Wanna See My DNA Results?

I grew up with the theory that I was of 100% Germanic stock. So far, all the lines of my family tree bear out that theory. Yet, I still thought it would be fun to test my DNA with Ancestry.com. And the results of my ethnicity estimate surprised me:

    (Click on graphic to enlarge.)

My ethnicity estimate from AncestryDNA. AncestryDNA (http://dna.ancestry.com : accessed 2015).

My ethnicity estimate from AncestryDNA. AncestryDNA (http://dna.ancestry.com : accessed 2015).

Of course, the Europe West and Europe East estimates were no surprise. Both areas encompassed Germanic lands. Scandinavia was not expected, but since I have Prussian ancestors that lived in what today comprises Poland and with Sweden and Denmark not exactly lying very far off, a connection there is a viable possibility. The real kickers were Great Britain and Ireland. I mean, Ireland, really? The estimates could be a fluke or a reflection of tribal movements well before we can expect to find any ancestral documentation. Acting on a hunch, though, that this may not be the case, I decided to have my mother tested, or rather, she agreed to have her DNA tested.

Her results were not what I expected. While her majority estimates reflect Germanic heritage, her results also came in with 26% Scandinavian and and 21% British. These percentages are not so easy to dismiss as anomalies.

And so, my quest for my ancestral origins has taken an interesting turn…

Tombstone Tuesday : Sahrah Miksiwe

Sahrah Miksiwe headstone, Bethany Lutheran Indian Cemetery, St. Louis, Michigan.

Sahrah Miksiwe headstone, Bethany Lutheran Indian Cemetery, St. Louis, Michigan.

Sahrah Miksiwe was a Chippewa woman. She is buried at Bethany Lutheran Indian Cemetery along the Pine River near St. Louis, Michigan. The inscription on her small headstone reads:

Sahrah Miksiwe

Mother of the Chippewa

Died 110 Years Old

In Christ

12 April 18[?]

Gen. 49:18

I have waited for Thy

salvation, O Lord. [1]

Reference Notes:

[1] Bethany Lutheran Indian Cemetery (Riverside Drive, St. Louis, Gratiot County, Michigan), Sahrah Miksiwe marker; personally read, 2012. The year of death is partially illegible.

E. R. Baierlein, Anitz Z. Boldt, translator, and Harold W. Moll, editor, In the Wildnerness with the Red Indians (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1996), 143. An appendix to this volume listing the burials at Bethany Lutheran Indian Cemetery transcribes the year of Sahrah Miksiwe’s death as 1859.

Review : Evie Finds Her Family Tree

Evie Finds Her Family Tree by Ashley B. Ransburg

Evie Finds Her Family Tree by Ashley B. Ransburg.

Recently I visited my nephew and niece and together we made family tree posters. A fill-in poster came with the children’s book Evie Finds Her Family Tree by Ashley B. Ransburg (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 2006). The book is a basic introduction to the family tree concept probably best geared towards children ages three to six. With simple words and pictures it describes how each family member is unique, yet they all fit together to make a family.

The family tree poster project was right on target for my niece’s and nephew’s ages, five and seven. Beginning with the child, the tree goes back four generations. For each ancestor there is a space for their photograph and a place to write the ancestor’s name. The project absorbed the kids’ attention and sparked discussion on how different family members were related, the concept of maiden names, and interest in their ancestors’ occupations. It was a fun project for both me and the children. Recommended.

My niece displays her work-in-progress family tree poster.

My niece displays her work-in-progress family tree poster.

Field Trip Friday : Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio

White oak tree, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio; 2015.

White oak tree, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio is the nation’s second largest cemetery as well as being designated a National Historic Landmark. It received its Landmark status for the origination of the cemetery “landscape-lawn” design. Spring Grove was founded in 1845. It is the resting place of many notable Cincinnatians, Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers, and over forty Civil War generals.

Incidentally, I learned about Spring Grove on the Trip Advisor website. It is Cincinnati’s highest rated attraction based on user reviews. Emphasis is definitely placed on the “Arboretum” in its title. Spring Grove is more than a burying ground; it is very much a park for the living. On my recent visit which included my five year-old niece, we observed scores of individuals and families walking, jogging, biking, taking photographs, and checking out the grounds. Nobody seemed to mind my niece and other young children climbing on the bases of large monuments. My niece declared that she had fun. How’s that for a cemetery?

If you happen to visit, be sure to stop in the office near the main entrance. I stopped in to ask for a map, and the staff could not have been nicer. They gave me both a visitors map and self-guided walking tour brochure. They had numerous brochures on topics ranging from the history of Spring Grove, locations of famous burials, and a fall leaf-collecting tour within in the cemetery. Even more, the cemetery hosts numerous free tours, concerts, and other events throughout the year.

Following is a selection of some of the interesting monuments we stumbled across.

This granite Parthenon-inspired temple was built by the Fleishmann family of margarine fame.

Fleischmann temple, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Fleischmann temple, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

A large eagle-bedecked column marks the burial site of Civil War Brigadier General William Haines Lytle. He died at the battle of Chickamauga, September 20, 1863. He was thirty-six years old.

William H. Lytle monument, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

General William H. Lytle monument, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Jesse Root and Hannah (Simpson) Grant, the parents of President Ulysses S. Grant, are among the notable burials at Spring Grove.

Jesse R. & Hannah (Simpson) Grant headstone, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Jesse R. & Hannah (Simpson) Grant headstone, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The oldest burial at Spring Grove is that of Martha Louisa Ernst. She passed away in April 1845.

Martha Louisa Ernst headstone, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Martha Louisa Ernst headstone, Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

[Mappy Monday] : The Second Barn Built in Frankenmuth

Detail, Section 28, Frankenmuth Township 1877 plat. [1]

Detail, Section 28, Frankenmuth Township 1877 plat. [1]

Check out the upper left hand corner of this detail from an 1877 plat map of Frankenmuth Township. It notes the “Second Barn Built in Town” which lies on the north side of Tuscola Road on the Georg Conrad Bernthal property. It’s not often I’ve seen extraneous notes like this on plats, but the mapmaker thought it significant enough to mention. Georg Conrad Bernthal took over the Bernthal homestead from his father Georg Martin Bernthal. The property still bears the Bernthal name today. Pictures of a contemporary barn on the farm were featured in a previous post here.

Reference Notes:

[1] F. W. Beers, Atlas of Saginaw Co. Michigan, From Recent and Actual Surveys and Records Under the Superintendence of F. W. Beers (New York: F. W. Beers & Co., 1877), 81; digital images, Michigan County Histories and Atlases (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/ : accessed 25 February 2014).

Military Monday : 29th Michigan Infantry. Rally, Boys!

29th Michigan Infantry recruitment poster; 1864.

29th Michigan Infantry recruitment broadside; 1864.[1]

This past November Johann Georg Leonhardt Weber (a.k.a. John G. Weber) was featured in a Tombstone Tuesday post on FrankenGen. Through my research, I believe that John G. is the only direct Bernthal descendant to serve in the United States Civil War. The Civil War fascinates me in general, and family involvement interests me particularly. For this reason, I have been scoping out material on John G. Weber’s company and regiment. John G. Weber enlisted in company D, 29th Michigan Infantry on 17 August 1864, two weeks after the date printed on the broadside shown above.[2] Perhaps he answered the call to serve after viewing a similar advertisement.

Reference Notes:

[1] Civil War broadside advertising for enlistment in Michigan’s Twenty-ninth Infantry, with the text “Rally, Boys, Rally for the Flag! And Avoid the Draft,” dated 3 August 1864, Marshall, Michigan; digital image, The Archives of Michigan, Seeking Michigan (http://www.seekingmichigan.org : accessed 8 February 2015).

[2] Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 46 vols. (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1903[?]), 29: 68; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014).

Settling In : Documentary’s Airdates Announced

Airdates for the new documentary Settling In: Immigrants & Cultures That Built Mid-Michigan have been announced. The program premieres on public television station Q-TV (Mid-Michigan) this February 28 at 7pm. It will also air at 8pm on March 5. Unfortunately, there are currently no plans to make the show available in other parts of the state. It will also not be made available online.

Settling In will tell the stories of immigrants to Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region. Among the various groups featured will be the German settlement at Frankenlust. Previews were featured in two previous posts here and here.