Headstone Genealogy

I’ve seen many headstones that provide wonderful clues for anyone researching that particular family tree. But none quite as wonderful as the Hollister headstone in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. The names, dates and relationships on the front and on the back made it easy to find the right Hollisters in the 1900 census on Ancestry.com. I…

Are We Related? Part One

Dear Prospective Cousin, I think you and I may be leaves on the same family tree! According to the relationship chart below, your mother (or grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, sister, sister-in-law, spouse’s cousin) Alice Hester Clarke Jenkinson was my first-cousin thrice removed. That may sound distant but consider this; Alice’s father Elmer and my 2nd great-grandfather…

Who Do You Think YOU Are?

For decades, I thought I was 50% Swedish and 50% German. Never mind that my maternal grandfather was somehow English. I’m not sure how we overlooked that bit of information, but I continued to believe I was half one ethnicity and half another long after I should have known better. I started my genealogical exploration…

Are You My Ancestor?

Along the same lines as my proposed TV show Name That Ancestor, I have a book idea. It’s a take off of the children’s book Are You My Mother? In this time machine fantasy series, we could go back to the date a picture in our collection was taken and ask each of the subjects,…

Instant Ancestors

The tongue-in-cheek sign by these cabinet card photographs stopped me in my tracks. I’m sure the antique shop owner thought it would be an attention-grabber. It certainly worked for me. Most of the cards were blank on the back. But this card had been a gift, signed by the sender: I couldn’t leave this lovely…

The Census Mistake that Wasn’t

Something had clearly been erased and a new word written in it’s place. I assumed “farmer” was the erased word. That’s the occupation I most often associated with my 2nd great-grandfather William Penrod CLARKE. And optician? Why would the census taker have written that? William was the second of 11 children born to shoemaker Morgan…