Uncle Russ, the Poet

Kees

Lisa Emmett recently contacted me about my Uncle Russ. She read my post about him – “In Memoriam – Russell Erwin Kees (1927-2016)” – and wondered if my uncle was the author of a poem she had.

Apparently, her mother died last year and as she was going through her mother’s things, she found a poem in a jewelry box by Russell E. Kees. As we compared notes, we learned that both her mother, the former Rosella VanderKlok, and my Uncle Russ were born in 1927, so they were contemporaries. Additionally, Rosella grew up and lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, until the 1950s. My uncle lived in Grand Rapids from about 1937 to about 1944. So they were in the same place at the same time. So, there is no doubt in my mind that the poem, “To Rosa” is a poem from my uncle to a young woman, written sometime from when they were teens, probably 16 or 17 years old.

Photo of Russell Kees in army uniform
Russell Kees c. 1952

Rosella VanderKlok

TO ROSIE

“Rosa” by Russell E. Kees

I’ll admit I’m rather slow,
When it comes to words of grace,
So I’ll tell it to you in a poem,
Rather than face to face.

I realize we’ve barely met,
Except for a week or two,
But I think that the time is coming close,
To speak of my love for you.

No don’t get red and blush and fret,
‘Cause it happens every day,
Boy meets girl, and falls in love,
That’s why I feel this way.

I may joke like I did last night,
About things we were going to do,
But deep inside, I keep the hope,
That someday they might come true.

I was happy to see you wear my ring,
And although I have no right,
To lie here in bed and think of you,
As mine for a single night.

I’ve tried for an hour to write a poem,
Explaining just how I feel,
But after I’ve read it, (and I’m glad that I said it)
I feel like a lowdown feel.

So here is the poem I said I would write,
God help me for being blunt,
But truth is stranger than fiction, you know,
And the true is, this poem’s NO stunt.

May God give me the courage to look you in the eye again
after you’ve read this!!!!!!

THE WORST THING I’VE EVER WRITTEN
(But the Truest)

                           by Russell E. Kees

Russell and Rosa must have had a very special relationship for Rosa to have kept the poem for nearly 75 years. The poem also provides insight into Russell, whose youth experiences have always been a mystery to me.  My thanks to Lisa for sharing this glimpse into their teenage lives.

Ancestry’s ThruLines – Part 2

General Genealogy
DNA, Brown Line
By Don Taylor

I was recently asked what I thought about Ancestry’s new ThruLinestm feature, how much did I use it and what do I accept from it. In using autosomal DNA results, it is always good to have a very wide tree. The wider your tree is, the more cousins you have identified, the more likely you will be able to determine the relationship between you and a DNA match.

So, I decided to look at the matches that reach my great-grandparents, Arthur and Mary (Manning) Brown. They had 12 children, 11 of whom reached adulthood, so I figured there would be many cousins there.

ThruLines for Arthur Durwood Brown (Partial)

I tend to analyze each person left to right, so I started with a 2nd cousin, descended from Victoria Brown.

ThruLines – Victoria Brown Segment
  1. Look at the centimorgan (cM) match amount. In this first case, the individual and I share 134 cM across nine segments. Our trees suggest we are 2nd The Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4 at DNAPainter.com https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4 indicates that 2nd cousins should share between 46 and 515 cm of genetic material. So, our match is within the expected range.
  2. Does the other person’s tree match yours? In this case, we have all of the same data for her grandmother. In order to accept a ThruLinestm display, both 1 and 2 must pass.
  3. Do the other descendant entries make sense? In this case, the cousin’s father is still living (and thus redacted). I had the same person with no discrepancies in data. Therefore, I am sure of the match. I did contact the individual to learn of her first name and then entered her into my tree in the right place.
ThruLines – Edward Brown Segment

The next cousin to analyze is a descendant of Edward Lewis Brown. This cousin and I share 144 cM over seven segments, well within the expected range for 2nd cousins, once removed.

According to ThruLines, this match a great-granddaughter of Edward through her mother and her grandmother both of which have private entries.  My records indicate that Edward had ten children, seven of whom were girls. I also don’t have information on any of the granddaughters of Edward. As such, I can’t place this individual on the tree at all. I then contacted the cousin and asked her about her connection to Edward Brown. Her mother and her grandmother’s name if possible.  Once I receive that information, if her grandmother matches one of my known children of Edward Brown, I will accept her and her mother’s names from her tree.

ThruLines Arthur Brown Segment

Cousin number 3 was somewhat expected. The amount of DNA, 98 cM, fit expectations for 2nd cousins once removed. I had identical information for her grandfather and her great grandfather. Looking at my data, I had four potential women (all living) who could be the mother of this cousin. I contacted her and asked which of the sisters was her mother. She replied, and I placed her onto my tree.

I followed a similar process for all of the other cousins that ThruLinestm provided connections to.

As you can see, my process it to:

  1. Confirm the shared DNA amount matches expectations for the relationship.
  2. Confirm the cousin’s descendants from the common ancestor and a known child of the common ancestor.
  3. Analyze the remaining path to the cousin, assuring things make sense.

Then, I accept the individual’s tree as “tentative” from the grandchild of the common ancestor to the cousin.

I like ThruLinestm, but only for widening my tree to include individuals that are descendants of a known family unit.


Note: I do not even consider anything in the individual’s tree before our common ancestor.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

My Irish Ancestry

Brown/Sanford/Parsons/Maben
Roberts/Scott

My Ancestry – 18% Irish, 82% “Great Britain”

I grew up being told I was English, Irish, and French. And modern DNA testing results have confirmed that.  Ancestry indicates that I am 18 percent Irish and the rest “Great Britain” which included England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and part of Germany.

I have discovered very few immigrant ancestors among my Ancestors. Only two that I know of were born in Ireland.  The first one is a sixth great-grandfather on my Brown line.

John Maben (1753-1813) was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1753[i]. He came to America and fought in the American Revolution. He served with Capt. Abner Hawley and Col. Peter Van Ness in the 9th Regt., Albany County Militia[ii]. In 1781, he married Sally Pierce in Connecticut. He died in Lexington, Greene County, New York in 1813.

Interestingly enough Slemish, in County Antrim, is the location that Saint Patrick was a slave for seven years.

Descendants of John Maben include:

My second Irish ancestor is a seventh great-grandfather on my Roberts line.

James Scott (1719-1783) was born in Northern Ireland in 1719. His wife’s name was Ester and he died in Virginia in 1783. I have not researched him in depth, consequently, I know little else about him.

Descendants of James Scott include:

  •             William Jarvis Scott (____-____)
  •             John Scott (1784-1855)
  •             Samuel Kinkade Scott (1809-____)
  •             William Hunt Scott (1834-1903)
  •             Samuel Vaden Scott (1863-1931)
  •             Clora Dell Scott (1883-1945)
  •             Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949)
  •             Hugh Eugene Roberts (1926-1997)
  •             Me

Today, Saint Patrick’s Day, 2019, I raise a glass and toast my Irish ancestry.


ENDNOTES

[i] It is possible that John Maben was born in the town of Antrim in County Antrim.
[ii] Daughters of the American Revolution, “Ancestor Search”, DAR, Maben, John – Patriot: A072838.

Cleanup Week – Mary Elizabeth (Mannin/Manning) Brown

This week was a clean-up week. I updated and corrected the sources I had supporting facts in the life of Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown (1878-1983).  “Grandma Brown” was the oldest ancestor that I recall ever meeting. She was born 72 years before I was born and was well into her 80s when I remember first seeing her. She is also my oldest known ancestor, having lived to be 105 years old.

Besides updating her sketch on my website, I updated and added many sources about her life facts to her entry on Family Search. I also added a couple of photos and a few documents, and a story I recalled about her. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/L81G-LLQ

If you have photos of Mary Brown you can share, I’d love to see them. Please send to me or share them on Family Search.

Minerva Mannin’s Parents?

It has been a while since I’ve written about my Brown Line. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching one of my most confounding ancestors, my 3rd great-grandmother, Minerva Ann Tolliver. I’m alone in my thoughts about her parents.  Family Search’s Family Tree indicates her parents are Elijah Toliver and Martha Mannin[i]. Likewise, when I check the hints on Ancestry, there are 10 Ancestry Member Trees suggested.  All 10 of them indicate her parents were Elijah Toliver and Martha Mannin. My tree seems to be the only one that indicates Minerva’s father was Tulion Tolliver. That always concerns me.  It is like marching and saying “everyone is out of step except for me.”  In reality, it is much more likely that I am out of step.

So, I’ve been going through all my records and making sure I’ve gleaned every fact about Minerva and her parents out of them. Sadly, the only record I’ve found indicated that Minerva’s father was Tulion Mannin. I have seen speculation by some researchers that Minerva’s mother was Martha Mannin [nee unknown]. That Martha had Minerva in 1821 and then remarried Elijah Toliver in 1825[ii]. Minerva then used the surname of Toliver as that was common during that period.

A second theory suggested on the Internet is that Minerva was full-blooded Native American. If so, her parents would not have been included in any census records because Indians living in the general population were not enumerated until 1860. If Minerva were native, a mitochondrial DNA test of one of her mitochondrial descendants should answer that question.

Probably the biggest problem I have is that I’m not confident that Minerva’s death record citing her father’s name being Tulion is accurate. Whoever provided the information didn’t report who her mother was, which suggests they didn’t know Minera’s ancestry very well. Additionally, though she died in in 1902 at the age of 82, there is another entry on the page indicating she was born in 1823. An 1823 birthyear is inconsistent with all other documents regarding her birth. So, if her year of birth is incorrect, then any other birth information on the document is suspect.

Finally, I’m not convinced that Minerva was Native American (see DNA, X-chromosome & Minerva Tolliver).

Until I discover documents which clearly indicate Minerva’s parentage or learn of mitochondrial DNA test results think that Minerva’s parentage is a brick wall.

 

If you have documentation regarding Minerva Ann (Tolliver) Mannin parentage or if you are a mitochondrial descendant of Minerva, I would really like to hear from you. In the meantime, I consider this issue to be a “brick wall.”


ENDNOTES

[i] https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/9NYL-FB7

[ii] Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954, Family Search, Elijah Tolliver & Martha Marvin [Mannin] – 12 Sep 1825. “Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797­1954,” database with
images, FamilySearch, Elijah Toliver and Martha Marvin, 12 Sep 1825; citing Marriage, Morgan, Kentucky, United States, district clerk, court clerk, county clerk and register offices from various counties; FHL microfilm 839,918. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4MV-DQT?from=lynx1UIV8&treeref=K81Q-DR5.