DNA revisited

I am afraid that I haven’t really been paying attention to my DNA accounts recently. Too much on the ‘lots of other things I have to do’ genealogy list. But this last weekend, between celebrating my old man’s birthday, reading up on the Whiskey Rebellion, going to Avengers, and catching up on my latest game, I had to answer an email from the wife of a cousin, who was looking for his ancestors. I was very happy to help anyway I could, because in his case it was adoption of his mother that was the brick wall.

In the process of answering the question, I started looking around at all the new matches on a few of these accounts, and saw some surnames that were of much interest to me. But one in particular stood out –Amund and Måkestad. “How intriguing”, says my brain to me, “must click.”

I have always had this tiny nugget of doubt that my research had actually found the right Amund Amundson in Norway, and that sometime in the future his whole line would have to be wiped off the board. But, thanks to this one DNA entry in the FamilyFinder matches, all that doubt, as small as it was, has been put to rest.

The reason the entry seemed so intriging was I could see both ‘Amunds(datter)’ and ‘Måkestad’ , (along with other places of common intestest in Norway), entered in this person’s list of ancestors that they were researching. According to my research Måkestad is where Amund had been born.

This is their list of Ancestral Surnames that they have added to their account, not everyone does this, so it was very helpful in determining commonalities. Not only does Måkestad show up in the list, but: Bleie, Børve, Måge, Nå, Reiseter, Sygnistveit, all these places are common to my Amundsons.

Thankfully, they also have added a familytree to their account, so I could better make the connection.

Their tree.
My tree. The common ancestors are in the red boxes on both trees

So our common ancestor is this couple — Amund Grepson and Guro Sjursdatter, both born in the late 1700s. We descend from their son Amund, and the other person descends from his brother, Greip.

This is very exciting for me and I am so glad to share this great news. I have also been confirming in my mind other connections because of DNA matches, like: Buchanan, Mobley, Lemasters, Shepard, George, Shaw, Goble, McQueen, etc.. While we have pretty much known that these surnames are ours, the DNA further confirms that the research is right.

I love science!

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September 17, 1956 Letter Herman Shepard to parents

Worthington Ohio
Sept 17, 1956

Dear Dick & Dad:-

Just a line to let you know we are O.K. Elsie and Ralph were in last Monday night to bring us the “Black Diamond Cheese” which she presented to us as a gift “God bless her soul” They brought Charlie and his family along so we could meet them. I’ll bet that guy was a ‘circus’ from some of the things they told us. I would liked to seen him dragging that “pike” out on the shore over on Tunal Lake. They must have had a wonderful time. Elisie said she didn’t even want to come home, and they couldn’t keep from telling us how nice you and Dad were to them.

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Their pictures turned out very good. If they had been in color they would have mine beat a mile.

The fishing at Lake Erie has not been so good the past couple of Sundays. Those darn perch are getting more stubborn all the time, they wont bit on just any old minnow, it has to be a “shinner” if you please and they are hard to get. Week ago Sunday we had a couple here from Worthington with us and the lake was too rough to go out on so we fished in the harbor and caught a few little perch and blue gill. Last Sunday the lake was OK but the fish wouldn’t bit so what are you agona due

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Have you had any news from Simon in regards to his taking one of the lots? In case you come home before I get to write again bring all the necessary information and papers with you for me to start the process of getting the one next to you.

Are you folks going to Florida this winter? Lots of people are asking and I’m telling them “yes” We are trying to get Elsie & Ralph to go along and drive with us if we got to make the trip. It wouldnt cost as much as flying although I rather fly its so much fun that way [he wouldn’t say that now!!] and a wonderful time soner.
over

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Well that about winds me up for tonight so will close for now.
Love from Ruth & Herman

P.S. I still haven’t sold the cottage.

September 7, 1956 Letter Herman Shepard To His Parents

Worthington Ohio
Sept. 7, 1956

Dear Dick & Dad:-

I’m a little late getting this letter written, but better late than never. Ruth & I enjoyed Simon & Hazel’s visit here, they didn’t have any trouble finding the house or nothin. After we had our supper we all loaded into our wagon and toured the city I took them to some of the old places that Simon was familiar with, he said he would be lost if I turned him loose. We didn’t have much tiime to talk but he did tell us about he and Dad getting lost back in White Fish Bay, Boy when two old snake hunters get lost that is “sumpin,” Simon said they weren’t lost but just couldn’t find their way out (Hardy, har, har) We thought the water system was a pretty good deal too. First thing you know you’ll

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have inside toilets. I’ll bet it was no small job to get that outfit over from Jack’s Camp and installed but Simon is just the guy who could do it. You must have cracked the whip to get all the things done while they were there. Simon and Hazel surely like it up there as he was telling me about wanting a lot.

How is the road situation progressing? Simon said that Mr. Tapp was going to extend the road farther toward you place right away and that it would possibley come to within a half mile of “Shepards Point. I suppose Unk. Ralph and Elise will have all the dope relayed to us by the time you read this. I hope they had good weather while they were there. The weather has been real nice here only a little on the cool side for

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this time of year. It’s been too cold for me to go “Water Skiing” since we came back. We have been catching a lot of med size ring perch the last couple of weekends 77 one Sunday and 108 over the Labor Day weekend. Mary Ann and Bill were up with us Labor Day and enjoyed the fishing very much. Neither one of them ever fished any. They really got a “charge” out of catching the perch as they were hitting pretty good. They are getting into their house tomorrow so we’ll be alone after that. We’ve enjoyed having them as Mary Ann is as nice as they come and Bill is a big clown.

Ruth is having her Bridge Clu next Thursday night and is working herself silly trying to get the hoseu in condidtion for the girls inspection. After they leave the place will smell like

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a pool room (cigaretts) and will look like a hog pen, but a least Ruth will have the satisfaction of knowing it was clean to start with. We heard you had an offer on the house but the people wanted posssession now how did you come out?

I would still like to have the lot next to you but would like to know more about the road situation and if Simon is going to get one before we say a definite “yes” I would like to get it before the price goes any higher so keep us informed of any developemnts along that line. Maybe we could get the paper work started and sort of string it along as long as possible. A kind of delaying action. You know

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what I mean, in order to get in on the present price etc. We got our pictures back and most of them were good. I got one real good one of Aubrey Falls and the rest were under exposed, why I don’t know.

We are planning on going up to Westerville some evening after Ruths Bridge Club to see Lydia and check on Aunt Dosh. Burch is getting along fine he says it sure is nice to be able to take a good “shit” and enjoy it, and I’ll bet he just aint kidding. Burch told me that Ada, Charlie and Chuck were coming up this week end so Charlie must be feeling better. He says Dosh is also feeling better than for

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some time. We haven’t seen or heard anything of Bess but I suppose she is on her vacation by now.

I received a letter from “Bill ” the other day in answer to the one I wrote while in Canada, not much news just what they are doing etc. Well looks like I’m about run down so will sign off for now.

Love Ruth & Herm.

P.S. Thanks for sending our junk home and Ruth said to tell you we still have 21 lbs of Canada butter and 1 load of Thessalon bread. We have been kinda saving the butter back. If you have space when (over)

you come home bring us abot a dozen loaves of wheat bread, sliced and wrapped etc. We can put it in the freezer you know.

Yes, They Definitely Were

For years I had been looking for evidence that my great grandparents Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson had actually married, and my grandmother was in fact not illegitimate, which was thought that that might be why her Hamm grand-parents had raised her.

And then, miraculously, I found their divorce case mentioned in a newspaper, while searching for something else entirely, of course. Yay!! And then, I found their marriage record at the register of deeds office. Yay!! And just this month I found the actual church record for their marriage. Again, a total accident. Yay!

Apparently, some Swedish Lutheran Church records were recently added to the Ancestry.com databases, and while doing Amundson searches in Minnesota, I ran across the church record for Fred and Carrie in this most unlikely record series. I guess that’s why it doesn’t hurt to keep sticking the same names in the search box every few months, because something unexpected can turn up. This find certainly put me in a good mood.

Carlton County, marriage record.
Church record, Fred and Carrie are near the bottom.

I guess this means that it is official, my grandmother Myrtle was totally legit!

A Silver Jubilee

Above is the newspaper notice of the ’25 years married’ celebration of my 3x great grandparents, Oscar Ebenezer Hatch, and Olive B[uelah?] Robinson. With the added wonderful addition of their son’s recent marriage celebration, as Dillon Franklin Hatch and Almyra Brooks were married only two days earlier.

The celebration was on the 21st of February, but not in the papers until about 3 weeks later. It all happened in Grand Isle, Grand Isle County, Vermont.

August 27, 1956 Letter Bill Shepard to Parents

27 August 1856

Dear Dick & Dad:

I hope that the weather is better in Thessalon than at Moses Lake right now. All day it has been drizzling a cold rain. We cant complain too much, as it seldom rains.

I have been busy building a 5 foot high picket fence around our yard to keep Bonnie & the boys in. Hope to have it finished in a few weeks.

Havent been doing much fishing or boating since we came back from vacation. Two weeks of it must have worn me out. We did have a wonderful time though. Lis has written you about it, i’m sure.

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I wonder what time you are going south this year? Ill try to get a cross- county flight and come down for a week-end when you get settled.

The children are getting ready for school now. K W & Sue to high school. Dave to 2nd grade. Alan will go to Kindergarten. We dont want to push him too much. Tomorrow Lois & I are taking him to a hospital in Tacoma Wash. to have another eye examiniation. We hope that an operation will not be necessary.

I hope you & dad are feeling well Dick. Ill close now & get a letter off to H. O. (Ill shock him too).

Love
Bill

August 21, 1956 Herman Shepard To Parents

Worthington Ohio
August 21 1956

Dear Dick & Dad:-

Just a line to let you know we are O.K. and getting back into the grind of things. Mary Ann and Bill are with us now and I expect they will be for a couple of weeks yet. We were on a neighborhood picnic to night and got to meet a lot of our neighbors for the first time. Of course I had to tell them all about our wonderful vacation. Ruth said look at the full moon tonite and we wondered if you were looking at it to comming up between the Island and the Cove. It is so cool here we turned the furnace on last night and it is down to 52º again tonight 11PM.

Cliff Burch came back to work yesterday and again today, seems to be doing O.K. says he feels

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like it was worth all the trouble soon as the soreness is over.

We went up to the cottage last week end and found everything OK except the grass was about to take over, the lake was rough etc. so we just took it easy, cut & trimmed the grass, cleaned the cottage etc. and just visited in general. Too bad about Frank but we were more of less expecting the worst.

Run[?] & Elizabeth were up there so we got all the information. Elizabeth is still pretty much upset. She wants to sell his boat etc. and I expect she will be selling the cottage too.

She gave me his hip boots which I use so much in taking care of the boat etc.

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We haven’t been out to see Elsie & Ralph yet but expect to get in touch with them soon. I forgot to mention in my other letter but we see each gained 3 lbs. I though it would be at least 10 for me.

The peaches are just coming on the market at the lake and we got 2 peck for eating & pie baking purposes. Well that about all.

You’ve had it. Love
Ruth &H.O.

Father vs. Son

Calvin John and his wife Agnes. I have no known pic of Alfred John.

In my court records research regarding the John family in Oconto County, Wisconsin, I found an interesting case. It was Alfred C. John (my gg Uncle) vs. Calvin John (my 1st cousin, 2x removed).

Alfred is Calvin’s father. The case was a criminal case where Alfred was accusing Calvin of assault:

That on, to-wit, the 31st day of August, A. D. 1916, at the premises of the defendant [Calvin’s home], in Oconto County, Wisconsin, the defendant assaulted, beat, bruised and wounded the plaintiff by violently striking him in the abdomen.

According to Alfred, his son beat him so bad he became sick, sore and was permanently disabled, and continued in such a condition, so he wanted renumeration. In fact he wanted $5000 in damages. Ouch!

Cavin’s response to this allegation was that he was merely defending himself from assault by his father.

There is no testimony to the case because it never went to jury, Alfred never showed up on the day the jury trial was to start, so the case was dismissed.

I was unable to find anything in the local papers regarding this matter either, other than the notifications of court dates, which is a bummer. Maybe Alfred got a little snockered one weekend, the hooch made him ornery, so he started a fight with the closest person at hand, who happened to be Calvin. Or maybe he was just hard to get along with.

The original complaint was filed in 1916 and the trial was to start in 1920. That is a few years of bad blood between relatives. I have no idea how well Calvin and his father got along, but considering the fact that Calvin was the tallest guy in town, I don’t think it was a fight Alfred was going to win anyway.

I just added the three main pages from the short case file. (Oconto County case #8692, Oconto Series 36, from Green Bay ARC, Green Bay, Wisconsin.)

August 15, 1956 Letter Herman To Parents

August 15, 56
Worthington Ohio
11:30AM PLEASE NOTE

Dear Dad, Dick & Gang:-

Well don’t think we’re crazy, but that Station Wagon just flew after we left the Straits, so we just turned it loose and it came on home just like an old horse. We planned on staying in Flint, as you remember, but after eating our supper in Flint, I decided to give up the wheat cakes and drive a while longer as it was only about 7:20PM. The farther we

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drove the easier it looked to come on home. We were home in 17 hrs and 50 minutes after leaving Jacks.

The fish and butter keep just fine, & we appreciated getting the butter from Jack as that saved us some time. We ate our dinner at Christopher’s in Indian River at about 1:30PM, arrive in Flint at 6:35PM. We got our cheese at Pinche’s and some melons just out of Bay City. From Toledo on in, we kept the trucks

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company, as there were very few cars on the road. I belive it will be easy to drive up there with out an overnite stop after the bridge is completed. I didn’t get a bit speepy and I feel fine this AM. I believe the car makes the difference as it rides and drives so easy. I’m just taking the day today living up the last few hours of my vacation. It sure was different here this morning from your cabin, dogs barking, kids screaming etc. back to the old grind.

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We surely enjoyed our vacation. It’s a durn shame we have to be spoiled by being up there away from it all. That “stinken” Dick Sheridian called me up this morning and reminded me that my time was just about up and that I had “had it” also that the shop was still at the same address and the hours were still the same.

My pen just went on the “blink” so I’ll finish with a pencil. Ruth called Doch and Burch is getting along OK.

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She is not feeling to good. She and Charlie Hogue was about the same as of last week.

That about winds up the news so I’ll close for this time, hope this finds you all enjoying all the benefits of Canada, etc.

Love to all Ruth & H. O.

P.S. Ruth was able to get 6 loaves of bread at the Thessalon Bakery.

Bigamy?

Janett and her daughters, left to right: Carrie Rosa, Janett (Smith) Rosa, Ida Rosa

My 3x great grandmother Janett (aka Jennie) Smith Rosa left Michigan, sometime in the early to mid 1860s, with her two daughters Carrie and Ida, and moved to Wisconsin, without her husband Abram. Abram testified in his pension application that she had left him while he was away during the Civil War. I believe it was possibly while he was incarcerated at the Fort Tortuga in 1865ish.

As to the reason why she left him? We will most likely never know the answer to that question. We can speculate that: Abram was abusive, lazy, or a crappy farmer, (his family did not have the best reputation around town); Jennie could have been scared of him, bored and went to try her luck somewhere else, unhappy with her choice, or shamed at his incarceration. It could be his fault. It could be her fault. It could be the fault of both of them. Either way, neither one of them are talking now. Their daughter Carrie told her own children that her father, Abram, had died in the Civil War, so who knows what Jennie had told Carrie, and her sister Ida. This same story was passed down to later generations as fact–now debunked. (NOTE: We have to remember though that Jennie was only 14 1/2 years old when she married Abram in February of 1854, Abram was 20.)

So Abram finally gets back from the war probably early in 1866. His wife and daughters are gone. Everyone tells him they took off for Wisconsin and won’t be coming back. Apparently, he didn’t care enough to try to get them back either.

In 1868, three years after the war was finally over, Janett married Fred Lavelly, in Oconto County, Wisconsin. About a year later, in 1869, Abram married Harriet Emerson in Berrien County, Michigan.

So, okay, this all sounds pretty straight-forward right? They have both moved on with their lives.

But the sticker is–I can find no divorce record for either of them. Not in Berrien County, Michigan. Not in Oconto County, Wisconsin. So that begs the question, were they both bigamists? It is quite possible they were.

Divorce at this time was a very expensive, and nasty, business. Neither one of them had much money to speak of, so the cost of court and lawyers would have been much on both of their minds. As they both lived in different states, maybe they decided that what no one knows, can’t hurt them. Which is probably why the story that Abram was killed during the war came to be part of the family lore. Abram could honestly say his wife deserted him, so in fact his marriage was over.

If indeed these two never divorced, it is the first known case of bigamy on either side of our family.

Happy Valentines Day!

P.S. Maybe there is a divorce case in Brown County, Wisconsin. I’m on it!