Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Approaching my 9th Ancestor Stories Blogiversary

Approaching my 9th Ancestor Stories Blogiversary
(this coming Sunday)

Thank you!  …to each of you who have continued to check in on this ‘Ancestor Stories’ blog over the years… especially in recent years when life has taken me away from my genealogy/family history work for some substantial periods of time.

Two things have accounted for that… First, personal family matters.
Second, I have spent a lot of time, from time to time, on my family saga, historical fiction writing.

I often say I write my historical fiction in a creative nonfiction style. Looking at my initial post on this blog, I see how much that is:

“Farmers of the Prairie; the people, the times, the places
A story of one family; created from many families”


If you haven’t kept up with my writing, lately, and are interested, here is a recent piece that kind of summarizes what I’ve been doing… in about 1300 words, easy read.

I would appreciate any comment you may have. Thank you. Dr. Bill ;-)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Happy Birthday, Dad - It would be 103 today

Happy Birthday, Dad - It would be 103 today

Leverne 'Pete' Smith
b. Aug 9, 1915
d. June 25, 1977
Age 61
Far too soon...

This is the way I prefer to remember him! Happy Times!

Happy Birthday, as well, to his sister, Betty, my Aunt!

Bethene Smith Pierce
b. Aug 9, 1919
d. Jan 6, 1993
Age 73

We miss them both, very much!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Local Hometown Newspaper - 100 Years Ago

Local Hometown Newspaper - 100 Years Ago
Paul Kinnick (right) working in the Bank!

July 5, 1918

Paul Kinnick has gone into farm service, leaving the State Savings Bank rather short of help. But then, under the order to work or fight every man who can do farm work, and Paul knows how, must get into it. The boys overseas and the folks who live in town must be fed somehow.

Len (sic - Lem) Williams has completed the cement work of the addition to the Fred Davis Cafe. The front stairway to the building is being taken out. It is rumored that the Davis building will soon be used for a “movie” show in connection with the Cafe.

The recent shipment of knitted goods made by the Red Cross Chapter at Coon Rapids and forwarded to the soldier and sailor boys’ consisted of 93 pairs of socks, 77 pajamas and 50 sweaters—a large amount of work for the month of June.

My comments on the three items, in consecutive order in the column, caught my eye this week:

1. My Maternal Grandfather, Paul Kinnick, left the bank and went to work on the farm, apparently to avoid being called into the military. I had not known this before. He and Dorothy would have been coming up on their fourth wedding anniversary. Son, Leo, was about 15 months old, and Dorothy would have been pregnant with Eileen, to be born in December 1918. An interesting perspective of 100 years ago.

2. Williams would have been an uncle of Paul (mother’s brother). Assume this is the movie theater we all went to in the 40s and 50s as we grew up…

3. Just a tidbit from the war mentality and volunteer effort - WWI !!! ;-)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father’s Day 2018 - Remembering my Fathers

Father’s Day 2018 - Remembering my Fathers
Pete Smith (1915-1977)
William E. Smith (1859-1939)
Paul Kinnick (1892-1968)

It is always a challenge to know what to do to celebrate Father’s Day.

My three daughters are always clever at coming up with something new each year.

I’ve seen tributes others have made, on Blogs or on Facebook.

What could I do that was different? Find three photos of my father and grandfather’s not used before.

Happy Father's Day 2018

Saturday, April 28, 2018



The fifth in a series of guides to popular research destinations 

The In-Depth Genealogist is pleased to present their newest book in the research series by writer, Katherine R. Willson entitled “A Genealogist’s Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan”. The book is a great resource for genealogists who plan on researching in this geographic area. This guide offers information for genealogists regarding the top libraries, archives, and museums in Grand Rapids, as well as the surrounding areas. These repositories offer abundant treasures for the researcher of all levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
Also highlighted in this guide are a wealth of non-genealogical options for urban adventurers, art aficionados, beer connoisseurs, nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and the universal tourist. One could easily spend a week in this area and only sample a small portion of what this part of Michigan has to offer: stunning scenery, fantastic food, and unique attractions.
“A Genealogist’s Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan” is available now as a PDF download ($4.99) through The In-Depth Genealogist Store (  Subscribers to the website receive a 10% discount on purchase of the book. 
“A Genealogist's Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan” was created by Katherine R. Willson who shares her familiarity with Grand Rapids, Michigan and the surrounding area to assist genealogists and family in making their trip an enjoyable one. Katherine R. Willson of Ann Arbor, Michigan is a 6th generation Michigander who began researching her own family tree when she was an 8-year-old Junior Girl Scout. She works full-time as a professional researcher, compiling family history books for private clients, and is an engaging and dynamic speaker at national, regional, and state genealogical conferences. She has taught genealogy classes in Ann Arbor since 2001, and currently serves as President of Michigan Genealogical Council, President of the Virtual Genealogical Society, as well as serving on the boards of several other national, state, and local genealogical organizations. Her website is

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hometown Newspaper Excerpts - Band Booster Talent Show

Hometown Newspaper Excerpts
Band Booster Talent Show

Coon Rapids (Iowa) Enterprise - Thursday, April 19, 2018, Page 5:

Band Boosters Bill Riley Teen Time Talent Show, Nov 12, 1956

 The Kuemper Five, boys quintet were first place in the Band Boosters
Bill Riley Teen Time Talent show held in the community school in 1956.
 From left are Dick Olerich, Larry Louis, Bob Haukap, Dan Vasos and Bill

 Jerome Mescher, left of Halbur, finished second place in the Teen Time
Talent Show with his performance on the ‘bones’. Nancy Bolger and Bill
Smith won third place with a vocal duet.

Nancy and I were in our Senior Year of High School. We did a little song and dance routine. It was fun, at the time, but we decided 'show business' was really not out calling! ;-)

Families are Forever!!
Dr. Bill ;-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What is the origin of Jasper Kinnick?

What is the origin of Jasper Kinnick?

[Posted earlier to The Kinnick Project and Kinnick Family Association on Facebook]

Perhaps the most vexing question remaining in the Kinnick Genealogy History
is where did Jasper Kinnick, the husband of Elizabeth Brightwell, and the father of Jasper, Joseph, and William Kinnick (the Revolutionary War soldier), come from?

We have known and have documents (marriage record and land record) of Jasper and Elizabeth with the surname Kennett. I researched Kennett (and other nearby surnames) fairly extensively, but was never able to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

Recent writings in the Kennett family have now come to our attention that a little know Kennett named Peter arrived from England in Northampton, Virginia on 13 June 1655. He is not related to the more well-known Martin Kennett making the same trip a number of years earlier and known ancestor of many well-known Kennett persons, including in St. Louis and other Missouri locations.

This Peter Kennett is said to have had at least three documented children: A Sarah (married John Glaze), born in Charles County, Maryland, in about 1680, a son (unnamed, but descendants-three sons-are known) born in about 1685, and Jasper Kennett, born in about 1690. It is speculated that this is ‘our’ Jasper, who married Elizabeth, and likely changed their name to Kinnick, perhaps because he was a dealer of tobacco, referred to by the Indians as “Kinnikinnick.” He was said to be the father of the three sons, Jasper, Joseph, and William Kinnick, all more documented in early Maryland history.

This story fits with all I have learned, with no contradictions. This does not make it true, of course. But, it does make a very viable theory, one that I am adopting until someone brings forth information to the contrary.

What do you think? Comments and Questions welcomed.

Dr. Bill, aka William L. Smith,