Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Hope Everyone has a Really HAPPY NEW YEAR in 2010!

Remember to gather and share - Tell your Ancestors Stories throughout the year!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Treasure Chest Thursday - Treasure Box

This is a nice walnut box with some history in our family. My wife fixed it up with the photo of his great-grandmother with his mother (and her sister). We gave it to our five-year old grandson for Christmas. He seemed to understand the significance to us.

This is the photo:

Here is the message in the box:

This box belonged to Great-Grandmother Mary Eileen Smith.
She was your Grandpa Smith's mother.
It had been a Christmas Gift from Grandpa Bill and Grandma Nancy Smith to her many years ago.
It is a special box to keep your treasures.
Take good care of it and you can give it to your child (or grandchild) someday.
Love, Grandpa and Grandma Smith, Christmas 2009

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - 3 of 4 generations

This is a photo of three of our four generations in Jul 1978 - the 4th (missing) generation is taking the photo, my wife, Nancy. Great-grandma Dorothy (SORENSEN) KINNICK is seated in the chair, center. On the left is my mother, Eileen (KINNICK) SMITH. The younger generation girls are our two younger daughters, Allison SMITH, center, and Arrion SMITH, in the dance costume. She danced a routine for her grandmother and great-grandmother.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Alonzo and Jeannette KINNICK

This 2000 photo is from the Coon Rapids, Iowa, cemetery. The tombstones are of my maternal great-grandparents, Alonzo P. and Jeannette (WILLIAMS) KINNICK, shown as Mother and Father - though a bit hard to read. Her dates are 1869-1936; his are 1870-1923.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Preparation Sunday - Step 2 of 7

The upcoming holidays are especially good times to gather ANCESTOR STORIES. Over the spam of seven Sundays, I will share with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell.

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join.

The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

You will want to use Ask, Listen and Record all together over the holidays as family members get together at different times for different celebrations and events.

Our focus today is on Listen, the second of the 7 Steps. But, as I said last week Ask, Listen and Record do go together.

Listen is especially important if you do not have a digital recording devise with you - which you often will not have. Take special note of relationships mentioned. Without interrupting the flow of the conversation, you may want to ask for clarification of relationships if you do not have them clear in your mind. Was this a great-uncle or a great grandfather being discussed, for instance. You will also want to take particular note of the place - town and state - and the date - at least the year, or an approximation. These are the facts you would like to be able to go back and write down for further research. Listen carefully, and use your best memory tricks to retain not only the story content but the basic vital facts, as best you can.

Next Sunday, we will discuss the Record issue in more detail.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Surname Saturday - SODERSTROM

My great-Grandparents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, SODERSTROM, PRESTON, MILLER, KINNICK, WILLIAMS, SORENSEN, and NIELSEN.

Today, we will look at the SODERSTROM surname.

These great-grandparents: Michael (Schmidt) Schmitt) SMITH (b. 17 May 1829, District of Colmer, France (or Germany, from time to time); d. 16 Apr 1902, Nebraska Soldier's Home, Grand Island, NE) married Nellie Margaret (Maggie) SODERSTROM (b. 1846, Bjuraker Parish, Sweden; d. 18 Sep 1901, Nebraska Soldier's Home, Grand Island, NE) 30 Dec 1869 in Hampton, Rock Island Co, Illinois.

Michael had three children by his first wife, Madaline (Lena) HARBRECHT (b. 1838, Bavaria, Germany; d. Sep 1864, Hampton, Rock Island Co, IL), all born in Hampton, Rock Island Co, IL: 1) Julia, b. 1857; 2) Mary, b. 1858; and 3) Michael, b. 1862. Michael enlisted in Company E, 2nd Iowa Cavalry, as a farrier, on 5 Sept 1861 at Davenport, Iowa. He served his term of 3 years and one month and was discharged by reason of expiration of term on 3 Oct 1964. His first wife had died the month before he was discharged. Although not specifically confirmed, it is believed that Miss Maggie SODERSTROM was helping with the young children in the home, and continued to do so until she and Michael were married in 1869.

Michael and Maggie had nine children between 1869 and 1884. The first was William Emanuel SMITH, my grandfather. This is the family at the heart of my next family history book, in progress.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Follower Friday - Miriam

Today I want to recognize Miriam at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors

She has already received many awards, so my recommendation is nothing new... she is just somewhat new to me, and I want to share my enthusiasm for all the good tips and stories she shares.

Check it out, I think you will agree.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Grandma's Violin

Grandma Dorothy (Sorensen) Kinnick always played the violin in my early years. My mother, her daughter, often played the piano and sometimes sang, as well. This is a photo of her violin I recently came across. Although old, likely brought from Denmark, I don't know that it has particular financial value, but it has great family value.

Here is a photo from the 1960s with Grandma playing the violin, Mom and my younger brother at the piano:

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Thomas Butler Gunshop

Thomas Butler, who made and sold guns to General George Washington for use in the Revolutionary War, was the brother of my 4th Great-Grandfather (uncle of my 3rd great-grandfather, John Butler). This is in Carlisle, PA.

The second photo is the gunshop that still stands. These photos were taken in May 2000.

Family is Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - William Aster SCHWYHART

SCHWYHART is my "favorite" ancestor names - I posted on it earlier... this is the first of several I will post in this Tombstone Tuesday series.

William Aster SCHWYHART was born 2 Oct 1899 in Baxter, Stone Co, Missouri, the son (5th of 7 children) of George Mitchell and Margaret Elizabeth (YOCUM) SCHWYHART. He married Josie Bell YOKUM 9 Jul 1927 in Berryville, Carroll Co, Arkansas. They had one son, Kendall Ray SCHWYHART (b. 15 Mar 1943; d. 21 Mar 1987).

A side note: I took this photo more than 10 years ago, when I lived 300 miles away... I now live about 10 miles away, in the neighboring county. Small world, again!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Preparation Sunday - Step 1 of 7

Step 1 - Ask

The upcoming holidays are especially good times to gather ANCESTOR STORIES. Over the next seven Sundays, I will share with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell.

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join.The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

You will want to use Ask, Listen and Record all together over the holidays as family members get together at different times for different celebrations and events. You need to think about those circumstances as you plan to gather useful story information. After a holiday meal is a good time to Ask about "the olden times," when older family members were young. How did they celebrate - like we do, or different? Do you remember a special holiday? a special tradition? Who participated? How and Why?

Then it is important to Listen. Listen carefully. Generally, don't interrupt. Let them talk... let their memories come to the forefront and be shared, just as they remember them.

Record. Have a note pad and pen or pencil. Have a digital recorder that can just run, unobtrusively... they will forget it was even there. If all else fails, REMEMBER, and go write it down, or enter it into your computer, later, as best you can.

I think you get the idea... OK? Just do it!

While Listen may be the most important, you must also Ask, in most cases, either to get the conversation going something like you would like, or, to ask a follow up question when there is a break.

You may be thinking of after Christmas dinner with the family, but these "information gathering" situations may carry over into when watching football bowl games, for instance, or the women are talking recipes. When Grandpa Joe, the Packer fan, and Uncle Sid, the Bears fan, start going at each other... it is a good time to ask them why, when and where they each became such rabid fans of their respective teams, for example. When Aunt Minnie talks about her fruitcake, be sure to ask for the recipe, ask where she got it, when she first made it, what was the occasion, does she have special memories of a particular holiday it was served, etc.

Have your own set of questions to ask, if the conversation drifts, such as:
1. What was your most prized possession as a child? At what age? Where did you live then?
2. Tell about the best gift (birthday, Christmas, other) you ever received. What? Why? Where? When?
3. Did you ever find something your Mom or Dad had hidden? Did they every find something you had hidden?
4. Share a memory about a church social activity when you were a child.
5. When you were child, how did you keep your house warm? Did you have running water? electricity? television? Internet? ... you get the idea! ;-)
6. Tell about a time you dressed up in a costume? were in a play? Didn't have the proper clothes to wear for some occasion?

You can come up with your own, and much better, questions... but do have them available ahead of time. Tuck them in the back of your notepad, perhaps.

Next Sunday, we will talk more about Listen.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Surname Saturday - NIELSEN

My parents surnames were SMITH and KINNICK.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, PRESTON, KINNICK, and SORENSEN.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, SODERSTROM, PRESTON, MILLER, KINNICK, WILLIAMS, SORENSEN, and NIELSEN.

Today we will focus on the NIELSEN surname in my familiy. This is my "shortest line." Jensene NIELSEN was born in Denmark and died only a few years after arriving in the USA. I do not know who her parents were - I have not researched any overseas records. This will remain on my To Do list for quite a while - probably forever.

Below, I've adapted the information from the SORENSEN page, just to put her in perspective.

Lauritz Christien SORENSEN (b. 9 Apr 1847, Aalborg, Denmark) married, about 1878, in Denmark, Jensene Marie NIELSEN (b. abt 1853, Denmark)

Children of Lauritz and Jensene Sorensen:

1. Theodore SORENSEN (b. abt 1879, Denmark; d. abt 1899, Denmark, of TB)
2. Maurice SORENSEN (b. 14 Feb 1880, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 8 Nov 1903 Ida LUND)
3. Dorothy Christine SORENSEN (b. 26 Jun 1888, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 12 Aug 1914 Paul Harold KINNICK)
4. Christian Otto SORENSEN (b. abt 1890, Denmark; m. Mary THOMPSON)
5. Dagmar Rebecca (Delma) SORENSEN (b. 7 May 1891, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 19 Oct 1914 Clarence Clyde (Clyde) LUSE)
6. Louise Mildred SORENSEN (b. 28 Aug 1894, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 4 Jun 1919 Rasmus NIELSEN)

SORENSEN is my mother's maternal line. Here is a bit of that story line. Dorothy Chistine is my mother's mother, my grandmother. She is the tall one, center back row, below, flanked by Christian and Dagmar (Delma). Louise is between the parents. Maurice was already in the USA.

The Lauritz and Jensene Sorensen Family
Prior to leaving Denmark c.1903-4

Family is Forever! ;-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Follow Friday - Elizabeth

Today I am recommending Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life (and The Graveyard Rabbit of California Central Coast). I am very comfortable with her style and her graphics are excellent. I'm not great with graphics/color, myself, but I sure do know when I like one.

Elizabeth has been blogging 1 to 3 times a week since Oct 2007 on Little Bytes of Life, alone. Her posts have been winners from the start. She has been a Graveyard Rabbit since Oct 2008, a fine contributor to an important group of bloggers.

I urge you to check out and join both of Elizabeth's sites.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Eileen's 91st Birthday Anniversary

My mother, Mary Eileen Kinnick Smith Olson, would have been 91 years old today, 18 Dec 2009. She was always mildly frustrated that her birthday was so close to Christmas. Her Mom and Dad never gave the kids many presents anyway, so she felt she always came up even shorter than her two brothers with birthdays at other times of the year.

This is a photo of her the year she graduated from high school, from her photo album. I can easily imagine she always felt she looked and felt about like this... this age.

She kept a daily diary from about age 12 until she died. As a tribute to her, a couple of years ago, I transcribed her 1936 diary, day by day, week by week, and posted it, along with photos and other relevant links to her movie, book, and other interests. This was the year she not only graduated from high school, but 'lost' her first boy friend, got her first job, and began dating the man she would first marry, my Dad. Take a peek. I'd love to hear your comments... on content, form, style, whatever:

She died, quite unexpectedly of a brain tumor, in 1999, in her 80th year. Her mother lived well into her 90s - we all really expected her to do the same. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - occupation-farmer

As I have mentioned a couple of times, I am now disappointed that I do not have more photos of ancestors at work. One I do have is my Dad on the combine in the field in Iowa, mid-1950s, I must assume.

I'm always on the lookout for photos of folks at their work, their workplaces, their occupations. Suggestions would be appreciated.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

13 Ways - The Book is now available

"13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" is now available - in print or as a pdf download:

Just click on the Cover to go to my Storefront.

I really look forward to your comments when you see and read the book.

Thanks for your support!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Four Generations

One of my few four generation photos - Sept 1962 - our daughter, Annette, born Aug 1960; my parents in back with Nancy and I; Mom's parents in front, Paul and Dorothy (SORENSEN) KINNICK. [See Grandpa Paul as a young man.] Setting is my parent's farm near Coon Rapids, in Greene County, Iowa... this house has been gone for over ten years now...

I am enjoying Wordless (nearly) Wednesday, more and more each week!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - David C. WILSON

We don't often get to Alabama to do research and cemetery visits, but a wedding in Pensacola, Florida, on Saturday provided to perfect excuse. My wife has been attempting to determine the date and place of death of a great-uncle for several years. He had retired in 1880 and seemed to move between Farmington, IL, northern MO, and Citronelle, Alabama over the following 25 years or so. Recently, she has gathered much information on Citronelle during that period, so we were ready to do some searching on our arrival last Friday.

We arrived in the area about 11 in the morning; the library didn't open until 1. She had the location of what appeared to be a main cemetery, so we drove around a bit, to find the road, that led out to the correct edge of town, where it was supposed to be. Upon arrival, we saw that it was our favorite kind, where we could do a first pass in the car - it was quite cold, even for a December day.

We drove down the first aisle, turned right, up the hill, driving slowly, I looked at the surnames on the left, she was watching the right. Suddenly, she said: "WILSON!" There, about a hundred feet out, was a tall WILSON marker. I got out to check [note the "I" not her ;-)]. A few seconds later, when I gave her a "thumbs up" - she was out of the car immediately with pad and camera in hand... ;-)

Not only were David C., and his wife, Martha C., WILSON buried there, with dates, their only two daughters were there, as well. As you can see, my wife, Nancy, was very happy with our "find."

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Surname Saturday - WILLIAMS

My parents surnames were SMITH and KINNICK.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, PRESTON, KINNICK, and SORENSEN.
Their parents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, SODERSTROM, PRESTON, MILLER, KINNICK, WILLIAMS, SORENSEN, and NEILSEN.

Today we will focus on the WILLIAMS surname in my familiy.

I introduced the WILLIAMS surname in each of my last two Wordless (nearly) Wednesday posts - Iceman and Annual Picnic. This is my mother's paternal grandmother's surname. Nettie WILLIAM's father, Elias WILLIAMS, was born in either Gyffylliog, Denhigh, England or Ruthin, Wales (Depending on the relative you listen to; I do not have confirmation either way, yet) on 29 Jan 1838.

Elias married Ann Eliza DUNCAN in Illinois in either 1842 or 1843 (confirmation of date and place is needed here).

His death was reported in my hometown newspaper, The Coon Rapids Enterprise (Iowa), 10 Dec 1920: "Elias Williams, genial, hearty, whole-souled passed away after about a year's failing health due to cancer of the stomach. He was one of the oldest of Coon Rapids' citizens and a native of Wales. He followed the trade of brick mason and plaster for 40 years."

Three children lived to adulthood: Lemuel Benson (b. 1866); Margaret Jeanette (Nettie) (b. 1869); Josephine (b. 1872).

Family is Forever! ;-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Bill's Family

Photos are generally my favorite treasures, with only a few exceptions. Therefore, today, I'm sharing two photos of my family's early life that are especially interesting to me. Hope you find them of interest, as well.

One of the earliest photos of my "family" - that is, Pete, Eileen and Billie - I'm the oldest; since it is so important to me, I sometimes forget to mention it. Photo taken in the summer of 1939. Mom and Dad were good old dirt farmers, renting their ground, and working very, very hard, their first couple of years. Dad used to say his greatest accomplishment was being worth more, every year (at the annual meeting with the bank), for his first 40 some years of farming...

This photo says a lot, to me, of course; the clothes, the setting, etc. Mom was raised as a town girl, "daughter of a banker," she liked to say. Actually, grandpa was a bank clerk. Great guy, served the community in many ways, but he certainly did not own the bank - my definition of a "banker." Mom was a great farmer's wife, but it didn't really come naturally to her.

Below, the photo is about 8 or 9 years later, perhaps April 1948. Dad owned his farm, and was becoming very active in the community in his own right. Hard work did pay off.

Along with Billie there was Jimmie, and most recent Tommie. Mom dropped the "ie"s in a few years, but that is who we were when these photos were taken.

These are some of my true treasures - the memories as much as the photos.

Family's are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Annual Kinnick-Williams Picnic

During my high school days, in the early-mid 1950s, "family reunion" became part of my life in the form of the annual ritual of the "Kinnick-Williams Picnic." My mother's fathers' parents were Alonzo and "Nettie" (WILLIAMS) KINNICK. The invitees to this annual gathering, in western and central Iowa, were the siblings and descendants of this family. My grandfather was the eldest son of Lon and Nettie.

In the photo, my grandfather is the bald gentleman, center back row, with his living siblings and first cousins. This is the generation that were the "old folks" as I was growing up. They are all gone, now, of course, and members of my generation are the "old folks." And life goes on...

Family is Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas Butler

Thomas Butler, the brother of John Butler (introduced earlier), was born 2 Jan 1740 in Cookeny Parish, County Wicklow, Ireland. He married Ann Dalrymple on 12 Nov 1744 and they had thirteen children.

Thomas Butler served in the American Revolutionary War, as a Private, in the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment, with his brothers, John and William (as well as his five first cousins, the sons of this uncle, also Thomas Butler). Evidence to date suggests that the all eight served with General Washington at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78.

After the war, Thomas settled in western Pennsylvania where he was in the steel industry. Thomas died in 1832, and is buried in Pennsylvania with his wife, Ann.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy - 85th

A Big Thank You to Greta Koehl for using my Tombstone Tuesday - John S. KINNICK post as her lead comment and referral in the 85th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. Please check it out. Some really interesting stories!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Iceman

Caption reads: Williams the Iceman and his help, Coon Rapids, Iowa

A couple of years ago, my uncle, now in his early 90s, said he worked on this crew, but he is not in this photo. The cut ice from the river in the winter, stored it in straw, and delivered during the summer. This is probably in the very early 1920s. [The Williams was my mother's uncle.]

Family is Forever! ;-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

John Butler - My Irish Ancestor

John Butler
Private, Revolutionary War
My Third Great-Grandfather

Until about ten to fifteen years ago, I was not aware of any Irish heritage. Although my parents has always "celebrated" St. Patrick's Day, it was because that was their wedding anniversary day, not because we were Irish, or had Irish blood.

For a few years, I had been doing research, off and on, to overcome my Aunt LVene's (historically the family genealogist on my father's line - even a "book") comment: "We don't know much about Grandpa Preston." My wife and I figured out fairly early on that it wasn't that she didn't know (she was too smart and good for that) - it was that "She didn't want to talk about him" because of some family conflicts that had occurred earlier and during her lifetime. While we respected her for her position, we were certainly not taking that for a final answer; this was my great-grandfather, after all.

His story is told elsewhere, off course; he is my father's mother's father: James P. Preston. In the information we found on him, we discovered his mother was Asenath Butler, the daughter of John Butler, who fought in the Revolutionary War. It turned out that our John Butler (there are thousands - it seems - by the way) was actually born in 1745 in Cookeny Parish, County Wicklow, Ireland! This is my third Great-Grandfather. I do have Irish blood.

About the same time that we were visiting northwest Ohio to gather some of this information, and share it with others, in hopes of learning more, it came to our attention that the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) were researching Rev War soldiers that were buried in the area. They had identified our John Butler as being buried near the small town of Florida, a few miles east of Defiance, Ohio, along the Maumee River. He died in Richland Twp, Williams Hull Co, Ohio, 22 Nov 1830. The SAR placed a marker for him and held a ceremony. I was unable to attend, but did receive a photo and a VHS video tape of the event.

What more do we know about our John Butler? He served as a private throughout the war and believed that he continued to serve as a soldier through the War of 1812, although only his service in the Rev War is recognized in US military records. He likely served with various state and/or local militias, which we continue to attempt to identify. This is based on his pension files information. He was "serving" or at least living in Detroit at the time it was surrendered to the British by US General William Hull. Gen Hull said he surrendered in order to save the lives of the several hundred civilians there who would surely have been massacred by the Indian allies of the British. By way of the surrender, the civilians were allowed passage back down to Ohio. That is how they got there for his daughter, Asenath, to meet and marry William Preston in Defiance in 1820. Thank you General Hull. General Hull received a court martial for his actions, but I will always thank him, every chance I get. This is based on information left behind by Asenath, retold many times to her family through her long life (1803-1888), and generally confirmed by our subsequent research.

While his father, James Butler, never left Ireland, two brothers did, and served with John in the Rev War. James' brother, Thomas Butler, had come previously to the USA and had a gun shop in Carlisle, PA. Thomas was a supplier of guns to Gen. George Washington and the US army - I've seen the paperwork. Thomas had five sons, first cousins to our John, who all served as Officers in the Rev War and some later in the Mexican War. They were touted as the "Fighting Butlers" later by LaFayette. I'll post that story later, as well, of course. All eight Butler soldiers (first cousins) appear to have served at Valley Forge with Washington. The gun shop building still stands in Carlisle - I have photos of our visit - and a prominent plaque stands on a nearby street celebrating the contributions of Thomas to the war effort.

Finally, there are at least three mysteries regarding our John Butler I continue to research, and I would appreciate help or suggestions:
1. Where did he serve, and where was he between 1782 and 1803?
2. Who was his wife, Lena, and where did he meet her? What became of her?
3. There were apparently two to four sons of John and Lena Butler in NW Ohio around the time daughter, Asenath, married William Preston... what became of them?

Comments welcomed.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Surname Saturday - SMITH

Our SMITH family in the USA began with Michael (Schmitt) (Schmidt) SMITH, born in 1829 in Nambsheim, County Haut Rhin, District Colmer, France per original research done by my Aunt LVene (Smith) Thomas, including a copy of his birth certificate. She believed that he and his family came to the USA shortly thereafter, though no definitive information has yet become available.

Michael served in the Civil War as Farrier with Company E, 2nd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry from 5 Sep 1961 to 3 Oct 1864.

Michael first married Magdaline (Lena) HARBRECHT, who was born in Germany. They had three children: Julia, Mary and Michael. Lena died in Sep 1864.

Michael second married Nellie Margaret SODERSTROM at Hampton, Rock Island County, Ilinois. Their first son was William Emanuel SMITH, born in 1869. Their subsequent children were: Lena, Joseph, Lizzie, Benjamin, Peter, Elsie, Robert and Grant.

William Emanuel SMITH was my grandfather.

I am currently updating the family history written by my Aunt LVene and hope to publish it in 2010.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Follower Friday: Julie at My Pappa's Book

Julie at My Papa's Book:

Her opening story of how she got started is so meaningful to most of us. And then, to see how she has expanded to additional blogs... really neat, from this viewpoint.

Keep up the great work, Julie!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Immigration Card

My treasure this week is the actual card my grandmother SORENSEN carried with her on the S.S. Hekla from Denmark in 1904 to show that she had "passed inspection" and did not need to be quarantined on Ellis Island on her arrival in the USA.

Last Surname Saturday - SORENSEN, I posted a story about the family, including a photo of the ship S.S. Hekla and a photo of the family just before Dorothy (listed on the card as Dorthea) left Denmark for the USA in 1904.

This card is a true treasure that I will pass on to my grandchildren.

Family is Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - KINNICK Men Three generation

Probably in 1914, at time of marriage of Paul - with his father and grandfather Kinnick. Most likely in Greenfield, Iowa, where wedding occurred. So dignified.

Paul Harold KINNICK (1892-1968)
Alonzo Palmer KINNICK (1870-1923)
Walter Watson KINNICK (1840-1919) Civil War Veteran

Families are forever! ;-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - 3rd G-Grandparents - KINNICK

This week I want to feature the tombstones of my 3rd Great Grandparents - the KINNICK surname. They were the parents of John S. KINNICK that I featured in an earlier TT post.

They are in the Forest Hill Cemetery, Wyanet, Bureau County, Illinois. Walter died accidently, at a relatively young age in 1853, just a little over 43 years old. Susanna lived a long life, over 75 years, and died in 1881. Susanna is first, here, with a closeup and a full view.

Walter's is also shown in full view and in closeup.

Family is forever! ;-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods... Part 2

As you gather for the holidays, as there is a mix of older and younger folks, consider keeping a paper and pen/pencil handy - along with your camera. Even better, take along an audio digital recorder to capture those great family stories of days gone by.

You will enjoy them today, but they will be even more precious "tomorrow" when granny or gramps or Aunt Hattie or Uncle Louie are no longer around to tell them. Capture those stories, preserve them, so that you can share them with your young ones at future gatherings.

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones that can remember and repeat stories orally. I need to have them written down or recorded. I also like to "check them out" for accuracy, so that when I repeat them, some of the facts are even better than when I heard it the first time. This may or may not be for you. We each have our own story-telling practices. What ever they are, use them. Tell your stories. Share them.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Smile for the Camera - Arrion

The Smile for the Camera, 19th Edition Blog Carnival, asks us to use the word prompt "Gift" - and we are encouraged to be creative.

Normally I would be likely to choose a photo of one of my two grandchildren for such a post.

This time, however, I am honoring their mother, my youngest daughter, Arrion. We went a full generation without grandchildren until she and Ben, her husband, gave us our two precious ones to carry on our family line. As a youngster in dance and ballet, her teacher always said her smile had "sparkle." That sparkle is still there. Here is a very casual pose, this summer when they visited us for our 50th anniversary celebration. Thank you for your "gift" Arrion!

Family is Forever! ;-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

1910 Postcard - front and back

This is a postcard from my Grandfather [Paul] to my Grandmother [Dorothy] about three and half years before they got married. The photo side suggests they were already "pretty good friends!" Note that the young lady is dressed in white, and he wears a white hat!

In 1910, she was 22, had been in this country, from her native Denmark, about 6 years. In 1910, he was 18, just graduated from Coon Rapids High School in May 1909 and was going to go to Commercial College in Des Moines; meanwhile, he was working for his father and uncle on their farms in Coon Rapids and Greenfield, respectively.

Text of Postcard dated 3 Mar 1910:

Monteith, Ia, [a tiny town, about half way between Coon Rapids and Greenfield]

Mar 3, 10

Got here O.K.
Had to bring the cattle.
Will go on today.

Can't be there for Sat. night.

Will be down there next wk.

Papa can't come till after noon.
The roads are a fright.
Tell Cris [her brother] he wants to go Sat. night.

Take good care of yourself. P.H.K. [Very familiar initials - saw them many times, myself]

Paul Harold KINNICK, b. 18 Aug 1892; m. 12 Aug 1914 Dorothy Christine SORENSEN, Greenfield, Adair Co, IA
Dorothy Christine SORENSEN, b. 26 Jun 1888, VorFrne, Aalborg, Denmark

From her Funeral Program:

Dorothy, daughter of Lauritz Christian and Jensine Marie Nielsen Sorensen, was born June 26, 1887, at Aalborg, Denmark. In 1903, she came with her family to the United States where they settled in Greenfield, Adair County, Iowa. On August 12, 1914, she was united in marriage with Paul H. Kinnick at Greenfield. At that time she became a citizen of the United States. Dorothy and Paul spent their entire lives in Coon Rapids, Iowa, except for a short time in Bayard, Iowa. Paul was with the Iowa Savings Bank and the First National Bank in Coon Rapids. Dorothy devoted her time to her husband, her children, and her home. Music was an important part of her life. She played both the violin and piano, and loved to sing.
Dorothy was a member of the United Methodist Church, the Gleaner's Sunday School Class, and participated in the Aid Society and WSCS. While living in Bayard, she enjoyed the Helping Hand Class of the Methodist Church.
On July 16, 1975, Dorothy entered the Thomas Rest Haven Nursing Home in Coon Rapids, where she died on Sunday, November 28, 1982, at the age of 95 years, 5 months, and 2 days.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Surname Saturday - SORENSEN

SORENSEN is my mother's maternal line. Here is a bit of that story line. Dorothy Chistine is my mother's mother, my grandmother. She is the tall one, center back row, below, flanked by Christian and Dagmar (Delma). Louise is between the parents. Maurice was already in the USA.

The Lauritz and Jensene Sorensen Family
Prior to leaving Denmark c.1903-4

Lauritz Christien SORENSEN (b. 9 Apr 1847, Aalborg, Denmark) married, about 1878, in Denmark, Jensene Marie NIELSEN (b. abt 1853, Denmark)

Children of Lauritz and Jensene Sorensen:

1. Theodore SORENSEN (b. abt 1879, Denmark; d. abt 1899, Denmark, of TB)
2. Maurice SORENSEN (b. 14 Feb 1880, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 8 Nov 1903 Ida LUND)
3. Dorothy Christine SORENSEN (b. 26 Jun 1888, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 12 Aug 1914 Paul Harold KINNICK)
4. Christian Otto SORENSEN (b. abt 1890, Denmark; m. Mary THOMPSON)
5. Dagmar Rebecca (Delma) SORENSEN (b. 7 May 1891, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 19 Oct 1914 Clarence Clyde (Clyde) LUSE)
6. Louise Mildred SORENSEN (b. 28 Aug 1894, Aalborg, Denmark; m. 4 Jun 1919 Rasmus NIELSEN)

S.S. Hekla, 1884 Thingvalla Line

This is the ship Dorothy sailed on from Denmark, departing on April 15, 1904 and arriving in New York, May 1, 1904, at Ellis Island. The family moved to western Iowa.

Family is Forever! ;-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods...

How many of you are getting to gather with grandparents, and other family members, sometime in the next week for Thanksgiving? I'd like to hear some of your stories. Do you do the same thing every year, or do you do something different each year, on purpose? Do you alternate places to gather? Do you get together on a different day than Thursday? Turkey, Ham, Other?

How many are flying, rather than taking a horses and sleigh through the woods, for example?!?! ;-)

How many of you will hear stories of the "olden days" - ancestor stories? Do think about listening to them, this year. They can tell you something about yourself, who you are, and why you do the things you do. Your ancestors are a part of you. Some of what they did, you are likely doing, or will do... Give it some thought. Write down some of the stories you hear? Do they ring true? Drop me a note, a comment here, on what you hear? OK? THANKS!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Straw Stool

This is the story of a little stool, with a straw weave top. My younger brother showed up with it at our house a month or so before our 50th Wedding Anniversary; he said I should have it. My two year old picture was taken with me sitting on it. Here is both a current photo and the ancient one.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Billie and Chickens 1942

Because of this photo at age (just under) three - my high school "prophosy" was that I would run a chicken ranch! ;-)

Families are forever! ;-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - KINNICK Paul and Dorothy

This is the Tombstone of my maternal grandparents, Paul Harold (1892-1968) and Dorothy Christine (1888-1982) (SORENSEN) KINNICK, located at the Coon Rapids Cemetery in Coon Rapids, Carroll County, Iowa.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book Update

This is just a note to update those interested in the progress of the companion book to this blog.
"How to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" is in the final editing stages and a preliminary print is being made. For the latest, follow my Book Blog at:

I am very pleased to have just received permission from Judy Shintani to use a quote from her blog on the back cover:

“Telling a story about an ancestor can be a gift to oneself and to one’s family. It is powerful to have your stories heard.” Judy Shintani - please visit her sites regularly:

Judy Shintani blog:

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Surname Saturday - PRESTON

My father's mother's maiden name was PRESTON, so this is a very important surname in my research. It is also quite different from KINNICK, that I discussed last week. About every KINNICK I find is of our "clan." Try to research PRESTON, especially William PRESTON (the name of my 2nd great-grandfather), and you find an unending supply of information - but all about different William PRESTONs than mine! It took several years to get a good handle on it.

My William PRESTON was the first elected Sheriff of Williams County, Ohio, in Defiance (at the time, 1826, in Williams County), and became forever known in the family and elsewhere simply as the "old sheriff." He is also noted in the history books of the area as "the first white settler" in Defiance, Ohio. A much more famous William PRESTON, from Kentucky, "passed through" the area in the late 1790s and keeping them separated in the records has been real challenge. In addition, a few years later, a cousin of the "old sheriff" lived and died in the area - again causing confused identities that were really "fun" to sort out.

We'll be discussing this family more, as we move forward, of course!

If you are related to, or have information on the "old sheriff" or his family, or on the area at that time, I'd love to hear from you!

Family is Forever! ;-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Follow Friday - Kitsune

Today I am strongly recommending (Judy) Kitsune: The Fox Woman's Mirror and specifically her Telling our grandmother's stories to seniors blog.

The joint performance with Lisa Petrides and the great story of how they put the performance together, jointly, with much research and preparation, is simply wonderful. I only wish we would each do this, at least once. Many times would be better. Congratulations, Judy. Keep up the good work.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Kreativ Blogger Award; Thanks, Frances

Thank you to Frances at Branching Out Through the Years for giving me this honor. Frances and Linda and Lori are the chain through which it got to me. It is great to be part a group of people who are so dedicated to setting wonderful examples and encouraging the rest of us to continue to blog about our genealogy.
The winner of this award is supposed to list seven things about themselves and then pass the award along to seven other bloggers.
Here I go:
1. I love genealogy, family history and social history with a passion I cannot control.
2. I am thankful for a supportive wife (even better genealogy researcher than I), three wonderful daughters, two living sons-in-law, two super grandchildren.
3. I keep a blog on the family and my retirement, where the family appears regularly, along with a list of my other blogs, at:
4. I have recently published three family history books. See at:
5. I am about to publish a book on "How to Tell Ancestor Stories" - my blog is a companion - see bazaar blog, above, for when it is available.
6. When I lived in the Kansas Flint Hills I was a big booster of that area; now that I am retired in the Ozarks, I am a promoter of the OZARKS. Come visit!
7. I have many ancestor stories to tell and share. Some are even famous. Visit regulary; become a follower; sign up for the RSS feed at:

Like the others, finding just seven to send the award along to is very tough. Here are some recent ones where I have been able to make comments:

1. Lisa at Small-Leaved Shamrock
2. Heather at Nutfield Genealogy
3. Sheri at Twig Talk
4. Felicia at Our Family as a Whole
5. Carly at Not Another Family History Blog
6. Russ at My Tombstone Collection
7. Deborah at Country at Heart

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - highchair

Here is another family treasure... though only about 70 years old. It is the highchair I used as a child... 1939-early 1940s, I suppose. A gift from my maternal grandparents, I've been told. Still in great shape - used by all five boys over perhaps 20 years. Notice the original leather strap is till in place. Never refinished, as far as I know. A bit different than those my grandchildren use, with safety this and that.... ;-)

Families are forever ;-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Billie 1941

It is not just that I "feel" old, some days: Billie 1941 - 2 years old!

Families are forever! ;-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - John S. KINNICK

John S. KINNICK has been an interesting story in my family. Our 1953 "family history" book said of him: "killed in action, Civil War, abt 1865."

When I began seriously researching my family history, this one caught my eye very quickly. First, I looked at him in the 1850 census. It said born in 1837, between his siblings Sarah and Joseph. The 1840 census data fit this pattern as well. But, he was not in the 1860 census. That certainly raised a red flag. Was he really in the Civil War?

A few months later, a member of the Bureau County Genealogical Society, doing some research for me, sent along this photo. John clearly had died in 1851. He had not been in the Civil War.

This is similar to other "family tradition" stories - my next favorite is "he went west and was killed by Indians." Usually, a little research shows "he" went west and raised a normal family... just had lost touch with the family members telling the stories. A good reminder that we always need to "check the facts"

Family is forever! ;-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Madness Monday - SIMMONS

Mary Estelle SIMMONS married Walter Watson KINNICK on 6 Feb 1862 in Bureau County, Illinois. She was born 8 Aug 1843 and died 7 Jan 1909 in Bureau Co.

Her parents were George SIMMONS (b. abt 1815 in PA) and Mary Elizabeth LEE (b. abt 1825, KY).

Mary and Walter are my 2nd great grandparents. I know most of the families in my ancestry at this level... but not this one.

I want to identify Mary Estelle's brothers and sisters and their descendants. I have been able to discover very little about this family. They may have moved to Nebraska, but I know little more. Any suggestions or contacts would be welcomed.

Families are forever! ;-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Occupational Photos

In several reviews of the thousands of family photos I have taken over the past 50+ years, I have been surprised how few actually show family members at their occupation. What has been your experience? I would love to see references to blogs or websites that have photos of people at work.

Here is my dad with the combine on the farm, likely in the early 1950s. Dad was a general farmer. I have a handful of farming photos, but fewer than I would have imagined.

Thanks for your comments and links.

Families are forever! ;-)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Surname Saturday - wife's surnames added

My dad and I share the surname SMITH - my mother's maiden name was KINNICK.

My paternal grandfather SMITH, married a PRESTON.
My maternal grandfather KINNICK, married a SORSENSEN.

The surnames added by marriage, the next generation back were:

Go back another generation, 2nd great grandparents - we would add EIGHT more surnames.... do you know them all, for your line. At 3rd great grandparents we add SIXTEEN more surnames. What a great opportunity for more fulfilling research!
[For a more complete list, with names, see: scroll down to yellow/purple table]

Each one is just as important to who you are - who I am - as those first two, four, eight. If you have not discovered, and researched, each of these "married into" surnames in your family, I encourage you to do so. My wife and I have made special efforts to identify each, back many, many generations. It is quite revealing and very satisfying! Enjoy the search.

A while back, I identified a ninth great grandfather, who was actually a famous person. I was pretty excited until I realized I have over one thousand ninth great grandparents. Do you know all of yours? How many? I'm still working on mine, thank you...

Families are Forever! ;-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Follow Friday - John Brown Kin

This week I am recommending a very interesting blog:
John Brown Kin - the entry that caught my attention was:

It is not only a family site, but the subject is one of great interest, both positive and negative, in the Kansas/Missouri area where I have lived in the past 15 + years.

I followed with interest the development of the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, which crosses our two state borders. The Civil War was largely fought, again, in words, over the last ten+ years in getting to where we are today. John Brown is a hero to many in Kansas - he appears in a huge mural in the State Capital. He is the worst of scoundrels to folks from Missouri... along with a long list of others. Many were surprised how heated were the feelings that still existed as the Freedom's Frontier committees discussions moved forward to new understandings by all of those involved.

Thank you, Alice, for a great genealogy blog!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - camera

This is the 35mm slide camera on which I took family photos from 1952 into the 1970s, when our children were ten to fifteen years old... high school, college, early married life. It is a treasure to me and my family... my oldest daughter claims it as one of her heirlooms. ;-)

Families are forever! ;-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Hollister, MO - late fall

The fall of the year takes on many shapes, and has many representations in our thoughts of life and our place in our own ancestry stream. With this in mind, I offer this photo, without further comment.

Family is forever! ;-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Lyon

The Tombstone featured here, of young Harry Lyon [my first cousin 3 times removed], was my first exposure to this type of monument- about ten years ago. Have seen a lot since, but I still remember this one because of the family details.

Here is a close up.
Here is the parent's story.
"William Eugene LYON, the son of Nathan and Roxane (BATES) LYON was born in Warrenville, Ohio, May 19, 1851. He settled in Greenwood county, Kansas, in the fall of 1869. Sometime later, he moved to Illinois and was united in marriage to Miss Fanny Kinnick, December 31, 1879, at Mineral, Illinois, where they lived a short time.

Fanny Susan KINNICK was born in Bureau county, Illinois, on November 1, 1851, the youngest daughter of Walter W. and Susan (SCHWYHART) KINNICK. [She was my second great grand aunt]

The Lyons moved to Ness county, Kansas, in 1882, and located on a homestead south of Utica, where they lived the rest of their lives.

Their only son, Harry, was born 5 Mar 1887. He only lived for seven years, six months and ten days. He died 15 Sep 1894. He was the first person to be buried in the Utica Cemetery.

Mrs. Lyon passed away at her home south of Utica, February 18, 1926, at the age of 74 years, three months and 17 days.

Mr. Lyon departed this life at the Midwest hospital in Ransom, after several months of illness, Sunday, August 17, 1930, at the age of 79 years, 2 month and 28 days."

Here is the tombstone of the parents.

When we went to visit this site, we did not know they had a child. Quite a find.

Family is Forever! ;-)