co. Wicklow, but in the Clonegal Roman Catholic parish (which spans Carlow and Wicklow). When I looked at Griffith’s Valuation (and its maps), Moylisha is filled with Nolans and Halpins—including a John Nolan. So I seem to have clarified the kids’ birth location a bit. I may delve into those land records in a later blog post; unfortunately, they still don’t help me move backwards from John.

In desperation (because don’t brick walls always beget desperation?), I reached out to a website called Ireland Reaching Out (https://irelandxo.com/). Its function is “connecting Irish Diaspora through family history.” Volunteers in each county field questions about their area. I submitted questions about:

  • Did I correctly understand what “Melitia” means regarding a location?
  • Is there somewhere other than the Moylisha and Rathvilly marriage records I should be looking for John and Betty?

Sometimes travel was easier in another direction, despite being further or in another jurisdiction. Sometimes other factors came into play in determining where an event might take place. Those are tidbits known only to locals. I just received confirmation that Melitia and Moylisha are equivalents. Yay! He also made some other suggestions. Now to find the time . . .

Have I knocked down this brick wall? Hardly. I haven’t budged a single brick, though I have knocked a few chips off of it. I’ve pinpointed a little better exactly where Patrick and his sisters were born. At least I’m in the right county, now!

Without documentation—to corroborate or refute competing theories—choosing one over the other doesn’t really make sense. I’ll hold off on embracing the Rathvilly record for now. This area of Ireland was overrun with Nolans, so finding a Patrick with a son, John, born around the “right” time would be fairly common. I can’t shouldn’t latch onto the first one I run across!

Sadly, records in the proper window for John’s or Betty’s birth are scarce. I am not seeing many documented births prior to the early 1830s. Information from their marriage may be the last documented facts I might be able to find.

#52Ancestors


¹1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, Saint Clair, Wales; Page 371; dwelling number 1902; family number 1819; line 1; John KNOWLAND household; accessed 2 February 2019. John KNOWLAND, age 45; NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 559; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).

1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, Saint Clair, Wales; Page 33; dwelling number 266; family number 272; line 22; John NOWLAND household; accessed 2 February 2019. John NOWLAND, age 60; NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 699; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).

1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, Saint Clair, Wales, e.d. 393; Page 34B; dwelling number 324; family number 330; line 24; John NOLAN household; accessed 22 August 2018. John NOLAN, age 60; NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 609; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).

²”Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915″ accessed 20 February 2017, index entry for Mary HOLAN [NOLAN], baptism 13 July 1845, Clonegall parish, Kildare and Leighlin diocese, citing Catholic Parish Registers, The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; microfilm 04197 / 02.

“Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915” accessed 20 February 2017, index entry for Anne NOLAN, baptism 30 April 1848, Clonegall parish, Kildare and Leighlin diocese, citing Catholic Parish Registers, The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; microfilm 04197 / 02.

“Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915” accessed 20 February 2017, index entry for Patrick NOLAN, baptism 4 May 1851, Clonegall parish, Kildare and Leighlin diocese, citing Catholic Parish Registers, The National Library of Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; microfilm 04197 / 02.