Just a quick message that I’m not on a permanent hiatus, just on a temporary break. I took a beating from Covid pneumonia and not planning on doing family research or blogging for awhile. Instead I’m pretty much working (remotely), resting, and cross-stitching.

Stay safe everyone!

Bandstra’s Grocery

Haven’t posted much because recovering from Covid pneumonia, everything is kind of at a stand still right now, so I thought I’d throw in a couple of photos of another grocer in Roseland. We have quite a few grocers in the family on my father’s side!

Bandstra’s Grocery was run by Harry Bandstra, my father confirmed that he was related to my Uncle Ed Bandstra. Uncle Ed was married to my father’s sister, Laverne Ooms, and Harry was his uncle.

Bandstra’s Grocery was at Wentworth Avenue and 106th Street, according to Robert Swierenga in his book “Dutch Chicago: A History of the Hollanders in the Windy City”, and competed with the grocery store of P.E. DeBoer & Son. Here is a fuzzy photo of a delivery car, from a Facebook thread.

Here is a photo in the store, Harry is on the far right —

Harry died in 1951, at the age of 56.

The weird, roundabout way I found out about this and I had always wondered about the connection, is I had a Facebook conversation with someone with the maiden name of Bandstra, and I asked her about her family and it turned out that Harry was her grandfather. And the even weirder thing is she has the married name of a Bandstra cousin of mine. I don’t know if there is a connection there, but probably is seeing as we’re all Dutch and there seem to be a lot of interconnections!

Thanks for reading!

FamilyTreeDNA results

While I was sick with Covid-19, FamilyTreeDNA sent my autosomal and ethnicity results. Now that I’m getting better, I can review it. Let’s start with the ethnicity results —

Between FamilyTreeDNA, Ancestry and 23andme, all have shown a substantial amount in the central European region, i.e., Germany, Netherlands, France, which makes sense because I am very Dutch and German on paper. FamilyTreeDNA is interesting because it shows a much higher percentage from England, Wales and Scotland, and a little higher Scandinavian. The West Slavic/Eastern Europe would be my Polish side. All of them are around the same as to geographical areas where I am from, except Ancestry shows no eastern European. The most interesting thing about this test is Magyar, which I had never heard of (and there’s hardly anything there anyway). Magyar is Hungarian. The only time I’ve seen Hungary come up is through Gedmatch, when it showed what my ancient origins (supposedly) are. My Gedmatch results are from the raw data from 23andme. Gedmatch goes deeper than five generations back.

As for my cousin matches, FamilyTreeDNA is interesting because I notice a lot, lot, lot of Swedish names. For instance, there are a lot of Johannson surnames, Anderson surnames, and when I do a search for Larsdotter, there are about 14 connections to that name. So hopefully it will help me to explore my Swedish side. There were no interesting aha moments with the matches.

The next thing is interesting — my ancient origins. I carry DNA from three ancient European groups:  8% Metal Age Invader; 38% Farmer; and 54% Hunter-Gatherer.

The Metal Age is the Bronze Age (prehistoric); the Farmer is from the Neolithic era (about 12000 years ago)); and the Hunter-Gatherer is from the Mesolithic and Neolitic era (up to 9000 BC). Very interesting!

Thanks for reading!

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!

One year blogiversary!

Happy first anniversary to my blog !!

Yes, I started my blog one year ago today. Even though I don’t have alot of readers, I appreciate those I have and will keep blogging as long as I have things to blog about. Genealogy is really a never-ending hobby, so we’ll see how long this goes!

What do I see in the next year for my blog? Probably more posts on DNA as I am working more and more in the DNA realm. I also plan on posting more photos of family, probably photos from a trip or two to cemeteries, and other goodies.

Speaking of DNA (again), I was trying to figure out a puzzle over the weekend in my DNA results from 23andme. For every match, you can click on the ‘relatives in common’ feature and it will show relatives in common with that match and you. Since my father recently took a DNA test through 23andme, it segregates if my matches are from his side or my mother’s side, I love that feature. Anyway, lately, I have been finding some cousin matches to both my father and my mother.

For example, I was looking at the profile of a third cousin of mine on my father’s side. The strange thing I first noticed is he has a variation of my mother’s haplogroup. I’ll have to dive into that at some point, but I clicked on the relatives in common feature. The matches come up in order of closeness, so the first two were my father and daughter, that makes sense. The third match was a first cousin on my father’s side, that also makes sense. That’s when it got really weird, the fourth and fifth matches were a first cousin once removed and a second cousin on my MOTHER’s side, who are also fourth and fifth cousins to Jim. This also happened to three other matches.

So this most likely means there are multiple ways we are related. It’s possible it could be the result (without doing extensive research) of the two Ton brothers I mentioned in a long ago post. Two brothers married into the two lines of my family: Jacob married into my mother’s side of the family, and his brother, Cornelis, married into my father’s side of the family. I won’t know until I figure it out. I started to work on it but I think I may need a big whiteboard or something to plot this out and make sense of it!

Thanks for reading!

Nerd work odds and ends

A huge happy birthday to my mother! Happy Birthday Mom!!!

During the New Year’s Day weekend with three glorious days off, I spent some time doing what I call “nerd work”. Working on my genealogy of course, and entering information into a new database I found some information on, Genome Mate Pro.

I’m in a couple of genealogy groups on Facebook and someone suggested this database, sometimes those genealogists are very clever and have great ideas! Since I am waiting for DNA results from a third company (but this time mtdna, not autosomal), I was trying to think of a way to keep track of all of my DNA cousin matches in one place. I’m really horrible at spreadsheets so that kicks out Excel, plus I want to not have to do all of the work and wanted to have a way to import those matches from each company into something. Hence, Genome Mate Pro.  This data management program stores information on relatives and their associated autosomal DNA data. I was a little overwhelmed when I first started looking at it, because the learning curve is very steep, but the creator (Becky Mason Walker thank you!) of the database recorded short 5-6 minute videos so I was able to basically muddle my way through it that way and import all of the DNA matches I have so far. The only thing now that I have to do is to identify who everyone is and where they go, i.e., paternal or maternal side, which ancestor, etc. That is a huge amount of work but alot less than I wanted so that’s good.

I’m still trying to master the DNA thing, and have a great book for it, but am having trouble just mastering the book:

Fortunately, there is a very nice person in one of the FB groups that has volunteered at low cost to give ten weekly zoom “lessons” starting in February to a bunch of us. It’s really perfect timing for me since about that time I should be getting my mtdna results back from FamilyTreeDNA. I definitely need as much help with it as I can to completely understand genetic genealogy.

Thanks for reading!

Simon and Lena (Kros) Ooms

My oldest daughter has been asking for me to post photos of the family, so today I am posting some of my paternal grandparents, Simon and Lena (Kros) Ooms.

This photo was taken in May 1919 when they were on a trip with friends in Miller, Indiana, four years before they were married. Not a very clear photo, but the photo is not a close up.

This is a photo of my grandmother also from 1919, she looks so happy here. If anyone looks like her, it’s definitely me, and the resemblance is really uncanny. I have her eyes, her nose, her cheeks, her smile. One time when I was younger, someone told me I looked like Maggie Gyllenhaal.

I won’t post a photo of myself here, but I think she looks like my grandmother so I can see why someone would say that if I look like my grandmother. It’s so interesting what we inherit from our ancestors!

Here is a photo of their marriage certificate from June 20, 1923. And I know I’ve posted their wedding photo before, but I absolutely love that photo so I’m posting it again:

They had three children during their marriage: Laverne Johanna, James Wesley (“Wes”), and my dad, Simon John (“Si” or “Skip”).

Here’s a nice one, a little fuzzy, and was taken probably about 1951 (thanks Dad!), they look pretty stylish there. Grandma you look awesome, but smile Gramps!

Here’s my last photo of them, there’s no date on this photo but it was probably when they still lived in Roseland.

I barely remember their house in Roseland because I was so young — I can remember only part of the living room and kitchen, a red chair, a wooden puzzle I used to play with, and the smell of coffee. It always smelled so good!

I remember more when they moved to to their trailer in Dolton. I was 12 when Grandma died in 1977 (at the age of 73), I remember her mostly being bedridden for many years and bent up terribly and in pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Grandpa died in 1989 at the age of 89, but years before when we would visit him in Dolton, every visit he would serve us Pepperidge Farm’s classic coconut cake. It’s funny what you remember as a kid about your grandparents.

Thanks for reading!

Ooms Grocer Connection Part Two

Happy New Year!! Peace to all and that we may have a better 2021!!

I was on the Roseland Facebook thread last week, researching connections to cousins with the surname Hoekstra. I have to work more on that, but our Ooms connection to the other Ooms grocer in Roseland popped up again. In June, I wrote a blog post about two Ooms Roseland grocers and their connection: Adam Ooms, grocer, who is my great-grandfather, and Richard Ooms, another grocer.

To refresh, back some years family said the two were not related. My blog post was about how my paper trail showed different and they are related through a common ancestor couple, Jan (Cornelis) Ooms and Neeltje Baas, who are my fourth great grandparents on my father’s side. To make it easier to visualize, here is the schematic I posted then showing their cousin connection:

The reason I’m bringing this up again is to show the power of DNA and how “genetic genealogy” is really the future of genealogy.

A paper trail is excellent but to answer any doubt or question that ever comes up about it, I wanted to find DNA matches to back up my paper trail. To help me, I had my paper family tree and a paper family tree from my “cousin” friend who has been helping me on that side.

So I started looking at Ancestry and found someone who is a DNA match to me at the fifth cousin level. That match is the only one on Ancestry that is from the Richard Ooms side, but is a person who was adopted out of the family as an infant. Well, I decided to let that be and to go look at 23andme to see if I could find any DNA matches there. And sure enough, I was able to find a cousin DNA match to me at the same level, who is listed on the other paper family tree and is a great-grandson of Richard Ooms. All of the information he lists on his 23andme account corroborates with the information on the Richard Ooms paper family tree, and he has quite a few relatives in common, so I can explore that line further.

DNA doesn’t lie, and solidly answers the question (again) that yes, the two sides are in fact connected and Adam Ooms, grocer, is related to Richard Ooms, grocer.

Thanks for reading!!

Scandinavian DNA

I worked on my father’s lines for awhile last week, in the search for Scandinavian ancestors. Denmark, Norway and Sweden are part of Scandinavia. From my father I have inherited 4.9% (he has 12.5%) and from my mother, 2.8% of Scandinavian DNA. The reason I worked on my father’s lines is because most of my paper family tree on his side is complete going back a couple of hundred years, so I thought it would be easier to confirm or rule out.

One of the things that 23andme does is assign a time frame for DNA. It states that my Scandinavian ancestor is most likely my great-grandparent, second great-grandparent, or third great-grandparent who was 100% Scandinavian and born between 1810 and 1870. My father’s report says the same thing but from 1820 to 1870.

I did make a lot of headway in finding some additional ancestors and was able to complete my father’s entire family going back to my fifth great-grandparent level, yay!!!! When I say complete, I mean names, I just still have to record a lot of the important dates into my software program for a lot of the fifth great-grandparents. But yay!!!!

Anyway, my father is mostly Dutch (Germanic French as it is called). As I’ve mentioned before, the Netherlands has excellent records going back centuries, so it is very easy to confirm/verify where an ancestor was born, married and died in the Netherlands. I was able to confirm that every single ancestor of my father’s in that time frame was born in the Netherlands (32 ancestors). There is absolutely no one from a Scandinavian country during that time frame. It’s possible there is one full Scandinavian ancestor in previous generations but it may be difficult to confirm that the further I go. I still have to go through those 64 ancestors, but I already know a lot were born in the Netherlands.

So I started reading more about Scandinavian DNA/DNA testing, wondering if any DNA in the Netherlands could be coming up as Scandinavian DNA.

As a reminder, DNA ancestry tests work by comparing the subject’s DNA with the DNA of individuals who are assumed to be able to stand in for reference populations. When long segments match, they can be assumed to be IBD (identical by descent). It doesn’t really tell you where the segment originates. Since the primary customer base of the commercial testing sites (Ancestry, 23andMe, etc.) are Americans of mixed ancestry, heavily concentrated with European ancestors, the companies are content to use large geographic areas as their reference populations: Britain and Ireland, France and Germany, South Asia, etc.).

I read that Scandinavian DNA is most commonly found in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, of course, but, interestingly, it is also found in Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Baltic States, and Finland. Specific to the Netherlands, between the 9th and 11th centuries, the Vikings raided and settled in that area. Around the year 879, Friesland, which is part of the Netherlands, fell quickly under the control of the Vikings. The heavy Norse presence is evidenced in the high percentage of Scandinavian DNA in the northern area of the Netherlands there, as well as Zeeland and the province of Holland. This came from the MyHeritage website, citing Britannica’s “History of the Low Countries”.

Friesland is in the very northern area of the Netherlands. The Verkruissen line, my father’s mother’s family, are all from Friesland, going back to the 1700s, beginning with my great-grandmother, Jacoba Verkruissen. I have read that if the Scandinavian DNA is over 20%, that large of an amount probably would indicate a more recent ancestor. However, being a smaller amount, it is probably an inheritance of small amounts from different ancestors.

So perhaps the Scandinavian DNA comes from that line because of the location, and maybe it is an inheritance from the great-grandparents and great-great grandparents?

Of course, we have to always remember that it’s all an estimate, and the ancestry companies interpret this information from comparing the subject’s DNA with the DNA of individuals who are assumed to be able to stand in for reference populations. So we can’t really completely rely on it unfortunately. But as the testing companies become more advanced at it, it will become more exact. I’m not sure when that will be but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Until it’s all figured out one day, here’s one interesting article on Dutch DNA: https://dutchreview.com/culture/dutchness/are-the-dutch-actually-dutch/.

Believe it or not, I’m not nearly done with DNA testing although I’ve tested at two different companies. This time I’m not doing autosomal testing, which is what most do, but mtdna testing, testing specifically the matrilineal line, my mother’s line. Every woman passes down her mitochondrial DNA to her children, but only females continue to pass that down. It’s like y-dna for males. More about that in a future post!

Thanks for reading!