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!

Hans Herr

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been researching my Dorwart line (maternal side). I am working on verifying that I am connected to a man named Hans Herr, this guy here. So far my research is correct, plus I certainly have a lot of DNA matches with his line.

His birth name was Hans Prefiot and he was born in Zurich, Switzerland on September 17, 1639. He became a bishop in the Swiss Brethren (later known as the Mennonites), and was the very first Mennonite bishop to emigrate to America. Because of religious persecution in Switzerland, and then later when he moved to Germany, he and others bought 10,000 acres of land, and colonized a portion of the western frontier of Pennsylvania, which is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Eventually they told their families and others that they should come and join them.

He married and had a number of children. There is a question about who his wife really was, and I will be reading about that during my research. How I am connected is through John Dorwart, the son of Martin and Maria (Spitzfadden) Dorwart, my maternal fifth great grandparents. I am not directly related to him as John’s brother George is my connection. But John married into the Herr family. Here’s a schematic to make it easier:

I’ve also seen some Nixdorfs thrown in his family history, so it’s very possible there is a connection through that line of mine.

In 1719, Rev. Herr’s son, Christian, built a stone house that is now known as the Herr House. It is the oldest surviving house in Lancaster County. According to the Herr House Museum’s website, it is also the oldest original Mennonite meeting house still standing in the western hemisphere, as it was also used to serve as a place for worship services. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here’s one of the inside:

Rev. Herr died on October 11, 1725 in West Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania at the age of 86.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday’s Child — Sarah Dorwart

Sarah Dorwart was one of George and Sarah (Nixdorf) Dorwart’s daughters, they are my maternal great-great-great grandparents. Sarah died from a boiler explosion while she was working at the Fulton Cotton Mill in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on July 13, 1867. She didn’t die right away, but eventually died from her injuries.

This is so sad. Sarah was only 15 years old. There was also an 11 year old killed. He was working because his father was unable to work.

Yes, the days before child labor laws, when children went to work to keep the family afloat and were killed on the job. Very sad.

Thanks for reading!

Martin Dorwart

I was starting to go batty with the East Galway/Irish genetic genealogy search and had to completely take my mind off of that and focus on other genealogical things. I know there are connections to that area, but the connections are most likely so far back and will take so much time to figure out, I just don’t want to focus on that right now. Instead, I began to work on the Dorwart side of my family, who are from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This has been easier because of records on Ancestry and Family Search websites. Today I will focus on Martin Dorwart.

Martin Dorwart was born in 1735 (supposedly in Alsace, France), to Martin and Elizabeth Dorwart, and is my maternal fifth great grandfather!  I am fortunate that I was able to verify my connection to him through my DNA matches and then records. His great-great grandson is Charles Conner, who married Anna Schadel, I’ve mentioned them before. Alsace is in northeastern France and borders Germany and Switzerland. It’s so close to the border that it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries.

Here is a current photo of Alsace, pretty!

According to records from the Latter Day Saints, Martin emigrated to America and landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the ship Banister in October 1754, and took the oath of allegiance in the State House of Philadelphia the same day he landed. At some point he settled in Lancaster. Lancaster is one of the oldest inland cities in our country and is 71 miles west of Philadelphia. German immigrants first settled the area, when it was known as “Hickory Town”. The city took the name of Lancaster and symbol, the red rose, from Lancashire, England. It was the capital of the US for a day in 1777, and during the Revolutionary War, was home to military stables and barracks where British and Hessian soldiers were imprisoned.

According to records from the First Reformed Church of Lancaster and the Latter Day Saints, Martin’s occupation was a shoemaker. He first married Elizabeth Grim on May 21, 1759, and they had one child, John Martin, born in 1765. After she died in 1771, Martin married Maria Joanetta Spitzfaden on April 30, 1768. They had nine children: Martin, born 1769/1770; Jonas, born 1771; Johannes (John), born 1772; Adam, born 1775; George, born 1781; Jacob, born 1783; Philip, born 1786; and Michael, born 1789. Not one girl in the bunch!!!

At some point, Martin joined the Revolutionary War. He is listed as a private in the 4th Company, 8th Battalion in Capt. William Wirtz’s Company during 1781. I have visions of the movie The Patriot, hahaha.

His name is incorrectly spelled as Darewart. On the Ancestry website, Dorwart is said to be a German occupational name which means doorkeeper, or gatekeeper. I have seen a resource that states his father is from Baden, Germany and the name is Dorwarth, so maybe Martin was actually born in Germany. I did see a short biography of his grandson, and it is mentioned that Martin is of German descent.

Martin died on May 2, 1797 at the age of 62. According to his will, he lived on Prince Street in Lancaster, and left behind his wife and eight sons.

One source says Martin is buried in the Lancaster Cemetery. According to Find a Grave, 42% of the tombstones have been photographed – there are 160 graves in the name of Dorwart alone. However, on the webpage for Revolutionary War Patriot Graves for the Sons of the American Revolution Pennsylvania Society, he is listed as buried in the 1st Reformed Church of Lancaster cemetery plot, which would be in here:

Dorwart seems to be a common name in Lancaster. There are two streets named Dorwart – Old Dorwart and New Dorwart, and they are, coincidentally, not far from Prince Street (an area known as “Cabbage Hill”), named in the 1880s I believe. There is also a park named after a recently deceased Dorwart. I’m hoping to find if my Martin or anyone in the family line is connected to these Dorwart-named places, odds are there is probably a connection.

Thanks for reading!!

Genetic Genealogy — East Galway, Ireland

I received an interesting email the other day. Where I’m normally contacting people who are my DNA matches in my never ending quest, I was contacted by someone who is a DNA match of mine. I’ve submitted DNA to two companies, 23andme and Ancestry. One day a couple of months ago I was experimenting and uploaded the raw data from 23and me to a website called “Gedmatch”. I didn’t know much about it except it is another company that specializes in finding close and distant relatives using DNA.

When I looked at the information that came up, I was completely confused. It brings up a list of people who match your DNA, their chromosome segments, numbers that didn’t make sense, and a whole lot of other information I absolutely did not understand. I thought I would let it sit and then another day get back into trying to understand what is a new kind of research for me.

So, like, I said, someone emailed me to say that he and I matched on Gedmatch and we have an ancestor from East Galway, Ireland and would I like to join the East Galway group? This is like if I asked someone to join a Facebook group I made for cousins, it just puts you in a group – it doesn’t have all of your secret important information. The reason I wanted to do this was because I would like to know who the heck that ancestor is that is from Ireland. Is it the elusive Martha Carr who nobody knows anything about other than that she died very young and supposedly wasn’t accepted into her husband’s German community at first because she was Irish? My curiosity got the better of me to try to solve this problem.


DNA results from both 23andme and Ancestry definitely show I have Irish ancestry, most likely from someone from the years 1810 through 1870. In addition, my daughter’s DNA results on 23andme get more specific and show “potential” locations in Ireland where her Irish DNA is, and sure enough, East Galway is on that list. I started reading about Gedmatch to try to understand everything about DNA and chromosomes and how to find a common ancestor through that type of research.

The interesting thing about Gedmatch is it can show you and your matches in a graphical representation of every single chromosome, like this:

This tool actually proves a relation to someone, where with 23andme and Ancestry, you assume you are related to someone on their match lists. When I look at my DNA match’s information, it shows this:

What does all this gibberish mean?  The numbers 11 and 19 are the chromosome numbers, we match on chromosomes 11 and 19. The long numbers next to them are the centimorgan numbers (cM), where on the chromosome the matching DNA is — a measure of genetic linkage. The 10.4 and 8.6 are how large the segment is, larger segments totaling over 7 cm mean that more likely my DNA match and I share a common ancestor. Anything lower than 7cm is usually questionable. The 4.8 is the MRCA — which is an abbreviation for “most recent common ancestor”. It’s the estimated number of jumps to our most common ancestor — it would be the ancestor from which my match and I received common DNA segments. I’m supposed to round up, so we’re looking at 5 jumps – which would be a great-great-great grandparent. Unfortunately, there is no way to figure out if it is on a maternal or paternal line.   

Here is a photo of chromosome 11. More than one segment matches mean that a DNA match is closer related, whereas only one segment match means that person is more distant, so since we have two segments, one on two chromosomes, we will be closer than further.

And this little blue section is exactly on chromosome 11 where we share our DNA:

I found another cousin match to someone in the Galway project, and he is also a match of mine on my Ancestry list. I haven’t figured out our connection, except Gedmatch shows that there are 7 jumps to our common ancestor, so we would be probably something like sixth cousins. Since then, two more cousin matches have popped up but the problem is I don’t know the common ancestor to them either. A lot of work to do!

Now because I have done so much extensive work and know where the bulk of my direct ancestors come from, I can deduce probably where to look. All of my father’s ancestors came from the Netherlands; most of my mother’s ancestors came from the Netherlands and Germany, but there are three lines that are puzzles on her side. The common ancestor should be located in one of those lines: (1) Charles Conner, (2) Anna (Schadel) Conner, or (3) Martha (Carr) Shoudel. For Charles, I already know both of his parents’ family going back quite far lived in Pennsylvania, although I believe his ancestors further back probably come from Ireland as Conner is a very Irish name, there could be a Galway connection there. For Anna, she reported herself as coming from Germany in her 1900 census record but there are still issues with her. For example, even though I have two confirming maiden names in records for her, her maiden name in her 1893 marriage record from Chicago is listed as Cowrost. I can’t completely rule her out yet.

Then there is Martha. Now given the fact she was born around 1850, and family rumors say there were issues with her acceptance into her husband’s German community because she was Irish, perhaps she came from Ireland with her family? She reported on a census that she was born in Ohio — but I have seen another ancestor report that she was born in Wisconsin when actually she brought over from Germany when she was two months old. Martha certainly is in the time frame of 1810-1870, even her parents would be. I cannot confirm she actually was from Ohio. Yes, there is a record connecting on Ancestry to her, but I cannot confirm that it is an accurate record yet – so I have some doubts about Ohio, and Carr is a very Irish name as well. There was a huge upswing of Irish immigrants that came to America from the 1840s-1850s, and alot of tension was created because of stereotypical judgment, especially with German people who already lived in America. It remains to be seen but I am curious and hopeful!  So times a wasting, must get back to my genetic genealogy research!

Thanks for reading!

Arthur Conners

I did not know that brothers Harry and Arthur Conner were in contact with their sister, Bertha (Conner) Bass, as adults until recently when talking to my father. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the siblings (including youngest brother Edward) were split up and sent to different families after their mother, Anna, died in 1903 and their father, Charles, went who knows where. This was quite an exciting revelation!

Although I have Arthur’s death certificate, I’ve had some trouble identifying other records of him until talking with my father. A couple of tidbits: “Art” as he was known, was married to a woman by the name of Lillian, lived in Roseland for awhile, and was missing a couple of fingers. I started looking at some of the records on Ancestry and found some interesting records, one a marriage record, and the other a WWII draft registration card.

The first is a marriage record between Arthur Conners and Lillian K. Morman – they were married in Chicago on July 14, 1942.

On his death certificate, Arthur was identified with the last name of “Conners” instead of “Conner”, and even though there is no birth date or other identifying information in the marriage record, I am going to assume that this is my Arthur and Lillian. There are no other marriage records anywhere that I can find for people with these names. There are also marriage records to a Hazel, but at the present time I believe they may not be connected because the birth dates do not match, but will be looking at those further.

The next record is a WWII draft registration card. There are a couple of draft registration cards floating around on Ancestry that are connected with my Arthur but I believe this is the correct one as the other ones have his birth date as seven years earlier, yet this Arthur’s birth date is exactly the same as my Arthur’s birth date.

The most intriguing thing that makes me believe this is my family’s Arthur besides the birth date is where he identifies obvious physical characteristics on the back of the card:

This Arthur mentioned that he is missing a finger on his left hand. My father and I debated about this, because he thought Art was missing fingers on his right hand, but it is too coincidental. My father also remembers Art as being tall and thin, and this card lists his height as 6’1-1/2″, which is quite tall, and 145 pounds – that weight and height would make this man quite thin. The other draft registration cards list the  height as 5’6″, and well that is not very tall. As height goes, we would know about this — my father is 6’2″ and I am 5’11”, we know tall people when we see them. As it was a few short months before his marriage date, Lillian would most likely not have been mentioned.

I believe based on the birth date and identifying physical characteristics of the hand that this is my Arthur Conners.

Thanks for reading!!

William Bass – Draft cards

Today’s post is about the WWI and WWII draft cards for my maternal great-grandfather William Bass. He never served in the military, but draft cards can be interesting and have some good family history information in them.

WWI Draft Card

At the time he filled out his WWI draft card in 1917, Bill listed his birth date as February 8, 1889, so he was 28 years old. He worked as a Switchman for the New York & Chicago St Louis Railroad in Stoney Island, was married and had a wife and three children to support. They were living at 11020 State Street in Roseland – unfortunately with all of the changes and desecration that occurred there, that property is now vacant land and I’d rather not show the picture. On his card, Bill described himself as tall and slender, with grey eyes and blond hair. Here is a photo of him when he was older:

Thanks for the photo Mom!

In 1942, at the time he filled out his draft card for WWII, Bill was 53 years old and working for the Chicago West Pullman Southern Railroad. 

WWII Draft Card

At that time, he was living at 11832 Stewart Avenue in Roseland with his wife, Bertha and kids.

Thanks for the photo Dad!

Bill died at the age of 70 on October 24, 1959 of a perforated duodenal stomach ulcer and peritonitis, which really sounds agonizing. He is buried in Cedar Park Cemetery in Calumet Park, Illinois.

Thanks for reading!

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?”

Anna Conner

I don’t have very much information on the very short life of my maternal great-great grandmother, Anna Conner. What I’ve mentioned on this blog is that she died very young, leaving four young children and a husband that was not able to keep the family together.

According to the only census with information available on her, the 1900 census, Anna’s birth date is listed as April 1872 and that she was born in Germany. Her parents were also born in Germany and she emigrated to America in 1890 when she was 18 years old. She and her husband, Charles, married in 1892 and at the time of the census, they were living at 3 Park Avenue in Chicago, in house number 2541. Charles’ occupation at that time was listed as blacksmith. They had four children: Bertha, 6; Harry, 4, Arther, 3; and Edward, 11 months.

On a couple of Ancestry personal family trees of members, Anna is listed as Clara Anna Schadel, born in Germany in April 1872, the daughter of Carl Gotthilf and Charlotte Wilhelmine Schade. However, according to German birth records on Ancestry, Clara Anna Pauline Schadel, born in April 1872 and the daughter of these same parents died in August that same year. I don’t believe our Anna’s parents were actually Carl and Charlotte and the information in those family trees are most likely incorrect. This will take more work to figure out and I have only busted half of my brick wall with this part of the family.

I emailed with someone who maintains one of those family trees who happens to be related to one of the sons, Harry. She believes that after his mother died, her Uncle Harry was left in Mansfield, Ohio with a foster family. I did not mention the error, however, it is always so important to check and verify sources.

Sadly, Anna was only 31 years old when she died on October 20, 1903. According to her death certificate, she died of an antepartum hemorrhage while pregnant with her fifth child, who also died. She was buried in “Oclanland” in Dolton, which I believes means Oakland. I’m including a photo of the death certificate here as it does not show any sensitive information.

Military Monday – Revolutionary War: John Conner

Revolutionary War pension files are a treasure trove of information. However, the handwriting can be difficult to decipher. But instead of showing a photo from that, this is a confirmation letter for a later family member trying to very military information on John Conner. The letter confirms that John Conner was a private during the Revolutionary War in the 4th Regiment of the Massachusetts line, commanded by Colonel Shepard. John entered the war in the spring of 1777 until being discharged in May or June of 1773. According to the Revolutionary War blog at, Massachusetts line troops were involved in most of the major battles north of the Chesapeake Bay. The battles he would have been a part of were the Battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Monmouth, and the Battle of Rhode Island.

John Conner was the father of Samuel Conner. Samuel married Lydia, and they had two children, Charles and Lydia. Charles married Mary Dorwart and they had eight children, one of whom was Charles W. Conner. He married Anna Schadel, and one of their children, Bertha Conner, was my great-grandmother on my mother’s side.