Baked Beans–And a Trip Down Memory Lane


In today’s issue of The Plain Dealer, the local paper (that I have to read online on Tuesdays because it only prints papers on Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday), there was an article about a Food and Drug Administration recall of Bush’s Country Style Baked Beans. As it turned out, I had a can of this product in my pantry shelves. I jumped up and took a look at the can to see if it was part of the recall.

Doing this started me thinking about baked beans. I really like them and often include them at our family picnics or take them as my contribution to potluck events. I often use the bean pot given to me by Mrs. Mac, the housemother of my Sigma Chi fraternity chapter, when I became pinned to Mary Jane during college.

Sigma Chi bean pot

I wanted to learn more about the history of baked beans. So I opened my Google Chrome browser and searched for “origins of baked beans.” Of course, there were several “hits,” but the best was on a blog named A Brief History of Food, by Karen Miller. She posted “A Brief History of Baked Beans” on Jan 3, 2015. Here are excerpts:

When I was a young girl, my mother made Boston Baked Beans every Saturday night, served with Boston Brown Bread and hot dogs. This was a tradition in our family, and I thought that everyone ate beans on Saturdays.

Baked beans and Boston brown bread

Now our family didn’t have baked beans every Saturday night as we were growing up in Andover, Ohio, but my mother did serve them every now and then–and she did include the Boston Brown Bread and hot dogs. I haven’t had the bread in years, but reading this and seeing the photo brought back the taste immediately. I’m going to have to check on my next visit to the store to see if it is available these days.

Ms. Miller continued her blog posting with the following history lesson:

Little did I know there was a reason for preparing beans on Saturday, which stemmed from Colonial America, and our Puritan upbringing. Sunday was the Sabbath; no work was allowed on that day, and that included cooking. Most Puritans spent Sunday in church, and during the winter months, their austere places of worship were cold and drafty. Because there was no cooking there would be no warm or filling meal at the end of the day, if not for the miracle of baked beans. Beans were prepared on Saturday, and the leftovers were kept in the oven until Sunday. The wood fired ovens would hold their heat, and keep the beans warm enough so the church goers would have a hearty meal when they returned home.

Food history blogger Miller continued with other information about baked beans and the bread, including more history and her favorite recipes.

As you might imagine, other websites, including Wikipedia, offered information about baked beans and variations called stewed beans and cowboy beans (served from chuck wagons on cattle drives).

Now back to my can of Bush’s baked beans: the produce code


on my can was different from those specified for the recall. So I feel confident I can enjoy them in the near future, maybe with Boston Brown Bread and hot dogs. Yummy!



Conversion to LastPass


Well, here I am again. Finally.

I have been very busy daily for more than a week with transitioning from Roboform as my password manager to LastPass. I have completed that process and checked out each of 195 different log-in/sign-in items. They all work after I updated some obsolete URLs and passwords in my Roboform database.

Roboform did a good job for me for many years, but it wasn’t working well on my iPhone. Having recently obtained an iPhone 7 to use with my Verizon account, I was very interested in a more up-to-date password manager. Roboform was created for use on desktop PCs and worked pretty well in that environment, but even with some user interface changes, it did not perform well for me in the iOS environment (iPad and iPhone).

Now I am able to have LastPass on all my devices and log in to online accounts and websites wherever I am. In fact, all I need is my master password to access LastPass wherever I am, because it was created to be cloud-based from its inception.

FYI, more than one-third of the logins are for accounts and websites related to genealogy and family history. Duh!

The fact that LastPass is easy to use on multiple devices is important. For example, anytime I need to look up a birthday, I can access my main tree on with my desktop PC, laptop PC, iPad, or iPhone and find the answer.

I am happy that I invested the many hours in making the transition to LastPass.

RootsMagic Releases New Version with TreeShare with


Yesterday was an exciting day. RootsMagic finally released its TreeShare functionality with This means that a RootsMagic family tree can be linked with an family tree. Hints from Ancestry will show up in the shared RootsMagic tree. And changes made in either tree can be carried over to the other.

This requires downloading an updated version of RootsMagic 7 (you need to own this database software) to your computer and going through some simple steps to activate the TreeShare functionality.  Those include downloading an Ancestry tree to RootsMagic or vice versa so that you have the same tree “in the cloud” on Ancestry and on your computer in Rootsmagic. Then you can use the full power of TreeShare to add new records to both trees.

At the moment, I have only viewed Bruce Buzbee’s video on how to do this and what the advantages are for doing so. Go here to see this relatively easy to understand video. You have to scroll down the web page to find the screen capture with the start link.

I will be trying this out today and report back. Watch this space.


FamilySearch Will Discontinue Microfilm Distribution


The following announcement was made by on 26 Jun 2017:

On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services. (The last day to order microfilm will be on August 31, 2017.)

The change is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.
• Online access to digital images of records allows FamilySearch to reach many more people, faster and more efficiently.
• FamilySearch is a global leader in historic records preservation and access, with billions of the world’s genealogical records in its collections.
• Over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images) have been digitized by FamilySearch, including the most requested collections based on microfilm loan records worldwide.
• The remaining microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020, and all new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment.
• Family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home.

Digital images of historical records can be accessed today in three places on under Search:
• Records include historical records indexed by name or organized with an image browse.
• Books include digital copies of books from the Family History Library and other libraries.
• Catalog includes a description of genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, etc.) in the FamilySearch collection.

When approved by priesthood leaders, centers may continue to maintain microfilm collections already on loan from FamilySearch after microfilm ordering ends. Centers have the option to return microfilm that is available online or otherwise not needed. As more images are published online, centers may reevaluate whether to retain microfilm holdings.

Married almost 57 Years


Yesterday would have been 57 years of marriage for my wife and me. Mary Jane (MJ) and I were married on 25 Jun 1960. Unfortunately, she passed away on 19 May 2017, just 37 days shy of that 57th wedding anniversary.

It was tough not being able to celebrate this latest marriage milestone with her. Several times throughout yesterday, I had to stop and realize the loss of my companion for well over 57 years. We first met each other when Mary Jane Van Court and her classmates from Richmond Township joined me and my Andover classmates in seventh grade in the Andover school system.

When you add in our junior and senior high school years in the same homeroom class, plus our college years, I knew MJ for 66 years. For most of those years, we dated steadily, and we did the same during our four years of college. MJ went to Baldwin Wallace College and I went to Case Institute of Technology. The two schools were about a half hour’s drive apart in the Cleveland area so it was easy to see each other on frequent dates. We got married very shortly after each of us graduated.

My son Kurt helped me commemorate the day by taking me out to dinner with his girlfriend, Jan. Thanks, Kurt. It helped a lot.


Ending Editorship of Footsteps to Past Newsletter


Today, I completed laying out my last issue as editor of Footsteps to the Past, the quarterly newsletter of the Cuyahoga Genealogical Society, a chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. Martha Nienhaus is taking over as editor and will put together the Fall 2017 issue.

When John Stoika died in May in 2013, I took over the Footsteps editorship. I included the following note in the June 2013 issue:

New Look for Footsteps

With this issue, Footsteps to the Past takes on a slightly different look. I am using a different electronic publishing program [Microsoft Publisher] from the one John Stoika used [Print Shop Pro]. This required drawing up new templates for the pages of the newsletter. Also, I decided to increase the type size slightly and to use an alignment known as “flush left, ragged right” rather that the justified alignment used before. This gives the newsletter a less formal appearance, and I believe that it makes is a bit easier to read as well. Let me know what you think.

Going forward, I will be looking for article contributions from CVGS members. We all like to read case studies of successful research, so why not write one up and share it through this newsletter. Favorite memories of family life are welcome too.

This was my second stint as editor of Footsteps. I served as editor from the September 1996 issue until the Jun3 1999 issue. Jack Braverman and then John Stoika stepped up and served as editor. Incidentally, if you want to check out previous issues of Footsteps, go to our website,, and open the Members section. You’ll find a complete run of issues there under newsletters.

Now, Martha Nienhaus is taking over as editor. She has indicated to me that she has some changes in mind for the layout. What will remain the same is the need for articles from CVGS members. I urged CVGS members to let her know if they have an article to contribute. I plan to submit articles to her from time to time going forward.

Finnish Research Strategies and Records


I get my start in genealogy during a visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake in 1992. It was during a business trip and the colleague that I was traveling with said that he was visiting the Library in the evening. He agreed to take me along.

While there, I did some checking for my Finnish ancestors in databases on CDs. This was the International Genealogical Index and consisted of transcribed information from records in Finland. This was years before was introduced and before the vast digitization effort now being conducted by the LDS Church for their members and the public.

Over the years, I tried to keep up with improvements in access to Finnish records for family history research. It was a hit or miss process.

Recently, I accessed the website and checked out the wiki pages on Finland Genealogy. Wow! I was really impressed with the organized approach to explaining what was available and how to access it. There is considerable information available for online researchers. Other types of information are available at the Family History Library.

I have bookmarked the section headlined “Finland Record Selection Table” and plan to work my way through the various data types and sources.

One note: I did visit Finland in 1996 and was able to tour cemeteries in Vesanto and Rautalampi. In Vesanto, I requested family records from a clerk in the parish records office and she was able to complete the request in a couple of hours while I toured the area in my rental car. I paid a small fee for her work, which was nicely typed up. I know now that she consulted microfilms that today form the basis of online databases of Finnish church records.


Flu Pandemic Claims a WWI Soldier from Ohio


This is another installment in my ongoing WWI research to commemorate America’s Centennial of entering the War in 1917.

“To Appear Saturday” read the headline on page 9 in the Hutchinson News for Tuesday, 16 Jul 1918. The Reno County, Kansas, newspaper was reporting that local men had been notified to appear for physical examinations:

Thirty-three men have been notified to appear at the Elks club at 9 o’clock Saturday morning for a physical examination. This list includes most of the men remaining in the 1918 registration and some of the men who have been reclassified. A large number of 1918 registrants are appearing in the morning for examinations. The work starts at nine o’clock.

On the list was Bert C. Butcher, 607 N. Main, Hutchinson.1 I was researching him because he was the son of my wife’s paternal grandmother, Mary Heinselman Butcher. I knew that he was in the Army and had died in 1918. I wanted to find out more.

Albert C., aka Bert, was born on 28 Apr 1889 in Bern Township, Athens County, Ohio, to Mary and Albert T. Butcher.2 Albert T. died in 189233 and Mary then married James S. Van Court, my wife’s grandfather.4

Bert was enumerated as Albert C. Vancourt in 1900 in Grant’s Pass, Ritchie County, West Virginia, living in the household of James S. Vancourt.5 Using the Vancourt surname was probably a simplification of the situation as I have found no record of a formal adoption. Also, Bert used the Butcher surname or variations throughout his lifetime. Note also that the Vancourt surname was often spelled Van Court over the years.

The Vancourt household migrated to Richmond Center, Ashtabula County, Ohio, in the early years of the twentieth century. It was there that Bert met and married Illene Ida Carter on 10 May 1913.6 Almost a year later, on 4 Apr 1914, a daughter, Louise Ida Butcher, was born to the couple. Unfortunately, Illene died four days later.7 Louise died a year later on 20 Apr 1915.8

Bert moved to Hutchinson, Reno County, Kansas sometime in 1915 to live with cousins. He was enumerated as Albert Butcher in the Kansas State Census for 1915 (no enumeration date was given) as living in the household of E. E. Bourquin, husband of Mary Jane Heinselman, his mother’s niece.9 Bert’s occupation at the time was “casual laborer.”

Two years later, on 5 Jun 1917, he registered for the WWI draft in Hutchinson.10 He reported that he was married (this suggests that he remarried in Kansas) and that his wife was dependent on him. He also reported that he had been serving in the Kansas National Guard for a year. His occupation at this point was “auto painting.” Curiously, the draft card was made out for Bert C Butcser and that is the way he signed the card. Two hand-written notations apparently were added later by officials: his surname was crossed out and Butcher was added and the word “Deceased” was written diagonally across the card.

Bert no doubt reported for his physical on 20 Jul 1918 as required.  From his death record on an online website at listing Kansas WWI Casualties, we learn that Buteser [misspelling of surname variation Butcser], Bert C, Pvt, of Hutchinson was shipped off to Camp Pike in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, on 15 Aug 1918.11 Camp Pike was one of many American Army training bases where thousands of troops fell ill with flu and many died. His death was reported as taking place in the Camp Pike Base Hospital on 27 Sep 1918. Cause of death was marked D for disease. More than half of the entries in this database died due to disease. There was no particular disease identified in this record set.

Authorities eventually identified flu as being responsible for the deaths of thousands of WWI soldiers in America and abroad. When the flu pandemic had run its course, it had killed as many as 50 million people worldwide.12

The Kansas website mentioned above provides the information that Bert served with the 41 Cas Co 162 Dep Brig. 61 Co 16 Receiving Bn 162 Dep Brig, which agrees with details on his headstone.

In another section of the same online database, titled “Relatives of Deceased Soldiers,” there is an entry for Mrs. Bert C. Buteser [sic], wife, 607 N. Main St., Hutchinson, Ks. 13

According to a newspaper report show above, Mrs. Viola Butcser was notified of his death14 and she arranged for his remains to be transported back to Hutchinson. He was buried in the Hutchinson East Cemetery. The cemetery stone below shows that he served in the 61st Co. 16 Reg. Btn 162 DB.15

From the newspaper report above, I learned that wife No. 2’s given name was Viola and that she was living with her father, Frank Wright. That suggested she was Viola Wright before marrying Bert. To date, I have found no marriage record for the couple.

The newspaper report gave me her given name and her probable maiden name, plus the fact that she had a baby daughter at the time of Bert’s death. With this information, I was able to track much of Viola Butcser/Butcher’s ongoing life in Hutchinson. as a widow. An interesting fact revealed in the 1930 Census was that she was employed as a nurse.16 Perhaps her husband’s death due to flu had something to do with her becoming a nurse.


  1. Newspaper report listing men required to report for enlistment. Hutchinson News 16 Jul 1918, p 9, Hutchinson, Reno, Kansas, USA. Online database record at
  2. Albert C Butcher birth record, Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962. Online database at
  3. A. T. Butcher death and burial record, Church of Christ Cemetery, Pike, Ritchie County, West Virginia. Online database record accessed at
  4. Marriage of James S Vancourt and Mary Butcher, 1900 Census, West Virginia, Ritchie County, Grant District (the couple were married five years previously). Online database record accessed at
  5. Ibid. Census record shows Albert C. Vancourt living in the household of James S. Vancourt in 1900.
  6. License and return for the marriage of Albert Charles Butcher and Illene Ida Carter in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Ohio County Marriages online database at
  7. Death and burial record for Illene Carter Butcher, wife of Bert Butcher, buried in Richmond Center Cemetery, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Online database record accessed at
  8. Death and burial record for Louise Ida Butcher, daughter of Bert Butcher, buried in Richmond Center Cemetery, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Online database record accessed at
  9. Albert Butcher enumerated in E. E. Bourquin household, line 2, Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925. Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; Roll: ks1915_194; Line: 2, Online database record accessed at
  10. Bert C. Butcser’s [sic] registration for the WWI draft in Reno County, Kansas. Online database record accessed at
  11. Report of Bert’s death due to disease. Transcribed from Kansas Casualties in the World War – 1917-1919: Regular Army, National Guard, National Army, Enlisted Reserve Corps, compiled under Supervision of the Adjutant General of Kansas, printed by Kansas State Printing Plant, Imri Zumwalt, State Printer, Topeka. 1921. 8-4185. Accessed online at
  12. “1918 flu pandemic,” detailed article accessed at
  13. Next of kin listing, see Kansas Casualties in the World War – 1917-1919, online database above. Click on “Relatives and Friends of Deceased Soldiers” for the record.
  14. Newspaper report about Bert’s death. Hutchinson News 27 Sep 1918, page 6, Hutchinson, Reno, Kansas, USA. Online database record accessed at
  15. Death and burial record for Bert C. Butcsher [sic], buried in Hutchinson Eastside Cemetery accessed online at
  16. Viola C. Butcser enumerated in the household of her father, Frank Wright, 1930 Federal Census, Hutchinson, Reno County, Kansas. Her occupation is shown as “nurse.” Online database record accessed at


Resumption of Posting to This Blog


It’s hard to believe but it has been one month and two days since I last posted to this blog. The subject of that post was to record the passing of my wife Mary Jane, MJ for short, on May 19. Since then it has been quite an adjustment not having her present in my daily life.

At first, I was quite busy planning a Celebration of Life for MJ. We held it on June 4 at Nosek-McCreery Funeral Home here in Brecksville. We had the assistance of a professional celebrant, Kevin O’Brien. He organized a wonderful service for our family and friends. Afterward, we shared a catered meal in the funeral home’s hospitality room.

Then I got busy taking care of MJ’s affairs. Since we had joint ownership of everything, we don’t have to go through probate, but there were credit card accounts to be closed, insurance notifications, and other details. With her affairs mostly settled now, I can devote time again to genealogy and family history research — and posting on this blog. Stay tuned.

Mary Jane Van Court Huskonen 1938-2017


On Friday, 19 May 2017, we said goodbye to our wife and mother, Mary Jane. She had suffered from dementia as well as hip and shoulder problems during the last three years. After a brief hospital stay in April, followed by four weeks in a skilled nursing facility, she lived out her final days at home. A team from Cleveland Clinic Hospice at Home assisted in making her as comfortable as possible. I and daughter Karen and son Kurt were at her side when she passed away.

I have collected and studied many death notices over the years while practicing my avocation of genealogy, so I thought it would be appropriate to prepare a death notice for her. Here is what we will be sending to family and friends today, and to various newspapers:

Mary Jane Huskonen
Mary Jane (Van Court) Huskonen passed away May 19 at her home in Brecksville, Ohio. She was born December 12, 1938 the daughter of Clyde and Meta (Scheppelmann) Van Court in Richmond Center, Ashtabula County, Ohio, who preceded her in death.

Known as MJ by family and friends, she is survived by her husband of 57 years, Wallace Dingman Huskonen, as well as daughter Karen Frame (Matthew) of Honeoye Falls, New York, son Kurt Huskonen, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, and grandchildren Korey and Kayley Huskonen and Maegan, Kaelyn, and Matthew Frame. A brother, Sidney August Van Court, preceded her in death in 2000.

She graduated from Andover High School, Andover, Ohio, in 1956 as class valedictorian. She then studied at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. After graduating from BW in 1960, she taught elementary music in the Parma Public Schools for eight years. She then helped start the South Suburban Montessori School in Brecksville, and served as its director for three years. During the early 1980s, she served as business manager of Infocom Productions, an audio-visual production business she owned with her husband. Later, she worked at Modern Curriculum Press in Strongsville as an education materials sales specialist, and at Penton Media, Cleveland, in the payroll department. Recently, she operated the Huskonen Piano Studio from her home in Brecksville, during which she shared her love for playing the piano with dozens of students.

She was a member and officer of the Cleveland Piano Teachers Organization, and a member of the Music Teachers National Association.

A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at the Nosek-McCreery Funeral Home in Brecksville at a date to be announced.

We knew her death was coming, so we were somewhat prepared. Still, it will be a huge adjustment to no longer have MJ with me sharing life’s adventures.