30 April 2022

Dyers in the News: For Sale-Two Heifers

Source: "For Sale- Live Stock," Want ad, Daily Telegram (Adrian, Michigan), 21 January 1911; page 7, column 2, Sale of two heifers by William Dyer; online images, Genealogy Bank (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 10 March 2015), Historical Newspapers.

Transcription: FOR SALE -Two heifers, one 11 months old and one 14 months old. William Dyer, half mile east Raisin Valley seminary. 1-19-3

Why would the above want ad be important for family history researchers? It is just a want ad for two heifers, no big deal, right? It was a big deal to me!

It wasn't so much that he was selling heifers. I am sure farmers sell a lot of livestock. It was where he was selling the heifers-half mile east of Raisin Valley seminary. One might assume that was William's farm, but I have made assumptions in the past only to find out I was wrong. 

The above want ad led me to land record research in Lenawee County, Michigan and yes, this was the farm that William was living on at the time in 1911. 

William B. Dyer left the farm by 1920 when he was living in Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. William's death certificate stated that he had valvular heart disease for many years. William died 16 March 1922 in Adrian, Michigan.

Williaml B. Dyer is the son of William G. Dyer and Mary Ann Swallow, my third great grandparents. William B. is the sister of my second great grandmother Adeline L. Dyer Glover (1838-1917).

This want ad helped me to find William in the years between the census's. Don't overlook small details like a want ad in your research. You will be surprised what you can find.

27 April 2022

The Last Will and Testament of Kasper Graff

Kasper Graff is Johan Caspar Graf, my maternal, second great grandfather, of Miami County, Indiana, United States. He lived from 1827 to 1869.  He was married to Mary (possibly Wrightweasner), but is not listed by name in his will. Caspar and Mary had eight children, all of whom are listed in his will.

The witnesses to Caspar's will were John Bernhart and Jonas Stepler. I'm not sure who John Bernhart was, there were many John Bernhart's in the 1870 Census, one year after the signing of Caspar's will, but none in Miami county. Jonas Stepler, age 25, was a neighbor of Caspar and Mary Graf.

Source: Will Records, Circuit Court, Miami County, Indiana, 1889-1925; Author: Indiana. Circuit Court (Miami County); Probate Place: Miami, Indiana. Will Records, Court of Common Pleas, and Circuit Court, Vol 1, 1853-1876 pages 389 and 390. Found at Ancestry.com. Indiana, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.


Kasper Graff’s Will

On the name of the Benevolent father of all I Kasper Graf of Miami County In the state of Indiana do make and publish this my last will and testament

1st I give and devise to my beloved wife in lieu of her interest in my lands the farm on which we now reside in the county of Indiana and state of Indiana. Containing about forty 40 acres during her natural life, all the stock and household goods furniture provisions and other goods and chattles (sic) which may be thereon at the time of my decease during her natural life as aforesaid, she however selling so much thereof as may be sufficient to pay my just debts, and also to sell out of my personal to the amount of Fifty Dollars which I give and bequeath to my son Jacob Graf in lieu of his share hereafter mentioned.

On the death of my said wife the real and personal Estate aforesaid to give and devise to my Eight children to be equally divided between them all, them and their heirs forever I do hereby nominate and appoint my beloved wife Guardian of all of my children, Jacob Graf, Caroline Graf Philbenia Graf Philip Graf Henry Graf George Graf Valentine Graf and Elizabeth Graf until they each arrive at the age of twenty one years or intermarry but in case my wife should again marry her Guardianship of said children shall cease and determine upon her intermarriage

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 25th day of March in the year 1869.


Kasper x Graf


Signed and acknowledged

By said Kasper Graf as his

Last will and testament

In our presence and by

Us in his presence

   John Bernhart

   Jonas Stepler



State of Indiana

Miami County

Be it remembered that on the 12th day of April 1869, John Bernhart one of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing last will and testament of Kasper Graf late of said County deceased personally appeared before John A. Graham clerk of the court of common Pleas of Miami County in the state of Indiana being duly sworn by the clerk of said court upon his oath declared and testified as follows that is to say that on the 25th day of March 1869 he saw the said Kasper Graf sign his name to said instrument in writing and for his last will testament and that thi deponent at the same time heard the said Kasper Graf declare the said instrument in writing to be his last will and testament and that the said instrument in writing was at the request of of the said Kasper Graf and with his consent alerted and subscribed by the said John Bernhart and Jonas Stepler in the presence of said testator and in the presence of each other as subscribing witnesses there to and that the said Kasper Graf was at the time of the signing and subscribing of the said Instrument in writing of full age that is more than twenty one years of age and of sound and imposing mind and memory and not under any coercion or restraint as said informent verily believes and further informent says not

                                                                                                     John Bernhart

Sworn to and subscribed by the John Bernhart before me John A. Graham clerk of said court at Peru, the 12th day of April 1869

                  (seal)                                  In attestation whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed                                                                             the seal of said court

                                                                                                   Jno. A. Graham Clerk

State of Indiana

Miami county

                                                                        John A Graham clerk of the court of common Pleas of Miami county Indiana do hereby certify that the within (annesced) last will and testament of Kasper Graf has been admitted to Probate and duly proved by the testimony of John Bernhart one of the subscribing witnesses there to that a complete copy record of said will and the testimony of the said John Bernhart in proof thereof has been by me duly read and recorded in Book No 1 at pages 389 & 390 of the Record of Wills of said County. In attestation whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed the seal of said Court at Peru this 13th day of April 1869                             Jno A Graham Clerk CC P. Ind

25 April 2022

WWI Draft Registration of Albert Guhse


Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Entry for Albert August Guhse.

Albert August Guhse, the son of August Guhse and Ottilie Fredrich, is my first cousin, twice removed. He was living in Ludington, Michigan at the time of his WWI registration.

Some of the facts about Albert Guhse includes being a plumber for the Ludington Plumber Company, being a Private in the Infantry of the Michigan National Guard, and he was blind in his right eye.

24 April 2022

Leslie Kaskinen Obituary

Leslie J. Kaskinen,  86, of Bellaire, passed away on February 19, 2021 at Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin, TX.

He was born on May 19, 1934, in Manistee, MI, the son of John and Saimi (Hagelberg) Kaskinen.

Les was raised in Kaleva, MI and went on to serve in the Army National Guard in the late 50’s.   

His life revolved around his family and work.   He owned and operated Leslie Leasing in Bellaire for many years as well as multiple other companies from Bellaire to Kaleva and in between. He held memberships at  Bethany Lutheran Church in Kaleva, Hope Lutheran Church in Bellaire, Lions Club in both Kaleva and Bellaire as well as the Chevrolet Dealer Counsel.    He and Jean loved to travel and covered most of the world in their 64 years of marriage.

On March 3, 1956, in Onekama, MI, he married Norma “Jean” Fredericks who survives.

Also surviving are 2 children, Rhonda (Lloyd) Williams of Hemphill, TX, Brent Kaskinen of Bellaire, a brother Arlie (Doris) Kaskinen of Bear Lake, MI, 2 step-grandchildren, Justin (Sandy) Williams of AL, Alex Williams of AL, and a step-great-great grandson Lonnie Williams.

He was preceded in death by a son Mark Leslie Kaskinen, a sister Ila Wuorinen, Brother Norman Kaskinen and his parents.

Visitation will be on Monday, March 1, 2021 from 5-7 p.m. at the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.

Funeral services will be private at the Hope Lutheran Church in Bellaire with Pastor Wade Seaver officiating.

Burial will take place later in the spring when weather permits at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kaleva.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Hope Lutheran Church, PO BOX 160, Bellaire, MI,  49615.

Arrangements are being handled by the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.

Online guestbook www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com.

The above obituary is for my Uncle Les. He was married to the youngest sister, Norma "Jeannie" of my mother. He split his time between Central Lake, Michigan and Texas, where his daughter, Rhonda, lived. He became ill in the Winter of 2021 and never recovered. Rest in Peace, Uncle Les.

23 April 2022

My Dad's Exemplary Sportsmanship Example

I mentioned before how I enjoyed hearing stories from my dad's athletes. My dad was a coach for 50 years, having coached in Brethren, Kingsley, Deckerville, Harbor Beach and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Denton, Texas. He loved sports and he loved coaching. I wrote about how he was drawn to coaching at Fort McClellan, previously.

One of my dad's athletes shared the news article below about a track meet held in Unionville, Michigan. The article is from a 19 May 1955 newspaper.

The article was about a Northern Thumb C Conference track meet. Originally, the Conference title went to Deckerville, my dad's team, but dad was one who kept his own scores, and asked for a retabulation of the scores. This recheck showed that Deckerville was given a sixth place that they hadn't earned. The winner was Unionville.

These comments were posted on a Deckerville Facebook page. I enjoyed reading the comments. The poster, one of dad's athletes wrote, "Our Coach Glover... ETHICS and Character above winning! What a Class Act. (He also got results) and "He was confidently Quiet! On reflection, I can’t remember him raise his voice. He made us listen by being quiet!"

Another post said, "My husband, Harleigh Class of ‘54, spoke often of Coach Glover. He sat the bar high for his players. Integrity and good sportsmanship was his goal. This is just one reason sports play such an important part in a good education."

Other comments included, "he was a great man" and "I was lucky to have known him".

My dad lived his life like this. He was a Class Act! He was honest, sincere, and he displayed those traits in his everyday life. He did the right thing in life and this article displays the father I knew.


21 April 2022

Western State Teacher's College, Kalamazoo, Michigan Census

April 1, 2022 was a day that genealogists had waited ten years for. It was the day the 1950 United States Federal Census was released. I was one of those genealogists. I had my enumeration districts ready for the people I wanted to find. My dad was on the list. I checked for him thinking he would be recorded living with his parents in Hazel Park, Oakland, Michigan. He wasn't there. Was he in college? I knew he graduated in June 1950. It was time to read the enumerator's instructions for college students in this census.

The instructions stated, "College students were to be enumerated where they lived while attending school, rather than where their homes were located."  Off to Kalamazoo I go. My dad attended Western State Teacher's College, as it was known in the census, and now known as Western Michigan University. In 1950, the majority of the campus was on Oakland Drive.

Finding the enumeration district for the college wasn't too hard. I started out using Steve Morse's guide and was searching Oakland Drive at the college. I wasn't finding what I wanted and for some reason I scrolled down to the "W" and found Western State Teacher's College as a separate street option. Bingo! ED 89-40 was what I needed or so I thought. 

Vandercook Hall is number 12 on the map, on Oakland Drive, overlooking the football field.

I knew my father lived in Vandercook Hall, on campus, because he told a graduation day story about being in bed at Vandercook Hall and hearing the band playing out his dorm room window. He almost missed graduation. Graduation was held on the football field.

You can see number 40 is for Western State Teachers College, but my dad lived in Vandercook Hall which is in 89-41. I was glad I could use the enumeration district maps to discover this. Vandercook Hall is the "I" shaped building to the right of the athletic field.

Now, I was ready to look for his entry. Bruce Glover is enumerated on page 3, line 20. I didn't learn anything new from this entry, but it was fun finding him. 

20 April 2022

Where in the World is Susanna Koenig Fredrich?







4 Jan 1810

Wolfhals, Preussen



26 Dec 1828

to Christoph Fredrich in Glinke, Preussen




Daughter, Justine, in Gorzyn, Posen, Prussia




Son, J. August Fredrich in Gorzyn, Posen, Prussia



21 Oct 1872

Through Quebec, Canada to Manistee, Michigan




Manistee, Manistee, Michigan, United States




Manistee, Manistee, Michigan, United States



4 Nov 1906

Manistee, Manistee, Michigan, United States


Where in the 

If you would like sources for the facts, please leave a comment or email me at brae957@gmail.com

12 April 2022

Using the Library of Michigan in Your Genealogy Research

Have you heard that the Library of Michigan has updated their website? I can hear the groans now, but you have to check the website out, you won't be disappointed. I love websites that puts the information most used front and center. The Library of Michigan's website does that.

Answer Catalog at the Library of Michigan

Scroll down under the beautiful picture of the library and you will find the Answer Catalog. This is the collection catalog for the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan and other libraries (Law library, Michigan State University libraries, Government Documents, Map Library and more). Some of these libraries are located offsite from the Library of Michigan. If visiting, make note of which library holds the resource you are looking for.

The Answer Catalog has not changed its look. I entered Calhoun County, Michigan in the keyword search and found 580 results. I am sure there is something for every Calhoun County genealogist. The drop-down menu shows the libraries that use the Answer Catalog. You can search by Entire Catalog or specify which library you would like to search. The Library of Michigan has its own search feature as does the Archives of Michigan.

Under the Answer Catalog section of the home page a few items are highlighted: Library Card, Family History Databases, and Programs.

Online Resources and Databases at the Library of Michigan

The Family History Databases section has information on what is available at the Library of Michigan. Researchers can find county histories, newspapers, vital records, cemetery transcripts, maps, and county guides.

Links to online databases for Library of Michigan library card holders includes African American Biographical Database, Ancestry, Newsbank, Alexander Street, Pro Quest, Fold 3, Michigan History Magazine, My Heritage, and Newspaper Archive. 

Michigan Residents Get Free Library of Michigan Library Card

A free library card is offered to all Michigan residents. Information on who can receive a library card is on their website

Contact information, hours of operations, and quick links completes the home page. All in all, I think the updated website is an improvement. I found the white background, black text, and green hyperlinks easy to see and read. If you have Michigan ancestors this website is a must for researchers. Happy Hunting!

04 April 2022

School Days, School Days, Dear Old New England Rule Days

Vector illustration from "Ethels Keepsake" circa 1888 - archive.org. in the public domain

School days, school days

Dear old golden rule days

Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic

Taught to the tune of the hickory stick 

Lyrics written by Will B. Cobb (1907)  

Have you ever wondered what school was like for your ancestors? Were they home schooled, church schooled, public schooled? Was it mandatory for children to even attend school? What age could they drop out of school? Was school free? All these questions and more enter my mind when I am looking at school records in my research.

 Colonial Education

Students who did receive any schooling were mostly males during colonial times. Reading and writing was taught mostly to males. The thought at the time was that females only needed to read the Bible. This explains why many colonial women used an x for their signature. I wonder if they even knew what they were signing.



Nick Allen, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons accessed 2 April 2022.


The New England colonies opened the first schools in the 1600's. Boston Latin School was the first public school, founded in 1635. All New England colonies required their towns to set up schools.

Laws Pertaining to Colonial America and Education

In 1642, the Massachusetts Bay Colony made schooling compulsory. Parents were expected to teach their children and servants to read. In 1647, the Massachusetts Bay General Court passed an act compelling every town of fifty householders to appoint a teacher for all their children, and further required a grammar school for every town of one hundred families or more.1The laws of 1658 advised each town to consider the matter of getting a schoolmaster. In 1677, the General Court ordered that each town with fifty families or more have a grammar school.Grammar schools were the precursor to today's high schools. Connecticut, New Haven, and Plymouth adopted the same system. Rhode Island was the only colony not adopting these laws. Massachusetts was the first colony to have a college, Harvard College, in 1635.  Harvard was originally formed as a missionary college. It wasn't until the 1700's that boys AND girls attended schools together. It was usually a one room schoolhouse with one teacher. 

How does this help with my genealogy research?

Knowing this information can help in one's research. My school records research starts in the late 1700's and early 1800's. I found school records in the Family Search collection: Shoreham Town Records and Associated Material 1783-1964  I created a table to help keep my Fenn family organized. This is the information I found. I did find records for 1831, 1832, and 1833 but formatting options limited the years I could post on this blog. The highlighted portions are the ages when children would be expected to attend school. 

Daniel Fenn (1787-1836) Children and Ages

Shoreham VT School Records



Birth Year







# in School








Orlo H Fenn








Tully C. P. Fenn








Martha Fenn








Orpha Ann Fenn








Daniel C Fenn








Betsy Meurisa Fenn (m. 1833)








Abel Fenn








Aminda Fenn








Female Fenn








Another record I found was recorded by families and there weren't any individual children named.

A list of the scholars residing in school district number 4 in the town of Shoreham on the first day of March 1818

John Larrabee8

Elijah Rowley6

Ransom Cummings3

Augustus Hanks4

George Cutting3

Timothy Larrabee4

Calvin Stewart 1

Harlet Thorn 5

Daniel Fenn 3

Reuben Bisbee 3

James Baker 6

Job Bodwell 1


Calvin Stuart district clerk

The father's name is listed with the number of children attending school.

One might not think these records too helpful. It helped me because I was able to identify family members that would lead to further research. Sometimes researching siblings will provide you with the information you need.

In the second example, one can see who attended school with the children. Did your ancestor marry a classmate? The Larrabee, Rowley, and Fenn families were tied together through marriages. 

The further I get into researching my ancestors the more I look for unique records, like school records. I especially like the ones that list the children and father's name.



The Expansion of New England . Spread of New England Settlement and institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620-1865, Lori Kimball Mathews. 1936. Reprinted by New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012