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John K. Vermilyea was neither Danish nor Lutheran

I've always been saddened by the way John Knickerbocker Vermilyea (1851-1925) died.  He is a 2nd great-grandfather (2GG) and one of very few direct ancestors who died in an accident. I happened to be looking at him again recently and was…
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Another Ethnicity Update from AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA recently rolled out another ethnicity estimate upgrade.  The 2019 upgrade is based on over 40,000 reference samples, a jump from 16,000 when the last revision occurred in 2018 (and from 3,000 prior to that).  They also fine-tuned…
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Projects & Plans for 2020

All plans must adjust to reality.  My 2019 plans were somewhat waylaid by my Mother's cancer diagnosis in February and the long road to her final adieu in October.  I think I made seven trips back to Minnesota, but all were tremendously rewarding. …

Norwegian Death Song Circa 1880

In going through my Mother's file boxes and papers, my brother came across a carton of stuff left by her uncle Jack Bonn (1896-1985).  Jack was an interesting character whom I will write more about in the future.  Growing up, I always heard…

Ancestry Discovery: Berthe Mikkelsdatter Vikheim Immigrated in 1866

  We've talked a lot about Bertha Bonn, my great-grandmother, who immigrated to America in 1883 at the age of 17 and became a milliner in Montevideo, Minnesota.  (See blog posts here and here.)  In the family chart shown above, she…

Longevity of Hafslo Ancestors

I mentioned in a previous blog post that Dorthe Eriksdatter Aaberge (1838-1938) is the oldest confirmed ancestor in our family tree.  Now I know why. Her father lived to be at least 89 years old and her grandfather lived to be 95! Ole…
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New Photographs of Bonn Great-Grandparents

This is a newly-obtained photograph of my great-grandfather, Bernt Olsen Bonn (1856-1937).  I got it last month from cousins in Sogndal, Norway.  I had never seen it before.  It seems to show Bernt in his late 30s or early 40s. Because…

Ancestral Farms in Eidsvoll, Norway

During last month's first-ever trip to Norway, one of my main goals was to drive around the village of Bøn in Eidsvoll Municipality to find ancestral farms. In particular, I wanted to see if I could pin down the precise location of a farm…
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Ancestry Discovery: Photographs of Sogndal Ancestors

To me, discovering photos or images of an ancestor is as important as determining their vital statistics.  It puts a face to a name and reveals character and personality.  Even cooler, sometimes you can see a physical resemblance to yourself…
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Discovery: 1885 Bonn Census Record

Talk about solving a mystery fast! Last week, I outlined some of the new information revealed by the homestead file of my 2nd great-uncle Christ O. Bonn (1858-1943).((Christ O. Bonn, (Marshall County) homestead file, final certificate no.…