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,

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Obituary - 50 Years Ago - Paul Kinnick

Sunday Obituary
50 Years Ago
Paul Kinnick

Dorothy and Paul Kinnick, seated
From left, Eileen (dau), Pete, Ida Marie, Leo (son), Colleen, Buzz (son)
 August 1964 - 50th Wedding Anniversary

This was my maternal grandfather, of course. Three years younger than I am, 50 years ago.
Can't believe I missed it last week, but thanks to cousin Deborah Wills for reminding me.

Coon Rapids Enterprise - Thursday, April 5, 2018 - Page 5:

50 Years Ago
April 4, 1968

Funeral services were held here
Wednesday morning at 10:30 o’clock
in the First Methodist Church for Paul
H. Kinnick, 75
, of Bayard, who died
April 1 at St. Anthony Hospital, Carroll.
Officiating at the services were
the Rev. Mark Sullivan, minister of
First Methodist Church, and the Rev.
Dale Bass, Methodist minister at Bayard.
Mrs. Paul Nelson was organist
and accompanied Wayne Textor,
John J. Schumacher, Oliver Textor and
Paul Nelson in quartet numbers. Casket
bearers were Lyle Kinnick, Paul
Nielsen, Donald Herron, Wilbur Herron,
Dennis Ford and Duane Herron.
Burial was in the Coon Rapids Cemetery
under the direction of the Mason
Funeral Home.

Personal note: I attended this funeral en route from my home in Schenectady, NY, where we had recently buried an infant daughter, to a three-month work assignment for General Electric in Phoenix, AZ, with two short weekends home during that time. By early June, I had decided to leave GE and return to Iowa with my family. It was a rather traumatic period of our lives.

Dr. Bill

Monday, April 9, 2018

Some Personal Thoughts - When Examining DNA Results

Some Personal Thoughts - When Examining DNA Results

Everyone seems to have an opinion on what DNA results mean. I won’t express an opinion, on that, but I can add some comments, food for thought, perhaps, to the process you may face. Testing your DNA, whether at, 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA or others, seems to have become a national pastime - and that is probably a good thing.

I recently read an essay by a writer friend as he and his wife went through the testing process and looked at the results. I suppose a few of his comments encouraged me to share these thoughts.

Although DNA tests can shed light on many aspects of our heritage, the most popular, spurred by the incessant commercials these day, no doubt is the percentage of origin from different parts of the world. And these will vary, of course, depending on which tests you take because their test results each display different regions. Regardless of that, however, we are virtually all immigrants; it is just a matter of general relativity as to the distribution.

Remember this fact, though: we each have - 2 parents, 4 grandparents, etc.
How many of them have you identified in your research?

Parents - 2
Grandparents - 4
Great-Grandparents - 8
2nd G-Grandparents - 16
3rd G-Grandparents - 32
4th G-Grandparents - 64
5th G-Grandparents - 128
6th G-Grandparents - 256
7th G-Grandparents - 512
8th G-Grandparents - 1024
9th G-Grandparents - 2048

ONE of my 9th G-Grandparents (out of 2048, or so) came from England and was a co-founder of Salem, Massachusetts, in the mid-1600s, to put this on a timeline perspective. Think about that for a second in terms of that one tidbit - He is important to me, because I’ve identified him - but even this is teeny-tiny part of my DNA.

The 2048 may be high, of course, if any of your ancestors married first cousins, or other relatives (that cuts down the total numbers, but not by a lot-still a lot ancestors, not that far back!).

Some folks like to talk about surnames as they may relate to heritage. My Schmidt ancestors were either from Germany or from France, depending on the geography lines after the most recent war. How is that expressed in my DNA? Of course, my maternal grandmother was born in Denmark. I think that means I am 25% Danish, or Scandinavian, or Northern European, or… Well, you get the message.

BTW, I really hate the commercial where the guy turns in his Kilts for Lederhosen!! Or is it the other way around?!?!?!?!?

Well, enjoy your DNA Test Results! Get your DNA Test Results! Please, just don’t get all worked up over the results. Do the research. Learn about more than just 500, or 5000, of your ancestors and their descendants. Keep searching, Enjoy the search!! It is worth the effort!

Your comments are welcomed, and invited! ;-)

Happy Hunting,

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sunday Obituary - Ralph Huffman, Jr.

Sunday Obituary - Ralph Huffman, Jr.

Ralph and his wife, Winona, were First Cousins, Once (one generation) Removed. Winona is the daughter of Louise (Sorensen) Nielsen who was the sister of my maternal grandmother, Dorothy (Sorensen) Kinnick.

From the Coon Rapids Enterprise - Thursday, March 29, 2018, Page 3:

Ralph Huffman Jr., of Audubon died March 19 at the Friendship Home in Audubon.
The family met with friends on Friday evening March 23, at the Kessler Funeral Home in Audubon. Funeral services were conducted by Pastor Doug Opp on Saturday, at the Kessler Funeral Home in Audubon. Interment will be in the Union Township Cemetery east of Coon Rapids. The casket bearers were Mike Birkel, Bryce Trout, Brenden Trout, Roger Vincent, Gary Vais, and Dennis Schwab.

Ralph Huffman, Jr.

Ralph Huffman Jr., the son of Ralph, Sr. and Goldie (Hammer) Huffman, was born September 9, 1929, at his parents’ home near Scranton, and died March 19, 2018, at the Friendship Home in Audubon, at the age of 88 years, 6 months, and10 days.
The family moved to Farlin, in 1936 where he attended school until the family moved to Coon Rapids, where he attended Coon Rapids High School. On January 3, 1947, he enlisted into the United States Army. During his tour of duty he was stationed in Panama. On January 5, 1950, he was honorably discharged and returned to Coon Rapids where he farmed.
On June 5, 1952, he was united in marriage to Winona Nielsen. They were blessed with two children, Patti and Larry. They farmed near Coon Rapids until they moved to Audubon in 1954. Ralph was employed as an auto mechanic for over 40 years working with Searl’s Chevrolet, Conklin Ford, and Larsen Ford. He retired in 1993 then worked part time at the Audubon County Courthouse until 2003.
Ralph and Winona enjoyed riding their motorcycle to motorcycle rallies in different parts of the country. He enjoyed stock car races and watching his son Larry race motorcross. He had a small woodworking shop and made many different items and enjoyed going to craft fairs. He loved being outside and enjoyed hunting and fishing, but most of all mowing his four acres of their lawn.
Ralph was preceded in death by his grandson Damon Huffman; his son-in-law Russ McCune; his parents; his brothers: Virgil Huffman, Kermit Huffman, and Ronald Huffman; and his half-brothers: Pat Lyons, Willard Lyons, and Richard Lyons.

Survivors include his wife Winona Huffman of Audubon; his children: Patti McCune of Omaha, NE, Larry and wife Sherrill Huffman of Audubon; his grandchildren: Christy Trout of Omaha, NE, Carrie and husband Jason Riley of Sarasota, FL, Kalin Huffman and fiancé Mike Birkel both of St. Paul, MN; his great grandchildren: Bryce Trout, Brenden Trout, and Brinley Trout all of Omaha, NE, and Cadyn Riley of Sarasota, FL; his half-brother Bill Lyons of Bedford; his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Annie and husband Jerry Vincent of Jefferson, Judy and husband Dave Marques of Fort Collins, CO, and Marie Nielsen of Jefferson; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.