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!


The holidays are different and sad this year because of Covid-19. Although many people are flagrantly abusing recommendations to stay away from each other, which has caused the virus to be out of control, many are staying home, and we will be doing that, missing our families. The good news is vaccinations are starting to roll out so it may be the beginning of the end of it, but I’m sure it will be chaotic and confusing for awhile. In the meantime, I’m posting some photos of holiday things for your enjoyment.

Here is our Christmas tree, electric cords and all. I’m not patient with tinsel so it’s a little messy but pretty.

Here are the back ends of our dogs, Coco and Eddie, because they refuse to pose for me. Yes it’s going on our holiday cards again.

A menorah for my son-in-law. My daughter sent me a beautiful photo of their lit menorah on the first night of Hanukkah but I didn’t include here because a photo directly behind it might identify people who aren’t in the family, and it’s an intrusion. Anyway, they also have a beautiful Christmas tree.

And the last photo is of a fruitcake.

For many years when I was younger, our family received a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake from my paternal grandfather, Simon Ooms. I hated the taste of that fruitcake but as I grew older, actually began to enjoy it (as often happens). So I had to try it out again to see if it is just as good. It is! This fruitcake is marvelous, and Collin Street Bakery is famous for it, has been making fruitcakes since 1896 in Texas. I highly recommend it!

Happy holidays, peace and blessings for 2021!

Thanks for reading!

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!

Shoudel brick wall angst (yes this again)

While things were getting a little more back to normal, I was working on trying to find more information on Martha (Carr) Shoudel. She and Anna (Schadel) Conner are my toughest brick walls. I have a feeling Martha’s line will lead to the Galway, Ireland and Scotland/England connections but it is impossible to find any information on her parents and I can’t assume it is what other people have in their family trees on Ancestry. There is an 1870 census listing for a Martha Carr, age 21, living with her father and mother in Ohio, a Jesse and Margaret Carr, and some of my cousin family trees include this information. In fact, to be exact, 18 family trees on Ancestry include this information, information that I believe is incorrect for the following reasons: (1) by 1870, Martha was already a married woman living in Indiana with her husband (Balthazar) and their two year old. Although I cannot find an 1870 census for her and her husband’s family together, her oldest in the 1880 census is 12 years old; (2) she was married and lived in Indiana where her husband and his family had settled; (3) there is a family story that she had trouble being accepted into the German community there; (4) I’m not connected to any DNA matches for Jesse/Margaret Carr. It’s just really frustrating. And part of the problem is Ancestry records have this record connected to her so many people have made the assumption that is who her parents are, but I just don’t see how it can be correct. Of course I have made mistakes but this is really a no brainer. Of course I partially blame Ancestry because many times I have seen inaccurate records like this attached to a person. Sigh….

Here is the certificate from Martha’s marriage to Balthazar Shoudel in DeKalb County, Indiana on May 6, 1867:

Another record I found is a document with inscriptions from all of the graves at the St. Michael’s church cemetery where Martha is buried. There are a ton of Schoudels/Shoudels there. New names I wasn’t aware of who married into the Shoudel family, such as Reinig, Schortgen, Gfeller, Zircher, Ruppert, Hoffelder, Ellert, Hoff, Pfefferkorn, Schmidt, Richter, Schenck, Deitzen, Dapp, Gaetz, Wetosky, Schmidt, Royal — it seems almost the entire cemetery is filled with Shoudel family. I already knew some of the names connected to the Shoudel family: Schlosser, Dulle, Hohl, May, Fetter — but this really opens up the family connections. I thank people for that kind of work, it is tireless and voluntary and people like me appreciate it! I cannot wait to visit that cemetery! My father and I planned a visit to the area but then Covid showed up. It is 3 hours away and we were going to drive out, have lunch, see the area, etc., and there is also a Duesenberg museum my father likes out there. But it will have to wait until this pandemic is over.

Source: St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church website

Information on the cemetery states that the original portion was on a hill 1,000 behind the church to the west, this is where John Matthias Shoudel was buried in the middle in 1881 after his wife purchased one acre of ground from her son Michael for $50.00, and donated it to the church for a cemetery (mentioned in a previous post). Married people were buried in rows across the cemetery as they died, and not side by side. The west side of the cemetery was reserved for unmarried people and babies. In 1937, a Schoudel donated ground for an addition to the back of the cemetery and a circle drive through the cemetery, and in 1992, a Schortgen donated seven acres on the west side of the cemetery.

This is a list of land records for Dekalb County from 1880. J.M. Shoudel is John Matthias Shoudel and his sons are also listed in the same area, I posted a photo of the land plat before from Smithfield. B.R. Shoudel is Balthazar Shoudel; M.L. is Michael L. Shoudel; M.E. Shoudel is Mathias Shoudel. I am not sure yet about Catharine. All of the men were founders of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, which makes sense why so many Shoudel family members are buried in the church’s cemetery.

My father told me that he is going to do a DNA test. This is really exciting because not only will it show me where his DNA is from, but because of a new feature on 23andme, it will also show the DNA inheritance I get from him, and even if my mother doesn’t take a test, the remaining DNA inheritance I get from her. Super cool! I am very curious to see what shows up in his DNA. Genetic genealogy is the future!!

Thanks for reading!

15 generation family chart

No, I just can’t quit you. I wanted to post some photos of a quick side project I had done some weeks back when things were quiet and not nutso, and oh, I don’t know, when I had nothing better to do one evening. I find during my research that I have trouble keeping track of how far the family lines are going back, even using my Legacy family software. So I bought one of those massive 15 generation family charts, just to quickly fill in the names I have to show how far I have gotten on each side. This first massive photo is of both my father’s and mother’s direct ancestors (mind you, I continue to work on indirect lines and their families too):

Now I know it’s still hard to see but you get the drift. The upper half is my father’s side, the lower half my mother’s. You can see there is a lot more information completed for my father’s side, going back five and six generations. What really helped there is professional genealogy information and the Netherlands has the best registration records around.

Here’s a closer look at my father’s family above, but grainy and really annoying. Virtually all of the fifth great grandparents are completed and a quarter of the sixth.

My mother’s side above is not so good. This one is more difficult because of the annoying brick walls. Many missing people here, at least half of the fifth great grandparents and a ton of the sixth generation. Still so much work to do!

In the meantime, Ancestry has decided to update their ethnicity estimates again and now I supposedly have Scottish in me. I can’t even find the Irish connections and now need to find Scottish connections? Supposedly it happens because of updated technological and science advances, but every time they do that, it gives me a stomach ache. Oy vey!!! Well that’s not Scottish but you get it. And for some reason right now I am really obsessing about the Irish connection again, but it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But now Ancestry says it’s not Irish, but Scottish, but the Scotland ancestry is part of Northern Ireland and Scotland. And then there’s the UK in there. Ughhh.

This is the area they’re now focused on, I think the DNA is hard to tease and figure out between the three, so I don’t believe the Irish completely disappeared:

Sometimes I think of giving up but it keeps drawing me back. There’s just so much to do!

Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy!

Winarski/Lichnerewicz deaths

I had a bunch of posts already written but have been on a week’s hiatus because the world kind of went crazy. Two weeks ago my daughter and son in law contracted Covid-19 (they live in Chicago). My previously healthy son in law was severely sick for 6 days and then in the hospital for 7 days from Covid pneumonia. My daughter fared better with secondary sinus/respiratory infections but it hit her like a ton of bricks, causing constant severe exhaustion and other issues. They have said Covid-19 is a monster.

Then my husband ended up in the hospital with a couple of issues but he is back at home now. In the meantime it was my youngest daughter’s birthday which I tried to make as special as possible (since we can’t go anywhere like Medieval Times which she loves). And I was struggling all week with bad asthma issues and finally got treatment today and am simply exhausted from that and all of the stress. So I’m going to run my remaining four written posts once a week and then get back into posting twice a week, unless I find something really super interesting I want to share in the meantime.

So back to the Winarski/Lichnerewicz lines, and speaking of health, it’s more of a health related post than anything else.

In my research, I often find out what an ancestor died from, usually through death certificates, burial records, or word of mouth through family. Frank and Julia each died from stomach cancer, which made me think of how unusual it is to see spouses dying from the same cancer. Frank died from stomach cancer, whereas Julia’s death certificate states that she died from stomach and bowel cancer, but the stomach cancer was primary so it began there. That made me think of h. pylori, is it possible that they each had h. pylori, which then lead them each to getting stomach cancer? I don’t know much about it except it is basically an infection. But then I googled and read more about it. It is an infection that causes chronic inflammation and significantly increases the risk of developing duodenal and gastric ulcer disease and gastric cancer. And yes, it can be passed to other people through kissing! So it is very possible that one had gotten h. pylori and passed it to the other and then they each subsequently got cancer from it, but we’ll never really know.

That lead further to me thinking in general about diseases and illnesses, and why it is a good idea for people to research the health history/genealogy of their family to look for any patterns that may be there.

What else is in my health family tree? Well without divulging too much information on everything, there is definitely heart disease, nephritis, alot of stomach issues on one side, ulcers, things like that, but there’s also longevity as well. It makes me think about how we inherit things, or how we may have tendencies to inherit things. For example, I have asthma, and my daughters each have asthma. Asthma is not genetically inherited, but a person can inherit the tendency to develop asthma. My husband has it and his family is loaded with it, so there we go. There is the tendency, and most likely then with the right triggers, whatever those would be, boom, asthma. The one thing I am very grateful for is that they did not inherit juvenile diabetes. Their father has it, his father had it, and his grandfather had type 2 diabetes. So you can see how some things are passed down in generations.

Another thing which I wasn’t aware of that can be passed down is high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Studies have found that high blood pressure often runs in families, and mutations in genes can cause inherited high cholesterol.

And don’t forget about mental health when you research. Five of the most common disorders related to mental health are genetically linked: autism, ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Not a lot of people really think of investigating their family tree for medical reasons, but it’s a really good idea.

Stay safe, social distance and wear masks please!

Thanks for reading!

WordPress angst

Even though I’ve been blogging twice a week, lately I’ve been not really feeling into it when it comes to the family tree. I don’t know what it is but I may have just gotten myself overwhelmed, because I still work full-time remotely, or gotten what we call “shelter fatigue”, or just the doldrums from the shelter fatigue. But the other day I did widen the circle of where I go and went browsing in the bookstore, of course in my protective gear.  I think what I miss most is the entertainment part — movies with our daughter, and eating in restaurants. But I am seeing my family soon, yay, very much looking forward to it!

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about how I can include the family tree for everyone to see on my blog — you know, that big unwieldy thing I have with over 1,900 individuals in it in my Legacy family software program? I was reading about how to share it and decided to dip my toe in and was able to download all of the data from Legacy into what is called a GEDCOM file. GEDCOM is an acronym for Genealogical Data Communication and is a data structure created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for storing and exchanging genealogical information so that different computer programs can use it. It basically looks something like this, not very pretty:

Now what do I do with this GEDCOM file? I decided to upload it to Ancestry since I have a membership. I still have a lot of work to do but have added a ton of photos and sources so it looks like an actual family tree now. The most fun part is since I have submitted DNA, it matches “perceived” common ancestors to me and anyone who matches my DNA and has also uploaded a family tree:

When I click on “common ancestor”, it then brings me to who the common ancestors are between my DNA match and myself:

And then clicking on the “view relationship” link shows the whole connection with the DNA match through something called Thrulines:

I wanted to show with pics from my actual account, but that would break the privacy between my DNA match and myself, but what it shows is exactly the breakdown of the link between my cousins and myself, super cool!!

The majority of the matches on my list (all who are second, third, fourth fifth-eighth cousins) are Schoons and Schoudels, then quite a bit of Basses, some Dekkers, some Oomses, some Winarskis, a couple of Slagbooms, a couple of Van Mijnens, about four Verkruissens, one Kros, and one from the Conner side, a Dorwart cousin.

So then I thought, what if I could take that, or part of that tree on Ancestry, and figure out a way to show it on my blog?  Well you will see why I titled my blog “WordPress Angst” — because I have learned a whole lot more about it since I roped myself into using it as a hosting program for my blog five months ago. If I wanted to, I could show the tree on the blog, but that would mean upgrading to another plan – for just $200 more dollars. Which I’m not doing as I find it ridiculously expensive and I don’t need all of the other things it offers in the upgraded plan. And of course for $200 more, I could download specific family tree plugins that would allow me to include it and present it in a very pretty way. Which I’m still not doing.  And of course, WordPress does not allow anyone to create their own plugins, so I cannot create plugin code from scratch and include it. Sneaky smart WordPress!!  So today we’re doing this the old fashioned way, taking a crummy photo with my phone to show you what it looks like:

There may be a way to embed a link into the blog with WikiTree or something else, so I will be looking into that.

The reason I chose Ancestry is because of the presentation, and how user friendly it is. It gives me hints from its database of sources that it believes matches your family member and then you can review and include the source or ignore it, and of course I can add photos. It is a lot easier than I thought it would be!  I may eventually also invite people to view the tree, but want to see if I can figure out another way.

Thanks for reading!



Two of my more difficult family lines have been the Kros and Verkruissen lines, my paternal great-grandparent lines, so I was working on those a little bit last week. I was really focusing on where some of the Kros family ended up and if two Kros brothers married two Verkruissen sisters (hence the title).

I already knew that my paternal great-grandparents, John and Jacoba (Verkruissen) Kros were married in 1900 in Roseland and settled there (see my April 21 post). I also already knew that both of them came from the Netherlands. I was doing some research on the website WieWasWie, which is owned by the Center for Family History in The Hague in the Netherlands that has made all Netherland birth, marriage and death records accessible to the public (fantastic website!). This is where I found that Jacoba has a sister named Janke, and also where I found that Janke was married to a Kornelius Kros. At first I thought it was a mistake, but you’ll see as I go on that it wasn’t.

It’ll help if I begin with the parents of each:  John’s parents are Kornelius Kros and Lena Slagboom; Jacoba’s parents are Jan Verkruissen and Antje Koopmans. I have known this for a long time and there are multiple resources confirming this.

So this is what I found — the marriage record of Janke Verkruissen and Kornelius Kros which took place on March 29, 1893 in Haarlem, North Holland. Janke’s parents are listed as Jan Verkruissen and Antje Koopmans, and Kornelius’s parents are listed as, you guessed it, Kornelius Kros and Lena Slagboom.

Here is the record transcript of it:

Here’s a closeup of the signatures from the marriage certificate:

So now we know that John had a brother Kornelius (later Cornelius) who was married to Jacoba’s sister, Janke. My father doesn’t remember hearing this in the family but this really is going a long way back.

Here is a clip from their immigration record — Cornelius, Janke, and John (originally Jan in Dutch) sailed together from Liverpool, England on June 8, 1893 on the Parisian, and arrived in Quebec, Canada, with their port destination being Kensington, Illinois. I’ve almost given up on finding Jacoba’s immigration record, she came separately a different year and I’ve tried all different name variations and searches. The only way I found this immigration record was by using a Soundex search for the name Janke Verkruissen and it happened to be listed under the misspelled name of Verkruistsen, and thinking she came from the Netherlands, decided to look at the record anyway even though it was from Liverpool. Also, what a person reports on census records for their immigration year can be very different than what it actually was. In the 1910 census, they all reported that they immigrated in 1889, which was actually four years off from their actual immigration year. This was quite a find!!

In a future post I’ll discuss more of this line and how part of it splits off to Indiana.

Tombstone Tuesday — Michael L. Shoudel

Today’s tombstone is the tombstone of Michael L. Shoudel, one of the sons of my maternal great-great-great grandparents, Matthias and Magdalena (Miller) Shoudel. He was one of the pioneers of Smithfield Township in Dekalb County, Indiana, along with his parents, who came to our country from Bavaria, Germany, when he was about 11 years old. He was born on December 3, 1844 and died on April 28, 1929.

The History of Dekalb County, Indiana is a goldmine of information on the area and has a long biographical sketch of him (page 866), along with his father, which I’ve mentioned in a past post. I also recognize another family name, Joseph Hohl (page 868), who was also a settler. My DNA tests list a number of Hohl cousins. Matthias Hohl, his son, was married to Mary Shoudel, the daughter of Balthasar and Martha (Carr) Shoudel — Balthazar and Michael were brothers. This is on my maternal side, my grandmother Madeline’s cousins.

Very sad post

My cousin, Linda Duca, passed away Friday night. She was only 62 years old and died of advanced liver cancer, diagnosed in late September. She was loving, crazy funny, goofy, and the best cousin — I still cannot believe she’s gone. She leaves two sweet young boys, Jonathan and Matthew, and my heart breaks for them. She is with her mother now, my Aunt Dee.

Linda was in lockstep with her illness  with my brother-in-law all the way, Mark Osier, who was diagnosed with metatastic melanoma just two days after Christmas. He leaves his wife, Donna, and two sweet young boys as well, Chris and Eric, and grandson Logan. Every time one got worse, the other became worse the very next day or two days later. It was eerie and heartbreaking.

The only thing that keeps popping into my head is a quote from Star Wars — I was never really a Star Wars fan except for the last three movies:  “No one is ever really gone”.  It’s true, our memories will keep our loved ones alive.

We will see our loved ones again one day.