A Finn Was Pitcher for Chicago White Sox


From time to time my cousin Matti in Finland sends emails with links to articles and other text material of interest to me and my brother Walfrid. This morning, he sent an item article about a Finnish national who came to America in the early 1900’s to pitch for the Chicago White Sox. It was from today’s Helsingin Sanomat, the leading newspaper in Finland

Of course, the article was published in Finnish. This is no problem for my brother, as he is fluent in Finnish. I, on the other hand, know very little Finnish. Google Translate comes in handy for me, and I am going to include some screenshots to show what Matti’s email was all about — and to demonstrate the capabilities of Google Translate with Finnish. First, here is Matti’s email:

Matti’s Email as it arrived this morning
Translation provided by Gmail

This contained some “awkward” translations. I thought I could do better by copying and pasting the text into Google Translate. And here is what I got back:

Side-by-side comparison between the original and the Google Translate result.

A much cleaner translation. It’s obvious that the translation service within Gmail is not as capable as is Google Translate.

FYI, here is why Matti sent the message to me: When I visited Finland last summer, he and other cousins took me to view a baseball park in Kuopio, the closest big city to where my grandparents emigrated from.

Now back to the newspaper article. I noted that the credit line Jouni Nieminen, teksti, was a hotlink, so I clicked on it. It took me to the newspaper’s website, which featured a built-in translation service. I searched for the article and got this result in English:

The article (translated) from the Helsingin Sanomat website. Note that the baseball player’s name has been translated into English.

I believe that the term “feeder” would more likely be used as “special” or some such term in an American newspaper. Jouni Nieminen probably is a freelance writer, feeding items of interest to the newspaper.

I went to Wikipedia and searched for Michaelson and found this summary of his very brief baseball career:

John August Michaelson’s baseball career summary on Wikipedia.

A brief search on Ancestry.com shows that John August Michaelson was a common name. But I was able to separate out the fact that the Michaelson I was looking for died in Wisconsin in April of 1968. Here is his cemetery stone:

Maps Galore in Historical Atlas of Germany


If you are tracing ancestors born in Germany and other German-speaking lands, there is a new reference book that should be helpful to you. For centuries, what evolved into Germany as we know it today was a feudal patchwork of kingdoms, principalities, duchies, and even free cities, with often changing boundaries. The book is The Family Tree Historical Atlas of Germany, by James M. Beidler. It provides more than 100 full-color maps along with valuable text about the history of the region that developed into present-day Germany. The maps and text combine to fill 240 pages bound in an attractive hard-cover format.

By studying this book, you can come to understand German border changes throughout the centuries. Of particular value to genealogical researchers are the following chapters: Nineteenth-Century Germany, Regional and State Maps, Twentieth-century Germany, and Modern-Day Religious and Demographic Maps. Another valuable section provides an index to cities and villages found on the included maps, a glossary of geographic terms, and a list of map sources, All this material can help you pinpoint the hometowns of your German ancestors and thereby locate where you might find their records.

I am researching German ancestors ranging from my fourth great grandfather Johan Mathias Flaugh, born in Rimhorn, Baden-Wuerttemberg, who immigrated to America in 1773, to Maria Thoman, the grandmother of my late wife, who was born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria and came to America in 1905.

The Historical Atlas has helped me understand the geography and history of Germany pertinent to these and other ancestors.

The author readily admits in the introduction that most of the maps can be viewed online. I found it to be convenient, however, to have them in one printed reference. If you wish to study them online, and perhaps use your browser to enlarge them, you’ll be happy to know that citations to the sources of the maps are provided.

Jim Biedler has written other books about German genealogical research, including The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Germanic Ancestry in Europe and Trace Your German Roots Online: A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites. He also is the author of The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide: How to Find Your Ancestors in Archived Newspapers (which we should note includes information about German-language newspapers in America).

The book is available from a wide range of booksellers, both brick and mortar and online. The list price is $34.99, but you can find it available for less if you search online for special offerings.

Jumping into German Genealogy–An All-Day Seminar at WRHS


On Saturday, November 16, Western Reserve Historical Society will host an all-day seminar for beginning and advanced genealogists interested in researching their German ancestors. In four seminar sessions, James M. Beidler will cover the following topics:

“Your Immigrants’ Germany,”

“German Research Online,”

“German Names and Naming Patterns,”

“Online German Church Registers, Duplicates, and Substitutes.”

Jim Beidler

  Jim Beidler is the author of the brand-new The Family Tree Historical Atlas of Germany. He also has authored The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide and writes “Roots & Branches,” an award-winning weekly newspaper column on genealogy. He is a columnist for German Life magazine and is editor of Der Kurier, the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society. He also is an editor for Legacy Tree Genealogists, Inc. and contributes frequently to periodicals ranging from scholarly journals such as The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine to popular-interest magazines such as Family Tree Magazine

  Check-in opens at 9 am, with the first session commencing at 9:30. There will be a lunch break at 12:15. Boxed lunches will be available for purchase the day of the seminar. 

  To register, complete the registration form, provide a check for the $40 registration fee and return to: 

WRHS Genealogical Committee, Attn: Linda Freeman, 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH, 44106 Name: _____________________________________________________________ 


City:__________________________________ State: ______ Zip______________ 

Phone Number: Day ( ) _____________ Evening ( ) ________________ 

Email Address: _______________________________________________________

Online Registration coming soon!

Questions? Please contact Chris Staats: chris@staatsofohio.com 

Family Tree Magazine Sold to Yankee Publishing


On July 22, 2019, Dick Eastman posted in his Eastman’s Online Genealogy News blog the following:

Great news! A major genealogy magazine was on the verge of folding. (See my earlier article at http://bit.ly/2Z6yoN8 for the details.) However, the US Family Tree Magazine has now been purchased by a major magazine publisher with a long history of publishing. Family Tree magazine now seems to have a bright future. Here is the announcement:

Dublin, NH (July 19, 2019) — Yankee Publishing Inc. (YPI), publisher of Yankee, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and New Hampshire magazine, announced its acquisition of Family Tree magazine from F+W Media.

“We’re pleased to welcome Family Tree to YPI’s family of products,” said President and CEO Jamie Trowbridge. “Family Tree fits well with our suite of brands, both in terms of content and business strategy. We’re excited to take this step to continue YPI’s growth as an independent media company.”

Family Tree – with its print magazine, website, online classes and conferences, and web store – serves a passionate audience of genealogy enthusiasts. Interest in genealogy is surging in America, with over 20 million Americans having had their DNA tested by the four leading commercial ancestry and health databases, according to industry estimates.

“Yankee Publishing has a great vision for Family Tree,” said Andrew Koch, editor of the magazine. “As part of YPI, we’ll continue bringing the best genealogy advice and resources to our readers so they can discover their ancestors and connect to their roots.”

The editorial offices of Family Tree will remain in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. The other functions of the business will be managed by YPI staff at its headquarters in Dublin, New Hampshire.

Yankee Publishing Inc. (YPI) is based in Dublin, New Hampshire. It is a family-owned, independent publisher of magazines, websites, books, calendars and other periodicals including Yankee: New England’s Magazine, which was founded in 1935. YPI also owns the nation’s oldest continuously produced periodical, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, and subsidiary McLean Communications, which publishes New Hampshire magazine and other publications about New Hampshire.

Further research yields the following information:

The Family Tree Store, which served as the subscription portal for FTM and offers books and genealogy courses, is down for the time being. The Store’s website has the following statement:

Family Tree Store Will Be Back!

While our website is in transition, Family Tree Store is temporarily offline.

Some digital products, online classes, videos, and content that you purchased may be temporarily unavailable.

Please know that we well be closely monitoring the situation and working to resolve an issues quickly.

And we’ll be back, better than ever, in mid-August.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

We’ll have to wait to see if the Family Tree Store actually comes back. In the meantime, many of the FTM books are still available from Amazon.com and other online sources.

Earlier, the Genealogy Guys podcast announced that Penguin Random House Books had acquired the book publishing assets of F+W Media, which includes FTM books and print publications, such as Blaine Bettinger’s The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, and many, many genealogy and family history titles.

New-Found Marriage Record Creates a Mystery


A couple of days ago I posted about FamilySearch pointing me to a marriage record for Frank Nikkari who married my Aunt Edith in 1915. The record match stated that they were married in Mayfield, Fulton County, New York, some 400 miles from where at least Edith was living in Ashtabula, Ashtabula County, Ohio, according to the 1910 Federal Census. In that post, I reported that I had contacted the Mayfield Town Clerk about obtaining a copy of the marriage record.

Today (31 Jul 2019), I received a call from the Town Clerk. She said she had found the record and did I want to receive a scanned copy by email? At no charge? Of course, I answered yes and yes. And I provided my email address.

In short order, the email arrived with the record attached.

Note that Frank and Edith both reported that they were residents of Broadalin, the next Town to the east of Mayfield Town. Frank stated that he was a farmer. That was all interesting information, but it didn’t explain why Frank and Edith were residing some 400 miles from Ashtabula.

New York State conducted a state census in 1915, but Frank and Edith were not enumerated there. In fact, while browsing the censuses for the two towns, I learned that Frank and Edith would have been among a tiny minority of residents born outside of the United States (Frank and Edith both were born in Finland).

So we are left with a mystery of why Frank and Edith were living in upstate New York, some 400 miles from Ashtabula where they spent much of their adult lives.

FamilySearch Pushes Record Match to My Email


Sometimes genealogical records come to you. FamilySearch.org recently sent me an email with several possible matches. One of them involved my Uncle Frank Nikkari, who married my Aunt Edith Huskonen on 12 Apr 1915. I knew this fact from Frank’s obituary in the Ashtabula Star Beacon. I was happy to learn this date, but I didn’t pursue additional information about the marriage; in fact, at the time I made a note that they probably got married in Ashtabula County.

The possible record match from FamilySearch.org pointed me to a marriage record for Frank and Edith created in the Town of Mayfield, Fulton County, New York. What’s that? Mayfield is about 400 miles from Ashtabula. And I knew from the 1910 Census that at least Edith was living in that city. To date, I haven’t been able to turn up any 1910 census record for Frank. At that time, his parents and siblings all were still living in Kaleva, Manistee County, Michigan, where they all settled after immigration from Finland in 1903 and 1904.

I’m assuming that FamilySearch recently added the New York, County Marriages, 1847-1848; 1908-1936 collection and the website’s automated search algorithm matched the marriage record with the profiles I have added to the FamilySearch Community Tree for my uncle and aunt.

The match was a transcribed listing for my uncle as Frank Nikkare and my aunt at Edith Huskon, and the date was in fact 12 Apr 1915. Here is the index listing for Frank:

The FamilySearch listing for Aunt Edith was similar.

FamilySearch did not provide any images with these record matches. I knew that Ancestry.com had the same information in the All New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 collection, but Ancestry.com hadn’t yet turned up a hint for Frank and Edith. I entered Frank’s name in the search window for this collection. Up came Ancestry’s indexing transcription:

In this case, an image is linked to the index entry. It also contains as additional information the Certificate Number that I can use to order the certificate document from the Mayfield Town Clerk. I have a phone call in to order this record.

I’m hoping for more details on the actual marriage record, such as Frank’s address and occupation at the time of the marriage. Maybe there will be a clue as to why in 1915 Frank and Edith traveled so far to get married.

In the 1914 WWI draft registration, Frank reported that he was a laborer for the New York Central Railroad. Did this mean that he had some sort of rail pass for himself and his intended spouse to travel all the way to upstate New York?

By 1915, The NYCRR ran along the Mohawk River and Erie Canel across New York State. It had a stop in Fonda, the county seat of Montgomery County, the county just south of Fulton County. Was there a rail connection from the NYCRR in Fonda to Mayfield. Yes, there was a short line called the Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville Railroad.

Here’s an answer to that question that I found on Wikipedia:

The FJ&G was formed in 1867 as a steam railroad. The first train ran from Fonda in 1870 all the way to Gloversville. Gloversville, named after the many glove companies in the area (237 in 1905), was at the northern end of the FJ&G for a few years before the railroad was pushed north by business owners. The Gloversville and Northville Railroad went from northern Gloversville through Mayfield and Cranberry Creek to Northville which became its permanent terminus.

In New York, marriage records are created at the town level (towns in New York correspond to townships in Ohio), which is why I am contacting the Mayfield Town Clerk to possibly obtain a copy of the marriage certificate for Frank and Edith.

The takeaway from all this is that you watch for all possible hints and possible record matches and check them out. If they come from more than one source, compare the records to acquire all available information.

Seizing the Moment: Obtaining Grandma Grace’s Divorce Record


A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Juhannus Celebration Potluck dinner at the Finnish-American Heritage Association (FAHA) Museum in Ashtabula, Ohio (FYI, Juhannus is the Finnish name for St. John, the disciple, and Juhannus Holiday is a national holiday in Finland celebrating the Summer Solstice, the start of summer. I am a member of FAHA because my paternal grandparents immigrated from Finland).

I sat at a table across from Carol, who I recognized from an earlier FAHA gathering as the retired Clerk of Courts in Ashtabula County, the county where I grew up. I ventured to ask her about divorce records in the Clerk’s office. She volunteered to forward my interest in obtaining the divorce record of Grace Tripp, my maternal grandmother, from John Tripp to her former colleagues. I provided what I knew: that both were living in Andover, in Ashtabula County, and that they were divorced sometime in the early 1940s. In the 1940 Census of Andover, both Grace and John were listed as married, but living separately. Further, I knew that Grace remarried in 1943, to Don A. Stafford of Cleveland.

Carol did forward the information to the Clerk’s office in Jefferson, the Ashtabula County seat. On July 1, I received an email from a staff member there with the divorce record as a PDF attachment. It turned out that the divorce was granted during the “January 1942 Term,” which was a bit earlier than I guessed.

Receiving the email when I did was quite a coincidence because my sister Viena and her husband Jim were planning to visit me the next day, on July 2. They had traveled from Florida to Ohio for an Andover high school reunion and to visit their daughter Lara and her family in Bowling Green, Ohio. I was able to hand off a copy of the divorce to my sister, adding one more bit of information about our Grandma Grace. I then sent off copies to my brother Walfrid in Oklahoma, and first cousins in New York and Florida.

Sometimes it pays to “seize the moment.”

My Parents Were Wed in a “Gretna Green Marriage”


During his presentation on “Until Death Do Us Part: An Examination of Marriage and Divorce Records” at the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society meeting on May 6, Tom Neel, Ohio Genealogical Society library director, mentioned “Gretna Green marriages.” He cited marriages that occurred in locations other than where you might expect, often involving young couples. Specifically, he mentioned people living in northwestern Ohio being married across the border in Michigan.

My own parents were married in similar circumstances, but they traveled from Andover, Ashtabula County, Ohio to Chautauqua County, New York, to be married by a justice of the peace in Westfield. Years ago, when I learned about this travel to get married, I contacted the Chautauqua County Clerk’s office to learn if my parents, in fact, did get married there and if so to purchase a copy of their marriage certificate.

Later, I learned that my in-laws also were married in Chautauqua County, but in Ripley, which is just inside the county’s western boundary. I was able to confirm the existence of a marriage certificate for them and obtain a copy through the same county clerk’s office.

So where does the term Gretna Green come from for such marriages? I turned to Google to search for an explanation and up came an entry in Wikipedia entitled simply Gretna Green. Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretna_Green. Here is how that article starts out:

“Gretna Green is a parish in the southern county of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, and is situated close on the borders of Scotland and England, defined by the small river Sark, which flows into the estuary of the western contiguous Solway Firth. It was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh. “

The Wikipedia article goes on to explain that Gretna Green “is one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, due to wedding traditions dating back over centuries which originated from cross-border elopements stemming from differences between Scottish and English marriage laws. The destination became popular in the 1770s when a toll road was constructed through the region.”

Now back to the Chautauqua marriages: Today, you can check for the possibility of such a marriage on Ancestry.com, which now offers the collection “New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967.” If you want a certificate, you will still have to contact the appropriate county clerk’s office.

The takeaway from all this is that if you are looking for a marriage record in the early 1900s that you think would have taken place in Ohio, but you can’t find it, check for the marriage in New York, Michigan, or even Kentucky.

Grandpa Scheppelmann’s Naturalization Papers Now Online


A few years ago, I discovered that August Scheppelmann, my late wife’s grandfather, made a journey back to his hometown of Nienburg, Germany in 1922. This occurred when I was looking for his original immigrant arrival in 1897. I posted about this second voyage and you can read it at http://www.collectingancestors.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1026&action=edit

One interesting fact included in the passenger list for his “second” arrival was the fact that he was naturalized in 1902. I spent some time — and some money — obtaining paper copies of his declaration and naturalization papers through the mail.

This morning, I looked through the recent collections added online by Ancestry.com and there was the heading: All Pennsylvania, Federal Naturalization Records, 1795-1931.  Needless to say, I quickly checked it out by searching in this collection for August Scheppelmann. Bingo. Up popped his Declaration of Intent record and his Petition for Naturalization record.

Search results for August Scheppelmann’s naturalization papers.
Screen shot of August Scheppelmann’s Declaration of Intent
Certificate of naturalization for August Heinrich Scheppelman

This demonstrates how much easier and quicker it is in 2019 to do genealogical research with the tremendous expansion of online databases on Ancestry.com and other database providers. And it reminds me to keep checking the database collection announcements from Ancestry–and its competitors too.

My Family’s Connection to Cheese-making


I like cheese of all types. The other day I started researching cheesemaking and any connection there might be with that industry and my ancestors and relatives. Here are some facts I learned:

My grandkids live on Cheese Factory Rd in Honeoye Falls, New York. (More about this in another post later.)

My Great-Unclde Nelson Andrew Dingman worked in a cheese factory in 1910. (I’ll profile him in a later post.)

My paternal grandfather Evert Huskonen was a dairy farmer in Williamsfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Right across the road from his farm was the dairy farm of Andrew Dingman, my great-great-grandfather. Also in Williamsfield, my Uncle Hugh Huskonen owned and operated a dairy farm. Finally, my late brother-in-law Sydney VanCourt operated a dairy farm in Richmond Center, Ashtabula County, beginning as a teenager and continuing until illness forced him to sell off his cows and property.

So as a child I was familiar with dairy farms, milking parlors, and regular milk pick-ups by milk trucks delivering milk to dairies. I also was somewhat familiar with the progress in dairy farming as it changes from hand-milking to machine-milking, and from milk cans to large cooling vats for handling and storing milk. And finally, I was familiar with the seven-day-a-week requirement that dairy farmers be available to milk their cows.

On this past Saturday, I drove out to Middlefield, Geauga County, Ohio to visit the Rothenbuler Cheese Chalet.

Rothenbuhler Cheese Chalet

I visited the store and bought some different kinds of cheese. I then watched a 15-min video showing the history of Hans Rothenburger and his cheese-making company. It turns out that he immigrated from Switzerland, where his father was a master cheesemaker.

Shop at Rothenbuhler Cheese Chalet

As I was leaving the Chalet, I saw a truck pulling onto a weigh station. It obviously was a “milk truck” with its stainless steel tank. I took a closer look and on the truck door was painted a logo “Mitchell’s, Saegertown, PA.”

Milk delivery truck from Saegertown, Pennselvania, at Rothenbuhler weigh station in Middlefield, Ohio.

Here is another connection. My Four-Great-Grandfather Matthias Flaugh lived in that area of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and he is buried in a small Saegertown cemetery. He was a farmer and no doubt he had cows. But I doubt that he sent any milk to a dairy or other processing operation.

With the power of Google, I learned quite a bit about Mitchell’s and why this truck was being weighed in at Rothenbuhler’s. An article published by the Meadville Tribune told about the Mitchell brothers who own and operate the trucking company that was delivering milk while I was visiting Rothenbuhler Cheese Chalet. I am reproducing the article here:

Milk more than just business for Ag-Industry Award winner
By Keith Gushard, Meadville Tribune, Jul 3, 2017
Mitchells Brothers Mike and Greg Mitchell pose near one of their milk hauling truck at Mitchell’s Milk Hauling in Saegertown. The business is a recipient of the 2017 Crawford County Ag-Industry Award.
After six decades in operation, hauling milk is more than just a business — it’s a way of life for the Mitchell family of Saegertown.
Mitchell Trucking, recipient of the 2017 Crawford County Ag-Industry Award, was started in 1958 by Loren (Pete) Mitchell and his son, Lonnie Mitchell. Today, Mitchell Trucking is in its third generation with brothers Greg Mitchell, 54, and Mike Mitchell, 50, as the owners. The two are grandsons of Pete Mitchell and sons of Lonnie Mitchell.
Mitchell Trucking remains a family-oriented operation with Mike’s wife, Michele, managing the company’s books. Monica Mitchell, the brothers’ mother, who was instrumental in the growth and success of the business throughout the years, is still involved, too.
“She’s about 75 and still active,” Greg said. “She goes after a part we need (to repair a truck) or do anything we need.”
The brothers said they are humbled at having the company receiving recognition from Crawford County’s farming community. They’ll receive an award that’s administered by the Crawford County Pomona Grange during an open program at 2 p.m. Aug. 20 at the county fair’s Youth Show Arena. Recipients are selected by agricultural organizations and previous Hall of Fame inductees.
“We just do what we do,” Greg Mitchell said. “I never thought we’d receive an award.”
Both men said they enjoy interacting with the region’s farming community.
“I like the fact we’re helping farmers,” Mike said. “I like talking to them and driving the truck around the countryside.”
“They’re all good people,” Greg said. “I like it because we’re helping farmers get their milk to market, but it is a big responsibility.”
Mitchell Trucking got its start when Pete and Lonnie began hauling large cans of milk from their Spring Terrace Farm near Saegertown as well as other area farms to the Erie-Crawford Cooperative in Saegertown. The Erie-Crawford Cooperative marketed milk for processing to dairies in western Pennsylvania, but in 1969 the cooperative stopped marketing milk as the number of dairies began to shrink.
The Mitchells then switched the firm’s focus to hauling bulk milk to dairy processors mainly in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. By 1990, Mitchell Trucking was hauling for more than 200 farms. At one time, the company even hauled area goat milk for processing to Vermont Butter & Cheese Co., now known as Vermont Creamery, in Barre, Vt.
Today, Mitchell trucks transport raw milk for about 80 dairy farms in the region. While it’s a much smaller number than about 25 years ago, there’s not been a significant loss in total volume as milk production has increased while the total number of farms has decreased.
Each of the farms stores milk at 39 degrees Fahrenheit, or colder, for no more than 48 hours before it’s picked up to be trucked to a processor.
With eight trucks in its fleet, Mitchell’s has six of them on the road each day, 365 days a year, with two in reserve in case of a breakdown. Depending on the size of the dairy farm, a Mitchell truck arrives every day or every other day for a pickup. The milk then usually ends up at one of three processors — Dean Dairy Foods in Sharpsville, Dairy Farmers of America in New Wilmington or Middlefield Original Cheese Co. in Middlefield, Ohio [also known as Rothenbuhler Cheese].
Having grown up in the business, both Greg and Mike, said working every day is just part of their daily routine.
“I’ve never really thought of it as a job,” Greg said. “The milk’s got to go every day.”

This article explains how milk is kept safe on its journey from farm to processing, and it emphasizes the fact that milk-handling is a seven-day-a-week job.

I plan to have future posts about my dairymen relatives and about cheese-making in general.

Rothenbuhler Cheese Chalet