Construction Reveals Vintage Sign of Jacob Baker – Grand Rapids Carriage Maker

Construction Reveals Vintage Sign of Jacob Baker – Grand Rapids Carriage Maker

Photo by Jay Kruizenga, 2018

Westside Grand Rapids construction off Leonard Street near the Alpine intersection has uncovered the vintage late 1800s sign of Jacob Baker, horseshoer (type of blacksmith) and wagon/sleigh maker.  As a lover of all things historical this photo is right up my alley.  To see how well the lettering has been preserved for over a century makes me want to jump right in and discover all I can about Jacob: to see how he came to own this particular Grand Rapids shop and his early family life.  And that is precisely what I aim to do in this post.
Jacobus Bakker was born at 9:45pm on 22 March 1850 at Gemeente Leeuwarden in the Netherlands Province of Friesland to Frederik Bakker and Henderika Venendal.  Frederik was then 30 years old and employed as a windmill maker’s helper.  Frederik’s signature may be seen on Jacobus’ birth certificate.  [1]

1860 FAMILY SNAPSHOT

The above page is a snapshot of the Frederik Bakker family in early 1860: at this time, Jacobus would be 9 years old.  His was an extensive family.  This document is a population register required of all citizens similar to the American Census but it gives richer detail.  As a family moved or as children left the family the register(s) would reflect this change in status.  [2]

According to this document the Frederik Bakker family then included (in relation to Jacobus):

Frederik Bakker, father, born 4 October 1819 at Leeuwarden, who worked as a windmill maker.  Frederik lived to the age of 84 dying as a widower on 14 May 1904 at Kollumerland c.a.. [3]

Henderika Veenendal, mother, born 11 April 1821 at Weerenveen.  Henderika died at the age of 79 at Kollumerland c.a. on 21 December 1900. [4]

Janneke Bakker, sister, born 29 November 1844 at Leeuwarden.  On 3 December 1870 Janneke Bakker, then age 26, wed Cornelis van Wely, then 29, at Kollumerland c.a.  [5]  Janneke died at the age of 61 on 10 March 1906 at Haren.  [6]

Jennikje (Iennikjen) Bakker, sister, born 18 August 1846 at Leeuwarden.  On 6 May 1876 Iennikjen Bakker, at the age of 29, wed Floris Westerbaan, then 24, at Kollumerland c.a. [7]  Iennikjen died at the age of 76 on 21 July 1923 at Leeuwarden. [8]

Johannes Bakker, brother, born 22 June 1848 at Leeuwarden.  On 18 May 1876 Johannes Bakker, then age 27, wed Grietje Jaarsma, then 28, at Westdongeradeel. [9]  Johannes died at the age of 77 on 1 September 1925 at Leeuwarden. [10]

Jacobus Bakker, born 22 March 1850 at Leeuwarden.  See marriage and other info below.

Cornelis Bakker, brother, born 11 June 1852 at Kollum.  On 21 October 1876 Cornelis, then age 24, wed Aafke Meersma, then 20, at Kollumerland c.a.. [11]  Cornelis and his family of 9 immigrated to Grand Rapids from Antwerp, Belgium aboard the Friesland arriving 17 May 1892 with 5 boxes.  [12]

Trijntje Bakker, sister, born 13 April 1854 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 28 November 1877 Trijntje, then age 23, wed Tjeerd Ytsma, then 23, at Leeuwarden. [13]  Trijntje died at the age of 85 on 8 August 1939 at Leeuwarden. [14]

Pieter Bakker, brother, born 14 February 1856 at Kollumerland c.a..  Pieter and his family of 4 immigrated to America from Rotterdam, Netherlands aboard the Rotterdam arriving 1 March 1887 with 2 trunks. [15]

Syberen Bakker, brother, born 8 January 1858 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 24 May 1884 Syberen, then age 26, wed Fokje Krol, then 27, at Tietjerksteradeel. [16]  While a date of death has not yet been located for Syberen (due to the many variations in spelling), it is alleged that he stayed in the Netherlands as his wife Fokje died on 20 November 1926 at Velp (Rheden) in the Gelderland Province. [17]

Sjieuwke Bakker, sister, born 10 January 1860 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 17 May 1879 Sjieuwke, then age 19, wed Jacob Fennema, then 21, at Kollumerland c.a.. [18]  Jacob Fennema died on 10 March 1898 at Kollumerland c.a.. [19]

Hiltje Bakker, sister, born 27 July 1863 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 3 July 1886 Hiltje, then age 22, wed Johannes Jacobus Minnema, then 25, at Kollumerland c.a.. [20]  Hiltje died on 8 July 1947 at Leeuwarden at the age of 83. [21]

JACOBUS MARRIES

On 11 May 1878 Jacobus Bakker, then 28, wed Hillechien Schreuder, then 21, at Kollumerland c.a.. [22]

The document at right was much like the American Draft.  All males were required to serve.  This document dated 1878 states that Jacobus Bakker was then employed as a Smith, an occupation that would serve him well in America.

1881 IMMIGRATION

While the actual immigration document has not yet been found we have two indirect references that show Jacobus immigrated to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1881. First, the 1900 US Census records this information.  Second, Jacobus first appears in Grand Rapids on the 1882 City Directory living at 307 Kent street employed as a wagonmaker.  He was the first from his family to immigrate: brother Pieter followed in 1887 and Cornelius in 1892.

5 October 2018 – More info is pending.  Please check back periodically for updates.  This is a work in progress.  Thank you.

(1)  Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Geboorteregister 1850”, database with images, AlleFriezen (https://www.allefriezen.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Civil Birth Register No. 3399, Act No. 185, Jacobus Bakker, birth date 22 March 1850, act date 25 March 1850.
(2)  Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland Bevolkingsregister 1860”, database with images, AlleFriezen (https://www.allefriezen.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Kollumerland, Kollum, 1860-1880 (A-G) Periode: 1860-1880 People’s Register, Frederik Bakker.

[3]  Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Overlijdenregister 1904”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Frederik Bakker, archive 30-21, registration no. 3033, act no. 057.

[4] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Overlijdenregister 1900”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Hendrika Veenendal, archive 30-21, register no. 3029, act no. 141.

[5] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1870”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Janneke Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2019, act no. 71.

[6] Groningen Archive, Netherlands, “Haren Overlijdenregister 1906”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Janneke Bakker, act no. 12.

[7] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1876”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iennikjen Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2021, act no. 14.

[8] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1923”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iennikjen Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3809, act no. 362.

[9] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Westdongeradeel Huwelijkregister 1876”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iohannes Bakker, archive 30-40, register no. 2022, act no. 22.

[10] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1925”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iohannes Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3811, act no. 456.

[11] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1876”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Kornelis Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2021, act no. 51.

[12] “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957“, database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Cornellis Bekker, citing Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 588; Line: 18.

[13] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Huwelijkregister 1877”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Trijntje Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3602, act no. 250.

[14] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1939”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Trijntje Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3825, act no. 482.

[15] “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957“, database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Pieter Bakker, citing Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 504; Line: 47.  Ancestry gives an age of 34 but the actual image differs showing an age of 31 for Pieter, indicating a birth year of 1856.

[16] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Tietjerksteradeel Huwelijkregister 1884”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Syberen Bakker, archive 30-37, register no. 2033, act no. 62.

[17] Gelderland Archive, Netherlands, “Velp (Rheden) Overlijdenregister 1926”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Fokje Krol, archive 0207, register no. 8690, act no. 276.

[18] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1879”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Sjieuwke Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2022, act no. 27.

[19] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Overlijdenregister 1898”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Jacob Fennema, archive 30-21, register no. 3027, act no. 021.

[20] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1886”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Hiltje Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2024, act no. 37.

[21] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1947”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Hiltje Bakker, archive 1003, register no. 5496-5497, act no. 308.

[22] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1878”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Jacobus Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2022, act no. 26.

Using DNA CentiMorgans to Define Relationship

Using DNA CentiMorgans to Define Relationship

You’ve received your DNA test results.  You’re looking over the numerous calculated results and estimated relationships but are a bit confused by the numbers.  How do they know this information?  How are these relationships calculated and can they be trusted?

While I’ve sat through numerous lectures on using DNA for genealogy I must admit that I am no expert on the subject.  I’m still learning and continue to find things that baffle my understanding.  But I’m working through it with the assistance of several books on the topic as well as recorded lectures and notes taken from live sessions.

I’ve had the question thrown at me a few times: why aren’t my parents a solid 50% each?  Aren’t we supposed to share 50% of our DNA from both father and mother?  The answer is not satisfactory but yes and no.  In theory, yes we should inherit 50% of our DNA from both parents, but in practice due to the several complications that can enter the scenario, it is not likely.  Why?

Let me use an example.  Below are shown results from MyHeritage for my parents.

So the question that begs to be asked is: why only 48.7%, why not 50%?  Right?  Some companies say we have 6800 centimorgans  (3400 each parent) while some like 23andMe say we have 7074.60 centiMorgans.  Which is correct?  It depends on areas of the DNA each company chooses to inspect.  There are portions we call junk DNA because these segments have been defined as being not useful to our purposes.  So each company makes an intelligent calculation on what areas to look and makes a suggested relationship after a thorough examination of each area.

In the example above I share 48.7% with each parent but the centiMorgans shared are slightly uneven.  This is okay.  And there may be an explanation.

There were areas at the beginning of the 1st through 3rd and 15th chromosomes, and the end of the 4th and 7th chromosomes where MyHeritage states my father and I do not share any DNA.  And there were large (damaged) sections of my DNA on the 13th through 15th and the 21st and 22nd chromosomes that were not tested at all.  These large untested segments explain the difference between 50% and my shared 48.7% with my father.

But is there a way to calculate relationships cross-company irregardless of what testing company is used?  Yes, via the unit of genetic distance known as the centiMorgan.  While MyHeritage shows I share only 48.7% of my DNA with my father, there is no reason to be alarmed into thinking…is he really my father?

Blaine Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist, created a handy that is very useful in calculating shared centiMorgans (cMs) between two individuals and thus establishing a relationship based on this figure.  Note the chart under “Parent”.  2 sets of numbers are given.  The top number, 3487, is the average cMs shared between parent and child.  The second range of numbers (low to high) are the range on either side of this average where a relationship might fall when using cMs.  For Parent this range is between 3330 to 3720 cMs.  And clearly both my parents fall within range: 3529 (father) and 3532 (mother).

Using the chart above can help you see where and how your testing company calculates suggested relationships.  You can do the same thing.  You’ll note the several overlaps in ranges between the many relationships shown.  If you have a calculated relationship that falls within range for several listed types, be sure to note each and every one of them keeping in mind what your testing company suggests as your company has other means at their disposal to make these calculations that we do not.

Dating An Early Grand Rapids Photo

Dating An Early Grand Rapids Photo

I love the following glimpse into Grand Rapids’ past.  Taken at 9:30 according to the tower clock in the background it is a northwestern look down Monroe Center toward the Pantlind Hotel.

The photo is now in the public domain.  It was taken by the Detroit Publishing Company and has an estimated time-frame from 1900 to 1910.  Are there perhaps clues in this photo that can narrow down a more precise date?  Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Monroe Center Street NW of yesteryear.

The best method of testing the era of this photo is to examine each of the businesses shown in period city directories to determine what years they were at the locations shown.  This is easily done using Ancestry.com which has most of the Grand Rapids City Directories.  Of those listed the ones that point to a specific era include the Grand Rapids Candy Kitchen which did not appear in any directory prior to 1907; the A C Smith Barber who was in another location in 1904; the Dentist, Mr. I L Lee who did not move to this present location until 1907; the Dentist, Mr. Marcus Cox, who moved from this location in 1908.

This refines the year to 1907.  Do objects pictured fit this year?  Without a doubt.  There are three automobiles in the picture mixed in with horse and buggy.  The center car where we can only see the rear does appear to be a 1907 runabout, either Ford or Buick.  The car parked adjacent the Eli Cross Florist is a 1907 Ford Model S.

Everything seems to fit 1907.  As for clothing style, the long-flowing dresses, white shirts and bonnets all fit the 1900s as do the suits and hats for the men.

New for 1907 was the Model R Runabout replacing the Ford Model N in April. The Model R was then revised in August 1907 becoming the Model S.

It’s difficult to determine the model of car driven in the picture above left as it was taken from the rear.  It does appear to be a runabout.  There were several runabout models during the 1907 era: Ford, Buick, Cadillac and others.  The auto may be a Buick Model G or K or a Ford Model R.  The seats seem more like a Buicks.  The rear fenders seem to lift up slightly.

As for the car sitting in front of Eli’s Florist, that does look more like a 1906-07 Ford Model S.  What appears to be passengers sitting in reverse is only an illusion of depth.  They are likely pedestrians walking behind the vehicle.

In either case, I believe the cars help date the photo to the 1907 era.

 

I believe all evidence points to the year 1907.

1907 Buick Model G Runabout

1907 Buick Model K Runabout

1907 Buick Model S Runabout

1906-07 FORD MODEL “R”
INTRODUCED IN 1906

1906-07 FORD MODEL “S”
INTRODUCED IN 1906

Monroe Center Street NW today.

Finding the Father of Betty DeYoung Part 1

Finding the Father of Betty DeYoung Part 1

Betty Jane DeYoung 1921-2009

Mystery Photo that Pauline carried with her for many years.  Why?

9 September 1921

On the 9th day of September 1921, my paternal grandmother Betty Jane was born to Pauline Mastbergen.  Betty took the surname of her mother due to her being an illegitimate child.

8 February 1898

On the 8th day of February 1998, Pauline Mastbergen DeYoung passed from this world.  As the women sorted through her possessions to donate to Goodwill what was no longer needed, a short letter was found written to Betty explaining how the man she knew to be her father, Martin DeYoung, was not her biological.  The letter failed to tell who the father was.

A small photograph was found in Pauline’s hand purse.  It was apparent the photo had been viewed on multiple occasions due to the edge wear.  The photo featured a balding man with close-set eyes and stained fingertips, perhaps in his late 30s, early 40s, who wore a cap, sandals, and an apron from waist down.  It was unidentified.

Was this man Betty’s father?  If so, how to find him?

Proving the Adoption

Because Betty and Pauline lived their entire lives within the confines of Kent County, Michigan, I contacted the County Probate Court, the court that oversees adoptions like Betty’s, to order a copy of the adoption record.

According to Michigan Probate Code, Section 710.68 and 710.27.

(20) A direct descendant of a deceased adult adoptee may request information under this section. All information to which an adult adoptee is entitled under this section shall be released to the adult adoptee’s direct descendants if the adult adoptee is deceased.

Therefore, if the adult adoptee is deceased, a direct descendant will be treated as if he/she were the adult adoptee and receive the equivalent information authorized by law.

Betty’s file was located and I received a copy via email within 60 days.

Unfortunately, Pauline, when pressed for the identity of Betty’s father, gave the fictitious name of John De Geu, who allegedly lived on Ionia Avenue.  City directories were scoured for this or names similar to it, but nothing was found.  It is likely that she did not know who the father was.

22 August 1924

Betty was officially adopted by Martin DeYoung on the 22nd day of August 1924, just 18 days shy of Betty’s third birthday.  Because she was so young she had no recollection of these events which is why the letter written by her mother came as such as shock to the family.

Tracking Down the Mystery Man in Photo

I set out to uncover the identity of the mystery man in Pauline’s photo.  Who was this man?  Why did Pauline carry the photo with her for so many years – not even having a photo of her former husband?

Using the FAN principle (Family, Associates, and Neighbors), I looked to Pauline’s family, primarily her sisters, to see what events may have transpired in their lives around the time leading up to Betty’s birth.

Sister Lillian’s Early Marriage and Subsequent Divorce

Pauline’s older sister Lillian, age 18, had married Steward A. Thompson, nine years her elder, on 25 October 1918 in Grand Rapids.

“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925”, database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N3TC-4QH : 15 May 2018), Stewart A. Thompson and Lillian Mastberger, 1918.

Stewart Thompson was once previously married and had a son named Forrest.  The marriage was short-lived, Stewart filing for divorce on grounds of cruelty, to both Stewart and Forrest.  The divorce was granted on 11 December 1922

“Stewart A. Thompson vs. Lillian Thompson”, Superior Court in Chancery, Kent County, Michigan.  File No. 4002.  File and Transcript obtained from the Western Michigan University’s Zhang Legacy Collections Center Archive.

Of special interest are the two witness names found in the marriage registry: Alfred Thompson and Pauline Mastbergen, both of Grand Rapids.  Because Pauline and Alfred knew one another, based on this document, it was worth pursuing any information that could be extracted on Alfred.

Was Alfred Goldberg Thompson the Father?

Alfred Goldberg Thompson was born on 17 July 1883 in Coldwater, Michigan.  He died on 11 August 1964 from pneumonia.  He also had skin cancer and had surgery to remove lymph nodes.  Alfred would have been 35 at the time of Lillian’s marriage to Stewart.  The photo Pauline had in her possession was probably taken around this time.

Alfred was Stewart’s older brother.  He worked as a brass finisher for the York instrument company.  He married. Using his obituary I traced his family forward to find a granddaughter living in Byron Center, Kent, Michigan.  Because I did not have her phone number I wrote her a lengthy letter explaining the situation and enclosed a scanned photo of who I believed might be Alfred.

I received a phone call about a week later from the granddaughter who confirmed that the man in the photo was indeed Alfred Goldberg Thompson.  But she failed to respond to any further of my phone calls or letters.

The next step was to prove the theory that Alfred Thompson was Betty’s father using DNA.

Using DNA to Prove Fatherhood

I tested myself with 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and AncestryDNA.  I tested my father and mother with AncestryDNA exclusively because it boasts the largest database.

Because my Thompson contact was no longer responding to my inquiries I brought Stewart’s line forward and found living relation that had already tested with AncestryDNA.  Problem was…they did NOT appear in my DNA matches.  This was the proof I was looking for.  Alfred Goldberg Thompson was not the father of Betty DeYoung.

So why did Pauline carry his photo with her for so many years?  Who knows.  Perhaps she really admired him.  Perhaps he was a former lover.  Or maybe she really truly believed that he was Betty’s father.  I go with the latter reason only  because not many of us carry former boyfriend or girlfriend photos with us for over 50 years!  I choose to believe that Pauline did not know the identity of Betty’s father.

The 1920s were wild times.  If Pauline was anything like her sister Lillian, she had a lot of men.  That’s not being critical, that’s just being a realist.  It is what it is.  Genealogy doesn’t seek to sugarcoat a situation or hide skeletons in the closet.  Rather, genealogy lays it all out there for the whole world to see.  And we all do have skeletons.  None of us are perfect.  And I certainly do not judge my great-grandmother Pauline based on the mistakes she made.  I came into the world when she was in her 60s and she was nothing but the sweetest woman.

Back to the Drawing Board

Since Alfred was proven by DNA not to be Betty’s father, I had nothing further to go on, other than DNA.

I was contacted a short while later by Jodi, one of my DNA matches who tested on both 23andMe and AncestryDNA.  An adoptee she was successful in finding both her biological parents.  Sadly her father wanted nothing to do with her.  It was on her father’s side that we were connected.  We were predicted 4th cousins by Ancestry with just 42 cMs shared across 3 segments of our DNA.  The average cMs shared for 4th cousins is 35 with a range from 0-127, so this is fitting.  Were we the predicted 4th cousins this would mean that Jodi and I would share a 3rd Great Grandparent.

This was meaningful and worth pursuing not only because I had nothing else to go on at this point but also because my possibility of finding Jodi and my common connection was possible.  Jodi had already successfully developed her tree and was more than willing to share with me.  I looked at the people on her father’s side that were 2nd great grandparents.  Why?  Because it was possibly one of these people’s parents that was the common connection.

One name stood out from the others…an Estella Dart.  I had other “Dart” connections on both 23andMe and Ancestry.  I studied Estella’s genealogy.

Jodi’s genealogy: Jodi > father (private) > gf: Louis Gordon Schooley > 1ggf: William H. Schooley > 2ggm: Estella Dart > 3ggf: Freeman Dart > 4ggf: Curtis Dart

Estella was born in 1877 to Freeman and Sarah (nee Porter) Dart.  She was the 2nd of 5 children with two brothers, Charles, born August of 1882, and Clarence (Calvin), born January of 1888.  My great-grandmother Pauline was born in 1900 so either of these two men would be a bit older than she.  I examined Calvin to see where he was in 1920.  He was married with a 3-month old daughter and a 1-year old son.  He operated a mechanic garage located right around the corner from where Pauline was born and raised.  Coincidence?  He was definitely in the right place at the right time.

I brought Calvin’s line forward and found living relation in Rockford, Michigan.  Armed only with an address I wrote a few letters and never received a response.  Because of their obvious disinterest I looked elsewhere.  I then found a couple sisters, one living in Hastings, Michigan, the other in Wyoming, Michigan.  I wrote the Wyoming sister (the youngest).  She responded.  After a lengthy phone conversation we agreed to meet at a local Denny’s.  Both sisters and their husbands came along and I brought my wife.  We exchanged photos.

Calvin Edward Dart 1888-1929

After a bit of conversation one of the sisters mentioned her desire to learn her ethnicity.  I’m always armed in such situations with a DNA kit which I purchase when then go on sale.  So I pulled one out and offered it to her.  She was more than willing and quite eager to take the test.  We left in good company and I was just as anxious as the women to learn the results of the test but for reason of finding out if Calvin Edward Dart was the biological father of my grandmother Betty.

Nearly two months later the tests came in and again were quite conclusive: Calvin Edward Dart was not the biological father.  The sister was my 4th to 6th cousin with a predicted 4th cousin (same as Jodi) with shared 45 cMs across 2 segments.  If Jodi and these sisters were of similar shared DNA this indicated a common connection between the entire lot of us…but further back.  These women were closer to the source.  Their grandfather was Calvin.  The connection then could be Freeman Dart or his father, Curtis.

But if not Calvin or his brother Charles Dart, then who?  Again I was left with no possible candidates.  Until I was contacted by an American living in Germany who was attempting to uncover his and my connection along the “Porter” line.  This investigation led to some remarkable discoveries and the ultimate revelation of my grandmother Betty’s biological father.

This article will be continued as Part 2…

Michigan’s 1894 Census Substitute

Michigan’s 1894 Census Substitute

The 1890 Federal Census was destroyed by a 1921 fire at the United States Commerce Department in Washington D.C.   What was not incinerated was flooded with the water used to extinguish the fire.  A plethora of irreplaceable genealogical information was lost that day.

Fortunately the State of Michigan took an 1894 States Census with much the same information that can be used as an 1890 Federal Census substitute.

There are very few differences between the Censuses. Really the only information lacking on the 1894 Michigan State Census that was found on the 1890 Federal Census is Naturalization information as well as the number of Families found in single dwelling.

The 1894 Michigan Census actually contains more information than its predecessor. What can be significant and useful is the column marked “Children Born to the Family During Census Year”. Not only are the children marked with month of birth but the total number of children born prior to 1894 is enumerated. This is useful when determining if there were any infant deaths that fell between the Censuses that would not be enumerated.

In summary, though the 1921 fire that consumed the 1890 Federal Census was a certain tragedy, rest assured that the 1894 Michigan State Census is a relative substitute with more information given than its forerunner.