Conner DNA

I was doing some digging in my Ancestry DNA matches and made a surprising discovery – that I have a number of fourth cousins from the Conner side! This helped to confirm that my maternal great-great-great grandfather, Charles W. Conner (who married Mary C. Dorwart), was born to Samuel and Lydia Conner (maiden name still unknown). Samuel and Lydia had several children: Samuel F., who married Margaret Mary Graeff (through which the cousin connections come from); Charles W.; Amos; John; Sarah; Lydia; and Joseph. Amos appears to have died in 1853 at the age of 25. Sarah married a Hukey/Hookey. Lydia married a Kautz.

This is a first for me to have been able to link any Conner DNA connections. If a DNA match includes a family tree, sometimes I can figure out the connections, sometimes I cannot.

My cousins have only gotten as far as Samuel and Lydia. I have found some additional unrelated trees on Ancestry that goes beyond them a couple of generations but I don’t believe the people in those trees are connected to my Samuel and Lydia. How do I know this? I have been in contact with a descendent who also did an Ancestry DNA test who had that same information and we are not matches – at least not at a farther point than Samuel and Lydia I mean. But at least I know who Charles’s parents are. More research to do!

Doing research on the Conner family has been interesting. Charles W. and Mary are buried in Lancaster Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where a lot of Dorwarts and some Conners are buried. I don’t have a photo of Charles’s tombstone but here is Mary’s tombstone:

Charles’s brother, Samuel F. and his wife, Margaret, are buried in the Hebron Moravian Cemetery in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. I watched a YouTube video of someone narrating his exploration of the cemetery, apparently it is a very old cemetery. The burials are in “choirs” based on status, married females in one group, married males in another, male children of a certain age in one group, female children of a certain age in another group, and widows and widowers are in separate areas. And there are numbers on the graves, not names, although there are separate names stones for Samuel and Margaret.

Hopefully I will be able to find more information on the Conner line as I dig deeper, lol, no pun intended.

Thanks for reading!

Tombstone Tuesday — Joseph Winarski

This could be classified either under Tombstone Tuesday, Tragedy Tuesday or Wednesday’s child. This is the tombstone of Joseph Winarski, and no that’s not a crooked photo.

Source: Find a Grave

Joseph was one of the children of my maternal great-great grandparents, Frank and Julia (Lichnerewicz) Winarski and he was very young when he died. He was born in 1897 and died in 1908, and is buried in St. Mary Cemetery in Rib Lake, Wisconsin. I was told by a Winarski fourth cousin that he died in a farming accident. Farming was very hard work, but for children, especially dangerous. For people back then, children were a necessary part of helping their parents on the farm, but I cannot imagine ever being able to deal with the tremendous guilt from a fatal accident to my child helping out on the farm.

Gertrude Dekker Ooms

I was going through some old photos recently from my father and was excited to find a couple of older photos of some of my great grandparents and great-great grandparents.

This is my paternal great-grandmother, Gertrude Dekker, whose Dutch name was Grietje. She was born on August 25, 1866 and married to Adam Ooms.

According to Find a Grave, the Dekker family emigrated in June 1865. I have not been able to find the record of this yet. According to 1870 census records, they lived in Hyde Park Township, Illinois, which existed as a separate municipality from 1861 until 1889 when it was annexed to the city of Chicago. At that time, Hyde Park’s borders were Pershing Road (fka 39th Street) on the north, State Street on the west, Lake Michigan and the Indiana state line on the east, including the eastern part of Roseland, and 138th Street and Calumet River on the south. In the record, the last name is incorrectly spelled as Decker. The children listed as: Simon, 16; Catharine, 13; Edie, 11; Abram, 9; Ellen, 7; Gertrude, 3; and Mary, 8 months.

In the 1880 census, the family is listed as living in Calumet, and the children are: Airy (Arie), 21; Abraham, 19; Ellen, 17; G. (for Gertrude), 13; M. (for Mary), 10; and Ellen, 7. They also had a boarder.

There is no 1890 census since most 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. By the time the 1900 census rolled around, Gertrude is listed as Bertie (instead of Gertie) and married to Adam Ooms, and living at 249 W. 111th Place. They had been married on April 26, 1886 so would have been married fourteen years then. The children listed are: Johanna, 13; Harry, 11; Alice, 9; Aggie, 5; Johny, 3; and Simon, 3 months. They also had a servant named Kate.

In the next census in 1910, Gertrude and Adam had been married 24 years and had had twelve children by that point, with 9 living children and 3 deceased. The children listed as living at home are Harry, 21; Alice, 18; Aggie, 15; Johannes, 12; Simon, 10; Casper, 7; Andrew, 4; and Johanna, 0.

In 1920, Gertrude is still living with her husband and family at this house at 147 W. 111th Place in Roseland –

My father believes this house was built before 1900, and didn’t have a bathroom until it was added on later along with a kitchen sink and pantry. I looked up the house details on redfin.com and it was indeed built before 1900, in 1895 in fact. It doesn’t look as good as this photo but it at least is not boarded up.

Some of the children had begun to get married and have their own families by this point. The children still living at home are Agnes, 24; John, 21; Simon, 19; Casper, 17; Cathryn, 15; Andrew, 13; and Johanna, 10.

Gertrude’s daughter-in-law, my grandmother Lena (Kros) Ooms (married to Simon), was a prolific photo taker when she was in her twenties. Here is a photo of Gertrude hanging laundry:

In 1930, Gertrude and her husband were still living in the same house, with one child at home, Johanna, age 20.

In 1940, Gertrude is a widow, having lost her husband nine years before in 1931. She is age 73 at this point, and her daughter, Johanna Ledeboer, age 30, is living with her. Johanna was married to a man named Jacob Ledeboer, who unfortunately died of pneumonia in 1934 at the young age of 24.

On March 3, 1953, Gertrude died at the age of 86. Johanna continued to live in the house until the late 1960s. Gertrude is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Dutch Bingo Anyone?

One day last week I received two family history surprises in the mail. One of them was Marlene Cook’s “History and Mystery in First Church Graveyard”, which is a book about the graveyard of the First Church PCA (formerly the First Reformed Church of Lansing), located at the corner of Burnham Avenue and Ridge Road in Lansing, Illinois. Here’s a newspaper article about it.

I met Marlene through the Roseland Facebook thread my father told me about – she introduced herself to me when she saw a thread between myself and someone else (who turned out to be a distant cousin on the Eenigenburg/Ton/Dekker side). Marlene wrote a book about the graves at that cemetery and many of my family members are there, mostly indirect but very important nonetheless. Some of the names are: Schoon, Dekker, Ton, Munster. In fact, it is the same cemetery that Jacob Munster is buried in, who I wrote about before, and the cemetery my father and I were going to visit this spring before COVID-19 became a problematic pandemic. The earliest date found on any tombstone in the cemetery is dated 1864 and is of Grietje Schoon Ton, who is my great-great aunt on my father’s side.

It’s a very interesting read. During our chat, Marlene mentioned her mother was an Ooms and descended from Richard Ooms, another grocer in Roseland – but the “talk” was our grocer guys’ families were not related. Of course you never really know about these things, so I was determined to find out, and I am very happy to say we are truly cousins – distant cousins but cousins nonetheless!!  That’s when I learned about the phrase “Dutch Bingo”, which I didn’t know is a game Dutch people play  when they’re trying to figure out if they’re related to each other. Anyway, it’s really nice to make new friends with cousins I never knew I had. Here’s the shortest version possible of the connection without dates, I’ll write up a longer post later:

Adam Ooms is the son of Jan Ooms and Neeltje Baas, he is my paternal fourth great-grandfather (the grocer Adam Ooms is a great grandson and my great grandfather). Willem (William) Ooms is another son of Jan and Neeltje, so William and my Adam are brothers. William Ooms married Fija (Sophia) Hogendoorn, they had a lot of children, most who died, but there were three surviving children: Jan (John), Gerrit, and Jannigje. John Ooms married Magteltje Huisman, and they had three children: Sophia, William and Richard. Richard is the grocer.


The other thing I received was a death certificate for one of Anna Conner’s children. I’m still trying to track down her maiden name, and track down her parents. This death certificate confirmed what I believe Anna’s maiden name to be: Schadel. The first time I saw the name was on her son Harry’s marriage record, spelled as Shadel. I thought it was a fluke since he was so young when his mother died. But on her son Arther’s death certificate (note last name spelled Conners), her maiden name is listed as Schadel. So I feel pretty confident it is Schadel/Shadel. Census and death certificates list her original country as Germany, so at least I have something to go on but you wouldn’t believe how many Anna Schadel’s were born in Germany around 1872.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post, thanks for reading!

Continue reading “Dutch Bingo Anyone?”

Wednesday’s Child – Aaltje Dekker

I was cleaning a closet recently and found a binder of all of the tombstone pictures I took when my father and I visited cemeteries – oh, maybe thirty or so years ago????  Even though there are a lot of tombstone photos on Find a Grave, I’m glad I found the binder.

Today’s tombstone is from Mt. Greenwood Cemetery and for a little girl, Aaltje Dekker. She was the child of Abram and Henrietta (Vinke) Dekker. Abram was one of the sons of Arie and Aaltje (Schoon) Dekker, my paternal great-grandparents, and I assume she was named after her grandmother. Aaltje was born on July 12, 1888 and died on October 1, 1889. Such a short life… 

The tombstone is quite ornate, with Dutch writing on it, but I can’t decipher what it says except below her name are her birth and death dates. This is why I’m glad I found my tombstone photos because of what it looks like now:

Source: Glen H. DeYoung

Thanks for reading!

Tombstone Tuesday — Michael L. Shoudel

Today’s tombstone is the tombstone of Michael L. Shoudel, one of the sons of my maternal great-great-great grandparents, Matthias and Magdalena (Miller) Shoudel. He was one of the pioneers of Smithfield Township in Dekalb County, Indiana, along with his parents, who came to our country from Bavaria, Germany, when he was about 11 years old. He was born on December 3, 1844 and died on April 28, 1929.

The History of Dekalb County, Indiana is a goldmine of information on the area and has a long biographical sketch of him (page 866), along with his father, which I’ve mentioned in a past post. I also recognize another family name, Joseph Hohl (page 868), who was also a settler. My DNA tests list a number of Hohl cousins. Matthias Hohl, his son, was married to Mary Shoudel, the daughter of Balthasar and Martha (Carr) Shoudel — Balthazar and Michael were brothers. This is on my maternal side, my grandmother Madeline’s cousins.

Tombstone Tuesday — Magdelene (Miller) Shoudel

Here’s another tombstone from St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Cemetery in Waterloo, Indiana. Magdelene, Magdaline, Magdalena, Mary Magdaline, Maria Magdalena (whatever because the name is different depending on what record you look at) Miller was married to John Matthias Shoudel. The spelling on the tombstone is Magdalene, I’m just going to leave it at that for now.

Photo courtesy of L. Mafera

There are quite a bit of date discrepancies which I have to work on to verify what is correct. In her obituary (thank you to Scott Bowmar!), it states she was born in Bavaria, Germany about 1815 and came with her parents in 1855 to Smithfield Township, in DeKalb County, Indiana. According to the genealogy that a family member gave to me decades ago — and shamefully for the life of me I cannot remember who gave it to me — she was born on May 24, 1816, the first child of John Miller (spelled Müller in Germany), and that in 1855, John Matthias sent for his family, so it sounds as if she was married before coming to the United States. However, the Birkenhordt Project website states her birth date was May 21, 1815.

The Birkenhordt Project website states it is “a non-commercial project committed to documenting all genealogical relationships in the Southern Palatinate and the French district of Bas-Rhin.” Wow, that’s pretty cool. I’m sure going to have to read up on that area of Germany and work on verifying all of that information.

Magdalene died on February 15, 1888.

Tombstone Tuesday- Martha Shoudel

Today’s tombstone belongs to Martha Shoudel, my great-great grandmother on my mother’s side, who is buried at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Cemetery in Waterloo, Indiana. I am having difficulty finding verification sources for Martha under her maiden name to try to get further on her line. Her name has been listed as Garr, however my belief is it is in fact Carr. If I look closer at the tombstone, I cannot verify if the letter is a C or a G, it could go both ways, although I’m leaning toward it being a C. I still have to research further but do have some fairly solid resources that confirm the name is Carr. Martha was married to Balthazar Shoudel, the son of John Matthias Shoudel (an earlier Tombstone Tuesday participant).

The tombstone is in fairly good shape for being 128 years old (thank you to L Mafera through Find a Grave for the photos)!!