Mom Was Born 110 Years Ago Today


Mary Jane Dingman was born on December 14, 1908 (110 years ago today), to Wallace Betts Dingman and Grace Green Morley Dingman. She was born at the family’s home in Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio.

She grew up to be a teacher, wife, and mother, then a teacher again, business manager, and finally a caregiver. Her husband was Walfrid Herbert Huskonen, who grew up on a farm across the road from her Dingman grandparents’ farm in Williamsfield, Ohio. Mary went to school in Conneaut and Walfrid in Williamsfield, but they saw each other over the growing-up years. They decided to get married as young adults living in the Cleveland area. At the time, Mary was an elementary teacher in Bedford, Ohio, and Walfrid was employed as a patternmaker by Lake City Malleable Foundry Company in Cleveland.

Mary and Wally went on to be parents, raising three children in Andover, Ohio. For many years, she was a stay-at-home mom while he became an entrepreneur, owning and operating Andover Pattern Co. in Andover.

Remembering her today has prompted me to start to gather together what I have on file for Mom. I plan to assemble it into a multiple-part life story about a strong and loving woman—my mother.

Watch this space for installments in the coming days.

She Rode to Work with Dad during WWII


At a meeting of the Finnish American Heritage Association (FAHA) at its museum in Ashtabula a couple of years ago, a friendly lady remarked to me that she rode to work with my father, Walfrid Herbert Huskonen, during World War II. They drove from my hometown, Andover, Ohio, about 12 miles south on Ohio Rt 7 to Glauber Brass Manufacturing Co. in Kinsman, Ohio.

I knew Dad worked as a patternmaker at Glauber Brass before he started up Andover Pattern Co. on our property in about 1948. In fact, I visited Glauber Brass with him as a kid once or twice when he was delivering pattern equipment for casting kitchen and bathroom faucets in the company’s sand molding and casting foundry.

It was only recently that I sat down with Dorothy Nicolaus Hedrick to talk about her rides to work with Dad. The sit-down finally occurred late this summer after the annual FAHA Fish Fry at Saybrook Township Park just west of Ashtabula. Dorothy did not attend, she being 95 years old. Instead, her cousin, Linda Sippola Riddell arranged for us to get together at Dorothy’s nearby home after the Fish Fry. I owe a big “thank you” to Linda for reminding me from time to time about possibly interviewing Dorothy and especially for acting as a go-between to finally make it happen. Dorothy and Linda both were part of the Finnish-American community in southeastern Ashtabula County in the 1940s and now live in Ashtabula.

Dorothy Nicolaus Hedrick holds a cast brass ashtray from Glauber Brass. The closeup below shows the bottom of the ashtray clearly showing the “man in the moon” design. Ashtray courtesy of Linda Sippola Riddell.

When we had this chance to talk, I learned that Dorothy lived in Andover with her sister Rita. Their husbands were away serving in the military. She rode to work with Dad and two other men from the Andover area. The men took turns driving and shared the cost of gas. Dorothy contributed a small amount for riding along. The other men were Merle Thompson and Walter Fleming.

Dorothy reported that the ride was arranged by her uncle Elmer Pouttu who worked at Glauber Brass. Her mother also worked at Glauber, so it was something of a family affair.

Dorothy worked in the core room. In discussing this with her, I determined that she was involved in forming sand cores in coreboxes. These cores would then be “baked” so that they were firm enough to be placed in sand molds to form the internal cavities inside the brass faucet castings.

She did not like working in this department and was transferred to the casting cleaning department. Here, her work involved dipping castings into acid vats. The purpose: to clean off any sand and binder clinging to the new castings. She and her co-workers had to wear heavy aprons and long rubber gloves for protection from the acid.

Dorothy reported that she worked at Glauber Brass for about two years. On V-J Day in 1945, when World War II was ended with the victory over Japan, Dorothy and many other employees were informed that they would be laid off, as Glauber Brass would no longer be producing brass castings for the war effort.

So this chance encounter with Dorothy at a FAHA event provided an opportunity for me to learn a little bit more about my father’s early work experience.

For other writings about my father, Andover Pattern Co., and Glauber Brass Mfg. Co., click on these links at my blog,

Kimi Räikkönen Saves My Sports Weekend


The weekend just ended was turning out to be a dismal one for me sport-wise. On Saturday, the Ohio State University Buckeyes lost a college football game to Purdue University that they should have won. On Sunday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns lost their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime. And on Sunday evening, the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team (without LeBron James’ who moved this year to Los Angeles Lakers basketball team) lost its home opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Then I watched a video of the U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas. recorded earlier in the day on Sunday. More than 50 years ago, I was an avid fan of auto racing and even did some freelance reporting for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Auto Week on professional and amateur road racing events, including the U.S. Grand Prix when it was held at Watkins Glen, New York, for several years.

I had not closely followed FI racing in recent years, and in fact, I was not familiar with the Circuit of the Americas. Imagine my pleasure when I Googled for results late on Sunday and learned that the Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen won the U.S. Grand Prix, driving for Scuderia Ferrari.

I watched the recorded video of the entire race. Räikkönen started from the pole and led most of the laps. It was his first win in Formula One since 2013. At age 39, he was the oldest driver in the race. The award ceremony at the end of the video included him standing on the winner’s podium for the playing of Maamme, the Finnish national anthem.

Räikkönen won the FI World Championship in 2007 during an earlier driving stint with Ferrari. During his long career, he also drove for the following FI teams: Sauber, MacLaren, and Lotus.

Next year, he will be again driving for the Swiss-based Sauber team, this time under the banner of Alfa Romeo Sauber, in a car powered by a Ferrari engine.

For more information about Kimi Räikkönen, including his growing-up years in Espoo, Finland, click on the following links:


Finnish Newspaper Features My Visit to Finland


This morning, I received an email from Cousin Matti in Finland with a digital image of the report in the Savo regional newspaper about my visit to Finland during the last week in June.

The headline translates into “Enjoying a Visit to My Grandparents’ Birthplace.”

I wrote a basic article and sent it to Matti a couple weeks ago and he fine-tuned it and added photos, then submitted it to the newspaper, which is distributed in Vesanto, the village from which my paternal grandparents immigrated at the beginning of the 20th century.

The group photo shows me with several cousins at one of the visits planned for me by Cousin Matti.

If you are curious about the books I am posing with, here are some details: During a quick visit to a bookstore in Helskinki with Matti’s wife Paula, I purchased a copy of Väinö Linna (Unknown Soldiers) in Finnish for my brother Walfrid and a copy in English for myself. The book follows the fortunes of Finnish soldiers during World War II. It is one of Finland’s best-loved books. (NOTE: Walfrid does read Finnish, hence the Finnish language version for him.)

I will be working with Google Translate to convert the Finnish to English. Watch this space.

Finding “Gold” in a 4th Cousin+ DNA Match


The other day, a new AncestryDNA match came to my attention. It was with Riikka and was at the fourth to sixth cousin level. AncestryDNA rated the result as “Confidence: High.” In fact, the little bar used to illustrate the degree of confidence was almost completely green. Looking into the match, I saw that it was “44 centimorgans shared across 5 DNA segments.”

That’s not very much shared DNA — but I’ll take it because the match information also indicated that she had a tree. Hooray for that!

When I opened her match information, I saw immediately that the first shared surname was Huuskonen, which is the spelling that my paternal grandparents used before coming to America and dropping a “u” out of our family name. The other surnames shared between our trees were familiar to me, including the maiden name of my grandmother: Hytönen.

I used’s messaging system to contact Riikka as follows:

Hei Riikka,
I am Wallace Huskonen, a cousin from America and we have DNA matches and surname matches. If you are interested, I can invite you to my Huskonen (spelling modified in America) family tree on My grandparents came to America in 1902 and 1903 from Vesanto.
Sorry, I don’t write or speak Finnish, but my brother Walfrid does, if you want to share with us.
Wallace Huskonen, Brecksville, Ohio, USA.

I was pleasantly surprised when she responded quickly, with information about her ancestry. It turned out that her mother’s maiden name was Huuskonen, and her family also came from Vesanto. Sadly, her mother passed away two years ago, but Riikka contacted her aunt. A quick response from Aunt Aune indicated that she had heard about my visit to the Vesanto area at the end of June.

So I was hooked. I entered Riikka’s information from her tree into my tree extending her line back a few generations.

Parent Suggestions: A New Feature from

Then I discovered a new feature offered by Parent Suggestions. This is sort of a mega-hint in which compiles a profile about a possible father or mother. You take a look at it and if you can confirm the suggested relationship, a simple click adds the suggested parent to your tree. Using this feature I was able to add several generations to my line and to Riikka’s line.

Then I found our common ancestor: Johan Pehrson Huuskonen, b 1688, d 1764, Horontaipale, Rautalampi, Kuopio, Finland. (Note that his given names are Swedish as the priests recorded records back then in that language. Later records would be recorded with Finnish given names.) In his profile, told me that he was my fifth-great grandfather. Counting the generations for Riikka’s line, I learned that he was her sixth-great grandfather. Using a Relationship Chart (see below), I determined that we were sixth cousins, once removed.

This cousin relationship was within the prediction of our match calculated by AncestryDNA.

We have communicated some more using our email addresses rather than through the messaging system. Riikka reports that she has uploaded her DNA raw data to other websites. I have too, so that gives us further opportunities for discovering other cousin matches in Finland, in the USA, and possibly elsewhere in the world.

On this cousin relationship chart: Our Common Ancestor Johan is placed at the intersection of column 1 and row 1. Along row 1, I placed Me under 5th Great Grandson in Column 8. In column 1, I placed Riikka at Row 9 under 6th Great Grandaughter. The intersection of Colum 8 down and Row 9 across shows our degree of cousinship: Ssixth Cousin Once Removed.

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 Common Ancestor
Son or Daughter Grandson or Daughter Great Grandson or Daughter 2nd Great Grandson or Daughter 3rd Great Grandson or Daughter 4th Great Grandson or Daughter 5th Great Grandson or Daughter
2 Son or Daughter Siblings (Brother or Sister) Nephew or Niece Grand Nephew or Niece Great Grand Nephew or Niece 2nd Great Grand Nephew or Niece 3rd Great Grand Nephew or Niece 4th Great Grand Nephew or Niece
3 Grandson or Daughter Nephew or Niece First Cousin First Cousin Once Removed First Cousin Twice Removed First Cousin Three Times Removed First Cousin Four Times Removed First Cousin Five Times Removed
4 Great Grandson or Daughter Grand Nephew or Niece First Cousin Once Removed Second Cousin Second Cousin Once Removed Second Cousin Twice Removed Second Cousin Three Times Removed Second Cousin Four Times Removed
5 2nd Great Grandson or Daughter Great Grand Nephew or Niece First Cousin Twice Removed Second Cousin Once Removed Third Cousin Third Cousin Once Removed Third Cousin Twice Removed Third Cousin Three Times Removed
6 3rd Great Grandson or Daughter 2nd Great Grand Nephew or Niece First Cousin Three Times Removed Second Cousin Twice Removed Third Cousin Once Removed Fourth Cousin Fourth Cousin Once Removed Fourth Cousin Twice Removed
7 4th Great Grandson or Daughter 3rd Great Grand Nephew or Niece First Cousin Four Times Removed Second Cousin Three Times Removed Third Cousin Twice Removed Fourth Cousin Once Removed Fifth Cousin Fifth Cousin Once Removed
8 5th Great Grandson or Daughter 4th Great Grand Nephew or Niece First Cousin Five Times Removed Second Cousin Four Times Removed Third Cousin Three Times Removed Fourth Cousin Twice Removed Fifth Cousin Once Removed Sixth Cousin
9 6th Great Grandson or Daughter
5th Great Grand Nephew or Niece First Cousin Six Times Removed Second Cousin Five Times Removed Third Cousin Four Times Removed Fourth Cousin Three Times Removed Fifth Cousin Twice Removed Sixth Cousin Once Removed
10 7th Great Grandson or Daughter 6th Great Grand Nephew or Niece First Cousin Seven Times Removed Second Cousin Six Times Removed Third Cousin Five Times Removed Fourth Cousin Four Times Removed Fifth Cousin Three Times Removed Sixth Cousin Twice Removed








Smallest Restaurant in World Is Where? In Finland!


My friend Amy sent an email to me recently with an interesting subject: “The Smallest Restaurant in the World.” It turns out that this restaurant — which seats only two people — is in Finland. Amy found this bit of trivia on a website named Atlas Obscura at

I went to the website to read its article on this tiny restaurant and view the photos. I am copying the short article  for your convenience (I’m sure Atlas Obscura won’t mind the publicity):

Though you may not think it to look at it, this small yellow wooden cabin down by the water is actually a restaurant named Kuappi. A sign out front proudly declares it as the smallest restaurant in the world.

A few restaurants around the world claim to be the world’s smallest, but this tiny establishment in Iisalmi, Finland, is a Guinness World Record holder, and unique among contenders for being the only one in a self-contained building. The dining room takes up less than half of the cabin’s 86 square feet (8 square meters), and can only fit two guests.

The entire restaurant consists of a tiny kitchen, table, two chairs, bathroom, and a small terrace that (weather permitting) can sit another two guests. Despite the small size, there’s still a full bar, but in order to fit it in the cabin all the alcohol is kept in mini-bottles.

Because of the restaurant’s very limited space, you’ll need to reserve a table in advance. But once you get there you can be sure that the one and only table in Kuappi is yours.

Know Before You Go
Restaurant Kuappi is located in the town of Iisalmi, Finland. You will find it down by the water just a few blocks away from the main street and the shopping center. Make sure to make a reservation in advance.

Here are four of the photos from the website:






It would have been fun to visit Kauppi during my recent visit to Finland, but sadly it was not on my jam-packed itinerary.

If you want to see the web page and view larger versions of the photos, go here. Emails Me with Hints for Relatives


Today (06 Aug 2018) I opened an email sent to my Gmail account yesterday by It advised me that I had records for ancestors or relatives to possibly attach to my FamilySearch Family Tree (I am referring here to only my little section of FamilySearch’s Family Tree).

There were several records listed for a variety of extended family members, including 22 records for Finnish relatives on my father’s side. Among these, there was one from Finland for my great grandfather Otto; other records from Finland were for other distant relatives. There were American records as well, including ones for my grandfather Evert, my aunt Edith, and my uncle Hugh. On my mother’s side, there a variety of records among the 18 for close and distant relatives.

The email provided these instructions about how to review and attach a record hint after you click on Find Your Relative’s Hints:

Compare the information on the record (left) against the information already known about the person in the tree (right).

If information like names, dates, places, and relationships match up, state the reason that this record belongs to the person then click attach record.

I followed the instructions to the letter and checked out each of the record “hints.” They all passed my scrutiny and so I added them to the appropriate relatives on my little section of the Family Tree on

Note: In March 2013 Family Tree was added to the site. It is available to any registered user. As a user views a family in their tree, he or she may see hints of historical documents related to that family. Family Tree has replaced When I created my account four or five years ago, I wondered why required me to enter an email address. Now I know why.

Thanks, FamilySearch!

Do You Know the Origin of “Cut and Paste”?


This post doesn’t have much to do with Collecting Ancestors, but it does have to do with my own history and I want to record it here for other folks to read, especially younger ones.

On Facebook today, I saw a post asking viewers if they had ever used an upright mechanical typewriter. I learned how to type on a mechanical typewriter in 7th or 8th grade in Andover, Ohio. Then I used such typewriters every day when I started my trade magazine journalism career Penton Publishing (later Penton Media) in 1960.

The other day, I talked about “cut and paste” with a 30-something as she was entering info into her iPad. She was familiar with the term as it is used in computing today, but she had no idea where it came from.

Of course, I then had to explain that back in the day (throughout the 1960s and early 1970s) we moved our typewritten copy around in a manuscript (or document in today’s terminology) by cutting it with long-bladed scissors. I still have my scissors from Penton Media (I put my name on them so they wouldn’t “walk away”).

After we cut our manuscript (document) into strips of copy, we rearranged them for typesetting using rubber cement to paste them onto new sheets of paper. Anybody remember rubber cement?


Distant Cousin was LDS Pioneer


This morning (22 Jul 2018), I received an email from FamilySearch that I had a Pioneer Relative.

When I clicked on the provided link I learned that this ancestor was Jacob Gibson, born 01 Jan 1814 in West Fallowfield Twp, Chester Co., Pennsylvania.

I immediately searched to see if I had him listed in my Huskonen-Dingman-Van Court-Scheppelman family tree on I did, but with very little detail and only three little green leaves indicating hints.

I clicked through to Jacob on FamilySearch and used the info I found there to add to my family tree that his mother was Jane Elizabeth Brush, 1781-1855. Immediately the hints grew to 18. Also, Ancestry calculated that Jacob was my 1st cousin 4x removed.

I haven’t reviewed and checked all the hints on yet, but one piece of information provided there indicates that he was baptized by the Church of Latter Day Saints in Philadelphia on 14 Sep 1846. On FamilySearch, there is data showing that he migrated to Utah in 1850, hence the LDS Pioneer Relative designation.

More quick facts: he was one of 10 children; he had four wives, three of whom died during his lifetime, with the fourth marriage possibly ending in divorce. Jacob Gibson died on 1 May 1882 in Salt Lake City and was buried there.

There is much more to review and analyze, between FamilySearch and I haven’t even looked to see what might be reported on I can say this: Jacob Gibson, my first cousin 4x removed,  lived a very interesting life.

Workshop: Getting Help with Your Genealogy Research


I have been doing genealogical research for over 20 years now (Wow! Has it really been that long?). Along the way, I sought and received information about blood relatives — and collateral relatives — from other researchers both in America and abroad.

On Saturday, Sept 8, 2018, I plan to share some of my experiences in a workshop at the Western Reserve Historical Society. I will cover hiring a research firm for a project, working with individual researchers here and abroad, using social media, asking questions of new-found cousins, and more. I will show examples of what was provided to me and how it enhanced the history of my family.

I intend to lead a hands-on session in the library to introduce attendees to some online resources for seeking help with a research question.

The workshop will be held in the Hassler Room at WRHS’s Cleveland History Center, 0825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, from noon to 3 pm. There is a fee of $15 to cover the cost of handouts.

To register, go here, or email:

Hope to see you there.