Mitochondrial DNA

I have taken two autosomal DNA tests, through Ancestry and 23andme. There are three kinds of tests: (1) autosomal tests look at chromosomes 1-22 and X. The autosomes (chrom 1-22) are inherited from both parents and all recent ancestors. (2) Y-DNA tests look at only the Y-chromosome, which is inherited father to son, and can only be taken by males to explore their direct paternal line. (3) MtDNA tests look at the mitochondria, which is inherited from mother to child and can be used to explore the direct maternal line.

On a whim in early January, I decided to take an mtDNA test through FamilyTreeDNA. This focuses on the line of my mother, and her mother, and her mother’s mother, and so forth, up the maternal line. Sons can inherit that DNA as well, but cannot pass it, only daughters can pass it. The farthest on my mother’s direct line I have gotten on paper is five generations to Anna Isbrandt. I know about her and her husband and where their children were born, baptized and married, but not where Anna and her husband were born, birth dates, their families, nothing at all.

My results came in last week, and I have two “exact” matches with 0 genetic distance. A “0” genetic distance means that I have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 5 generations (about 125 years). I have a 90% chance that the common maternal ancestor is within 22 generations (!!!). So I knew the test may not be super helpful. My two matches with the 0 genetic distance have listed their earliest known ancestor about five generations back and I’ve never heard of them but will contact them anyway and see what we can work on.

So of course I decided to do more testing, the autosomal test from FamilyTreeDNA, because it will detect relatives out to third and maybe fourth cousins.  Unfortunately it will not be isolated to just my mother’s line, the matches will be both maternal and paternal so it will be more work. I haven’t really been putting enough time into DNA genealogy lately, but part of it is my lack of complete understanding on the subject. However! I just started my Monday night zoom classes on genetic genealogy using the book Genetic Genealogy in Practice, and have a great instructor who is walking us through step by step, so I’m counting on him to help me. Separate chapters and practice problems are devoted to each type of DNA test, so I’m really looking forward to it.

A couple of other matches are not exact but I recognized a name in their earliest common ancestor – Larsdotter, a very Swedish name meaning the daughter of Lars. I have a ton of cousin matches in my Ancestry DNA that have this name in their trees as well but haven’t found the connection, but maybe my Swedish DNA comes from my mother’s direct line. For matches that are not exact like this and who have a genetic distance of 2, there is a 50% probability the common ancestor will be in the last 18 generations, a 75% probability in the last 26 generations, and a 90% probability in the last 35 generations. You can see how difficult it is. Yikes!

It is not the type of test that is really recommended unless someone is a very serious researcher and wants to try to answer a specific question. The autosomal tests are really the best for most.

The mtDNA results did show a clearer picture of my mother’s haplogroup. Haplogroups are individual branches, or closely related groups of branches, on the genetic family tree of all humans. 23andme detected that mine is H, which stems from HV, and it is a very common and diverse mitochondrial lineage among populations in Europe, the Near East and the Caucasus region. The lineage is likely to have evolved around 25,000 years ago in West Asia, before being transported into Europe.

My mtDNA test results actually show more and that the exact haplogroup is H49b, a subclade of H. H49 is found essentially in Germanic countries, and also in Azerbaijan. It goes many centuries back but it is very interesting to learn the migration pattern!

Thanks for reading!

William Peter and Madeline (Schoudel) Bass

So I posted photos of my Ooms grandparents, today I’m posting some photos of my maternal (Bass) grandparents, William Peter Bass (Pap) and Madeline Schoudel (Gram). Pap was born on January 9, 1919 in Chicago, and Gram was born on April 4, 1911 in Rib Lake, Wisconsin. Here is their wedding picture from 1941, which I’ve posted before.

Pap was 22 at the time and Gram was 30, a widow with a daughter, Dolores, after her first husband, Chester Bishop, was killed in an accident.

I’ve posted a couple of photos of them before but never photos of when they were older. My sister texted me some:

The above photo was probably taken in the early 1980s. I remember this photo but don’t remember anything about it.

The above photo was taken in their trailer where they lived in Manteno. We used to go there and visit during summers, I loved it. My sister and I used to play cards with Gram, and sit outside and talk with Pap or do something while he was napping/watching baseball. I don’t know what year this photo was taken, I’m sure sometime in the 1980s. He passed away in 1986 and Gram passed away in 1999. They are buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

This past summer our cousin texted photos of their tombstones. I had gone one time two years ago and couldn’t find them, but knew I was close but hadn’t been there in such a long time. The stones were overgrown with grass and he cleaned them up:

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday Weddings — Bass

This is the marriage certificate for my maternal grandparents, William Peter Bass and Madeline (Schoudel) Bishop (“Pap and Gram”), married on October 18, 1941. I love these old marriage certificates, they’re so beautiful.

They were married at St. Willibrod Catholic Church in Roseland. Witnesses were Pap’s sister, Ruth, and her husband Bob Smith. I swiped this photo off of a FB thread, it was taken in 1909. The church was organized in 1900 and located at 114th and Edbrooke.

Thanks for reading!

Bass Houses of Roseland

My father did a lot of research awhile ago and sent me a ton of photos of places from Roseland that he was familiar with, including still existing family houses. Some of them are houses that my Bass relatives/ancestors lived in. It is sad that Roseland has changed so much but glad that there are still some surviving houses to look at.

This house is at 11832 S. Stewart and was owned by William and Bertha (Conner) Bass, my maternal great grandparents, who both passed away before I was born. I remember seeing this address on a lot of records, such as war registration cards of my grandfather, William Peter Bass, and his brothers. Bertha outlived her husband and lived here until her passing in 1964.

My grandparents, William Peter and Madeline (Schoudel) Bass lived in this cute little house at 10035 S. Calumet from 1959-1960.

My grandparents then lived in this apartment building at 10123 S. Vernon from 1960 until 1962.

This is the house I remember from Roseland, since they lived here from 1962 until 1972, and I was born in 1965. I remember quite a bit about this house, so many fun memories and family get togethers here, I especially remember the one during Thanksgiving dinner when my mother went into labor with my younger brother. I was only three years but it was very momentous, I literally remember seeing dropping to the floor when she said her water broke. Pap and Gram lived on the second floor, and the stairway always seemed so steep to a little munchin like me then. My older sister, cousins and I used to play school in the creepy basement. I was always very scared of the Lucy head vase that my grandmother had on the cabinet as I passed from the dining room to the kitchen, I always thought her eyes were going to open. Now I wish I owned that, I may even buy one for myself.

After they left Roseland, they moved to a trailer in Manteno, alot of special times were spent there too, especially staying there during summers.

Thanks so much Dad for the photos!

Thanks for reading!

I was wrong

I just published a post on the Jonker/Vellenga/Ooms connection and am admitting that I am wrong. My information is wrong about the connection to the Ooms family.

I apparently used some incorrect information and did not confirm my sources thoroughly. While John Yonker and his wife Annie did have a daughter Jane, she was not the Jane Yonker married to Harry Vellenga Sr. Jane Yonker was the 6th of 9 surviving children of Nick Yonker, married to Nellie VanHeest. I believe Nick is Jan and Teetje Jonker’s son.

So now what to do with my original post? That’s an interesting conundrum. I’m going to remove the section that refers to that part and keep the rest.

I want to thank one of my readers, Tricia, who helped me with this. Tricia is a great granddaughter of Harry and Jane.

Thank you Tricia!

Thanks for reading!

Another Jonker/Bass post and another Ooms connection

The other day I was looking at a copy of a letter a Vellenga family member sent to me decades ago — the Vellengas are from my father’s side. And I kept thinking, why is the letter to a Vellenga from someone talking about the Bass side? That’s my mother’s side. I was mystified. Finally, I figured out this puzzle a couple of weeks ago when I was doing more research on the Jonkers. A Vellenga married into the Bass side by marrying a Jonker!

I only discovered this because I was looking on Find a Grave, and then put two and two together (of course always checking sources!!!). Jane Yonker, granddaughter of Jan Jonker/Yonker (and the niece of my maternal great-great-great grandmother Grietje (Jonker) Bass), married Harry Vellenga, son of Age and Johanna (Van Mijnen/Ooms/Rieve) Vellenga. Johanna is my paternal great-great grandmother. Here is a schematic to help make more sense:

Wasn’t that fun? Hahaha. Anyway, on to the letter. The letter was written by Simon Benchop in 1966 and includes a short narrative about the Bass family and when they came from Holland, as told to him by his mother. He is the son of Martje Bas and Henry Benchop and his mother is one of Grietje’s daughters. In the letter, Simon refers to the family as Bas before the name changed to Bass so I am doing the same. I’m going to quote and leave out the grammatical and typographical mistakes:

“Now this is what Mother told me about the Bas family, they left North Holland for America and landed at 115th Street at the J.G. depot, from there they put them on hand cars and took them to Riverdale to old Jon Yonkers. There was my mother Martje Bas, her mother, Grietje Jonker Bas, sister to old Jon Yonker, also my mother’s grandmother, the mother of old Jon Yonker…She was 84 years old. She passed away soon after she arrived in Roseland. Old Jon Yonker’s wife was named (Tillie) Tetje Velthuis. Their oldest son’s name was Garrit Yonker, later years he lost one leg. He had a grocery store on 115th Street just west of Michigan Avenue. His second son was Nick Yonker…And his sons would fish the Calumet River where the Washington Ice house used to stand. Another son was an engineer, he worked on steam shovels. He went to Wisconsin and got killed in an accident, his wife came back and lived with Garrit Yonker for awhile.”

I don’t know what year Garrit had his store, but here is a photo from the corner of Michigan and 115th in 1910:

I’m thinking the son who died in the accident is the youngest son, Cornelius. There is another note attached to the letter that Simon made that says Jan and Tillie had 8 babies who died in infancy, and one boy drowned at the age of 17. There was an older son, Cornelius, and he died somewhere between 1860 and 1863, I’m surmising this from census records. The older Cornelius was 16 years old in the 1860 census, and then a younger Cornelius appeared in the 1870 census, age 7, so we have to assume because of Dutch naming standards that the older Cornelius died somewhere between 1860 and 1863. So then, it would make sense that the boy who drowned at 17 was Cornelius. The other two sons were John and the younger Cornelius. John died in 1943 at the age of 89, so it would be the younger Cornelius that died in the accident, but I haven’t found any death records for either of the Cornelius boys yet.

This is where some of the letter gets a little interesting:

“As for the Bas family, my mother Martje Bas had 6 brothers and sisters. Katherine was the oldest girl. She married Jake Ton, he was a no good old box hand.”

All of my records and the records through Ancestry show that Jane Bass married Jacob Ton, and I don’t find a Katherine anywhere, so I believe he is forgetting a little bit. And was that guy ever opinionated, lolllll.

“Grietje Yonker Bas, the sister of old Jon Yonker lived with us and died on 16 August 1885 when I was 3 years old. She was buried in the front part of Mt. Greenwood cemetery. There were 2 sons in the Bas family, Peter and Nick. Peter worked in the Michigan grain transferring, and got dust in his nostrile, which gave him trouble with an infection. He had to have it removed.”

Interesting stuff!!

Thanks for reading!!

Albert Bass Family

At this point because of Covid-19, we are unsure what the fall/winter will be like and if we will be able to see our families at holiday time. This photo reminds me of holiday times with my family, except we smile in our photos. It is a photo of the family of Albert Charles and Clara (Schaafsma) Bass, taken about 1937 in Roseland. Albert and Clara are seated in the second and third seats on the right. They are having dinner with their grown daughters, Kathryn, Jean, Ann, their husbands/children, and a couple of Schaafsmas.

Albert is my maternal great-great uncle. He was the oldest of eleven children born to Peter and Katherine/Trijntje (Ambuul) Bass and the brother of my great-grandfather William.

For many years I was on the hunt because I was told that Albert Bass had written a family history of the Bass family. Of course I had dreams of a fabulous book type history with photos and stories and summaries of the family. This is really wishful thinking on the part of many genealogists. Eventually, I got in touch with one of their grandsons and he sent me names and dates of what was passed down. It was good information but alas, disappointing as I already had that information. But it was good to confirm the information. Sigh…..

I don’t know much about Albert or Clara, or their family. I do know Albert was born in 1876, and they were married on October 5, 1898. In 1918 when Albert completed his WWI registration card, he was 42 years old and working as a salesman for the I.B. Williams & Sons Co. in Chicago. He described himself as tall (a definite Bass family trait), with hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He and Clara and their family were living at 58 W. 111th Place in Roseland. This is now where the Christ Temple Cathedral Church parking lot is.

I don’t have a photo of his tombstone, but Albert died on February 10, 1953 in Chicago.

Thanks for reading!

Jan and Teetje Jonker

I’m focusing a little bit on the Bass side right now, and today’s post is about Jan Jonker, whose sister is Grietje (Jonker) Bass, my maternal great-great-great-great grandmother. Jan Jonker was one of the first settlers of Roseland, he came over on the boat with the group that included Johannes Ambuul, my maternal great-great-great-great grandfather. In fact, Johannes’ daughter, Trijntje, married Grietje’s son (and Jan’s nephew), Pieter Bass.

A quick note before I go on. I go back and forth about using Dutch and Americanized names in my blog posts, but for this post I am starting with the Dutch names and then changing to the Americanized names. When I refer to the family’s time in America, I will use their Americanized names unless census records show them different.

Jan was born Jan Jonker, but when he died his name was John Yonker. He was born in Schoorl, Netherlands on December 28, 1811. He and Grietje’s parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannetje van Lienen, and they had another brother, Sijmon. Schoorl is in the municipality of Bergen in the province of North Holland.

Here is also a photo of present day Schoorl:

On November 28, 1841, Jan married Teetje (Tillie) Veldhuis, who also lived in Schoorl and whose parents are Cornelis and Kniertje (Van Der Velde) Veldhuis. Tillie was born on January 21, 1821, and ten years younger than Jan.

In 1849, they were ready for the voyage to America. Sadly, they had a baby right before they sailed but the baby died in LeHavre, France. There is confusing information in some of the sources about this. I like the book Down an Indian Trail in 1849-The Story of Roseland by Marie K. Rowlands, but have found a number of errors. For example, it says that Johannes’ wife died during the sailing, however, I have a copy of a church record that shows she did not die until she was in America some years later. The book also says that Jan and Teetje sailed with their two children, one born in 1811 (!?) and the other born in 1821 (!?) – well this is an impossibility as Jan himself was born in 1811 and Teetje was born in 1821.

The book is actually a compilation of articles written and published in 1949 for the 100th anniversary of Roseland. I attribute that some of these stories were passed down through many people and inaccuracies occurred along the way. However, I’ve seen that people still rely on some inaccurate information (i.e., Facebook thread and others). This is why it is always best to check your sources.

Through records on WieWasWie, I have confirmed their children:

Jannigje, born 1842 (died 1926)
Cornelis, born 1844 (death year unknown)
Gerrit, born and died at 11 days old in 1845
Kniertje, born and died at 8 months old in 1846
Kniertje, born and died at 3 months old in 1847
Unnamed baby born and died in LeHavre, France in 1849 (mentioned above)
Garrit, born 1850 (died 1913)
Kniertje, born 1852 (died 1900)
John, born 1853 (died 1943)
Cornelius, born 1855 (death year unknown)
Klaas Nicholas, born 1856 (died 1896)

I have seen Katherine listed as a child but have not confirmed her existence yet. Also, Kniertje is the Dutch name for Cornelia.

This is all actually a really good example of the Dutch naming system. All of the children up until John were named after the grandparents, and then John was named after his father. Jannetgje is not the exact spelling as Jannetje, but it still means Jane. Klaas is Nicholas but I don’t know who he is named after, perhaps an uncle on Tillie’s side? Usually the order in the Dutch naming system is for boys, grandfathers first, then father, then uncle. Same way for girls, grandmothers first, then mother, then aunt.


The above is from the 1850 census, a year after the family landed in America. At this time, John is 38, Tillie is 29, Janka (Jannegje) is 8, Cornelis is 6, and there is a baby but I cannot read the name. This confirms that they sailed to America with the two oldest children.

The 1860 census shows that the family as living in Worth. John and Tillie now have a total of five children: Cornelis, 16; Garret, 9; Grete, 8; John, 7; and Nicolaus, 4. The last name is also now Yonker, but the name is mistakenly spelled at Younker.

In 1870 above, the census shows that the family is living in Calumet. John is working as a gardener, and is 58. Tillie is 49, Garret is 19 and working with the railroad; Cornelia is 18 (listed in the 1860 census as Grete); John is 17; Nicholas is 14; and there is now a Cornelius, age 7. Since there is now a younger Cornelius who is 7 years old, I can guess that the older Cornelius died somewhere between the last census taken in 1860 and 1863.

In 1880, the family is still living in Calumet. John is 68 and Tillie is 59 and the last name is again mistakenly listed as Younker. The only children still living at home are Nicholas, 24, and Cornelius, 17.

John died on March 25, 1891 at the age of 79, and Tillie died on April 2, 1891 at the age of 70. I don’t have photos of their tombstones but both are buried in Homewood Memorial Gardens in Homewood, Illinois.

Thanks for reading!

William Bass – Draft cards

Today’s post is about the WWI and WWII draft cards for my maternal great-grandfather William Bass. He never served in the military, but draft cards can be interesting and have some good family history information in them.

WWI Draft Card

At the time he filled out his WWI draft card in 1917, Bill listed his birth date as February 8, 1889, so he was 28 years old. He worked as a Switchman for the New York & Chicago St Louis Railroad in Stoney Island, was married and had a wife and three children to support. They were living at 11020 State Street in Roseland – unfortunately with all of the changes and desecration that occurred there, that property is now vacant land and I’d rather not show the picture. On his card, Bill described himself as tall and slender, with grey eyes and blond hair. Here is a photo of him when he was older:

Thanks for the photo Mom!

In 1942, at the time he filled out his draft card for WWII, Bill was 53 years old and working for the Chicago West Pullman Southern Railroad. 

WWII Draft Card

At that time, he was living at 11832 Stewart Avenue in Roseland with his wife, Bertha and kids.

Thanks for the photo Dad!

Bill died at the age of 70 on October 24, 1959 of a perforated duodenal stomach ulcer and peritonitis, which really sounds agonizing. He is buried in Cedar Park Cemetery in Calumet Park, Illinois.

Thanks for reading!

Grietje (Margaret) Jonker Bas (Bass)

Grietje (Jonker) Bas (now Bass) was the sister of Jan Jonker, one of the founding fathers of Roseland. She is my maternal great-great-great grandmother and one of the reasons why the Bass line continued in America and, of course Roseland. Her parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannitje Van Lienen and she was born in 1810 in Schoorl, a village in North Holland. Grietje married Albert Bas on June 6, 1835 in Zipje, North Holland when she was 24 years old. Here’s their marriage certificate—

The next document is an undated population register from the Netherlands. It is apparent from the record that Albert died on January 7, 1857 when he was only 47 years old. Sadly, Grietje became a widow with many young children. Nine children are listed in this record, some alive and some deceased.

However, when I was going through WieWasWie, I found records of more children. There are a lot of confusing dates and names, but this is a list I put together from actual Netherland birth registration records from through WieWasWie (I added known death dates as well) —

Jan Bas, Dec. 22, 1835 – Dec. 15, 1852
Gerrit Bas, 1838 – June 25, 1839
Pieter Bas, April 18, 1939 – May 23, 1919 (my great-great grandfather)
Jannetje Bas, 1840 – March 10, 1892
Gerrit Bas, 1841 – Nov. 16, 1852
Gerritje Bas, March 1843 – death date unknown
Maartje Bas, 1845 – Nov. 16, 1852
Aagje Bas, 1845 – 1927
Maartje Bas, 1847 – Feb. 8, 1915
Klaas Bas, Jan. 1849 – May 30, 1849
Unnamed stillborn, died Jan. 31, 1849 (assuming twin born with Klaas)
Klaas Bas, May 30, 1850 – Dec. 2, 1908
Jantje Bas, April 7, 1854 – death date unknown

Grietje gave birth to thirteen children!  Very sadly, as you can see, more than half of them died very young.

Some years later, Grietje emigrated to America with her remaining living six children and her mother Jannetje:  Pieter, Klaas, Jannetje, Aagje, Maartje, and Jantje. They sailed on the Duisburg of Prussia and arrived in New York on June 16, 1866 (Grietje is listed on the next page of the emigration record but here are the children and their ages):

This journey was described in the book Journey Homeward: Blokker, Ton, Zilligen, Mayer, by John Jay Blockker. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it and would love to get my hands on the entire book. Because Jannetje eventually married a Ton, it has some good information about her family in it.

Eventually everyone’s names became Americanized and Grietje was known as Margaret. The name of Bas also changed to Bass.

I had quite a bit of trouble locating information on Grietje after she and her family arrived in America. I cannot confirm exactly where she was in 1870, in fact, I cannot confirm where any of them were living that year as there are no census records on them. Unfortunately some 1870 census records are missing and most 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. Also, many times names were transcribed incorrectly.

I did find her in 1880, living with one of her daughters and her family at 800 Worbach Avenue in Roseland. One thing I haven’t figured out yet is what the name of that street is now, many of Chicago’s streets were renamed but this one is a mystery. Anyway, Grietje is listed as Margret Bass, age 70, living with her daughter Maartje (Mary), Mary’s husband Henry Benschop, and their family. The spelling in the transcription is Renochop. Sure it looks like that in the census because of the handwriting but that is incorrect (again, incorrect transcription).

Grietje (Margaret) died on August 16, 1885 in Roseland at the age of 75 and is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Thanks for reading!