County Formation Petitions Resolve Long-Standing Mystery: Which William Crumley Got Married? – 52 Ancestors #244

Recently, I became aware of petitions in the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA), by county, when reading this article by Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist. If you have ancestors in Tennessee, check this resource.

Between 1840 and 1850, several of my ancestors lived in the area of Claiborne and Hawkins County, Tennessee that would become Hancock County in 1848 when the Tennessee Supreme Court overruled attempts to block the formation of the new county.

This process of forming Hancock County was not straightforward and resulted in numerous petitions being filed, which was probably terribly frustrating at the time and probably divisive within the community. However, the petitions are a goldmine of information now. Not only can we discover how our ancestors felt about the county’s formation but even more importantly, signatures are found on the petitions.

In order to sign a petition, one must be a registered voter. I know for sure that voters had to be white and male, but they may have also been required to be landowners although I have some doubt about that.

Some signatures appear to be original, and others appear to be transcribed from a list.

I ordered the petitions from the Tennessee State Archives and they arrived a couple weeks later.

Who Lived in Hancock County, Tennessee?

My ancestors who lived in this region between 1840 and 1850 included the following men who were old enough to sign the petitions in the 1840s.

Ancestor 1840 County 1850 County Signs Petitions
Joel Vannoy 1813-1895 Claiborne, the part that became Hancock Moved to Little Sycamore Community in Claiborne County Yes 1841 (2), 1843 (2)
Elijah Vannoy c 1784->1850 Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock County Yes 1841 (2), 1843 (2)
William Crumley III 1788-c1852 Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock County, on Blackwater, the portion that was previously Hawkins Yes 1841 (second petition), 1843 (2)
Joseph Preston Bolton (1816-1887) Giles, VA but received at Thompson Settlement Church in 1842 by experience, suggesting he is living in what would become Hancock by this time Hancock County, on 4 Mile Creek No
William Herrell (c1789-1859) Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock on Powell River No
Michael McDowell Claiborne, part that became Hancock Lived on Powell River, died before 1850, may have died before petitions No
Fairwick Claxton/Clarkson (c1799-1874) Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock on Powell River No

The Crumley and Vannoy families intermarried, and the Bolton, Herrell, McDowell and Clarkson families lived adjacent on the Powell River very near the Virginia border and intermarried as well. The Crumley/Vannoy group signed the petitions, and the Bolton/Herrell/McDowell/Claxton/Clarkson group did not.

I’m sure there was some underlying reason for how these two groups of residents felt, that that information has not trickled down to us today.

There is a very unexpected surprise involving the signature of William Crumley on this petition.

First, let’s look at the petitions themselves.

The Petitions

In total, 6 petitions existed between 1839 and 1844. In 1848, the Tennessee Supreme Court finally decided the fate of Hancock County and since it exists today, we know that they voted in favor of the county formation.

On these petitions, the introductory paragraphs stated the purpose of the petition, followed by the signers. Not all petitions had signature pages nor were productive, so I’ve included the petition pages that included names of my ancestors.

Petition 2

TSLA Summary:

Claiborne County petition from 311 signatures from Hawkins and Claiborne Counties asking they be allowed to form a new county. (Hancock County)

  • Roll – 16
  • Year – 1841
  • Petition – 122a

Detail from actual petition:

On September 2, 1841, residents petitioned for the following, the verbiage extracted.

“Petition as a result of the inconveniences under which we labor traveling some 25 miles over large cragged mountains to serve as jurors or in other cases and at great expense and trouble, we heretofore employed a surveyor to run out the boundary of a new county composed of the parts, Hawkins and Claiborne. He returned 389 square miles in said bounds, which is 30 square miles over and above the constitutional number of square miles prescribed for any new county.”

This first petition was not granted. However, there were six total pages of signatures that appear to be the original signatures, not a transcribed list, dated September 2, 1841.

Hancock petition 1841

Elijah Vannoy is signature #5

Hancock petition 1841-5

Joel Vannoy’s signature is #99.

Petition 3

TSLA petition summary:

Claiborne County – new county  –  Petition from certain citizens of Claiborne County asking they be permitted to form a new county.

  • Roll – 16
  • Year – 1841
  • Petition – 85

From the petition signed Dec. 22, 1841, submitted on Dec. 31, 1841, heard on January 25, 1842.

“Petitioners of Claiborne County secondly petition your honorable body that we are a people far remote from the county cits (seats) Tazewell and that we employed a surveyor will qualified and after being duly sworn…”

Followed by a description of the proposed county bounds and signatures of petitioners within the pounds of the territory of the county” that appear to be original. They state they have 160 qualified voter signatures and ask if the petition is not granted, “if the ballot box says we have, let us hear it and if not, let us not trouble your honors further.” They state they have an overwhelming majority and a constitutional right to establish a new county.

Only 93 signatures are included.

Hancock petition 1841 second

William Crumley signed at #21 and his son John Crumley at #23.

Hancock petition 1841 second 2

Joel Vannoy signed at #73, his father Elijah Vannoy Sr. at #92 and Joel’s brother, Elijah Vannoy Jr. at #93.

Petition 4

TSLA Summary:

Claiborne County  –  Petition from 246 citizens Claiborne and Hawkins Counties to form a new county to be known as Hancock County. Map of proposed county and statement of Richard Mitchell, deputy surveyor, included in the folder.

  • Roll – 16
  • Year – 1843
  • Petition – 61

From the petition:

November 1843 – Petitioners of Hawkins and Claiborne County living at a remote distance from the seat of justice of each county and often having to attend as jurors and in other business, over cragged mountains and high waters, we pray your honorable body to grand unto us a new county composed in the parts of Hawkins and Claiborne. We have not approached closer than 12 miles to the existing county seats. We have  at least 600 qualified voters in the bounds of the new contemplated county and this being our third petition…”

Hancock petition 1843

Joel Vannoy signed at #12 and Elijah Vannoy at #33.

Hancock petition 1843 2

E Vannoy signs at #69, but either this one or the signature at #33 would be Jr. Many of these signatures look very similar, causing me to wonder if some of the signatures were transcribed from an original list, not actually signed on this document.

Hancock petition 1843 3

William Crumley signs at #202, but it matches the rest and does not appear to be an original signature. William’s son, Aaron F. Crumley signs at #194.

This document is followed by the survey dated by the surveyor as to its accuracy November 11, 1843. I wonder if some of the signature papers were lost, although at the end of the signature section there were 34 more that said “signed over legend” which I presume means people who signed with an X witnessed by another individual.

That does not equate to the 600 mentioned, but perhaps this is in addition to an earlier petition.

Petition 5

TSLA Summary:

Claiborne County – new county – Petition from 106 citizens of Claiborne County asking they be allowed to form a new county.

  • Roll – 17
  • Year – 1843
  • Petition – 146

From the petition:

Nov 25, 1843 – Petitioners of Claiborne County who reside in the part in the bounds and in favor of a new county.

Hancock petition 1843 second

William Crumly signed at #14, with son Aaron F. Crumley at #13, son John Crumley at #19 and Elijah Vanoy at #18. Of course, we don’t know the order of the homes of the people involved, but Elijah’s son, Joel married William’s daughter, Phoebe, in 1845.

Some of these signatures appear to be original, but the Aaron and William Crumley signatures appear to be the same.

Hancock petition 1843 second 2

Elijah Vanoy Sr. or Jr. signed at #28 and Elijah Sr.’s son, Joel signed at #85.

There were a total of 106 signatures on 3 pages. Only the people in the affected area needed to sign one way or another.

William Crumley’s Signature Solves a Mystery

With 4 William Crumleys in successive generations, keeping them straight has been a challenge, to put it mildly.

In the article about William Crumley (the third born 1788), son of William Crumley (the second born 1767/8), I discussed the fact that both men lived in Greene County, TN, and one of them married Elizabeth Johnson in October 1817.

For a very long time, it was presumed, based on her probable age, if Elizabeth was who we thought she was, that she had married the younger William Crumley, and that his wife, Lydia Brown had died shortly after giving birth to a child in April of 1817. Speedy remarriages weren’t uncommon in that time and place.

The only somewhat unusual circumstance is that Elizabeth Johnson would have gotten pregnant in June, because the next child born to William Crumley (the third) and his wife was my ancestor Phoebe who arrived in March of 1818. It was also a little unusual that Lydia Brown’s mother’s name was Phoebe Cole and Elizabeth named her first child Phoebe. But then again, the Johnsons and Browns were intermarried too or maybe Elizabeth was just incredibly generous.

Or, maybe Lydia didn’t die after all and Elizabeth married a different William Crumley and was not the mother of Phoebe.

By testing the mitochondrial DNA of the descendants of the child born in April of 1817, Phoebe’s descendants along with the descendants of the next child, Malinda, born in 1820, we confirmed that their mitochondrial DNA was identical. Now granted, this could happen if the two women, Lydia and Elizabeth shared a common matrilineal ancestor.

That’s rather unlikely since Phoebe Cole was from New Jersey and Elizabeth Johnson’s father, Zopher, was from Pennsylvania – but with genealogy you never know for sure. Stranger things have happened.

However, William Crumley’s signature on this petition is corroborating data for the mitochondrial evidence.

William Crumley who married in 1817 has a different signature than two other documents signed in Greene County by a William Crumley as well.

William Crumley the third would have been called Jr. in Greene County, given that William Crumley (the first) was already long deceased by 1817, so William Crumley the second would have been William Crumley Sr. in Green County.

I had to make a chart to keep all of the Williams and their signatures straight.

Who In Greene County, TN Signed What
William Crumley I, 1735/6-1793 Never in Greene County, TN Nothing in Greene County
William Crumley II, 1767/8-c 1839 Sr. 1796 court order in the Territory South of the Ohio, possibly 1807 marriage document for William III, possibly 1817 marriage document.
William Crumley III, 1788-1859 Jr. Married in 1807 as Jr., signed War of 1812 affidavit in 1814, marriage of Aaron Crumley in 1814 and signs as William Jr., 1816 marriage for Isaac Crumley where he signs as Jr.
William Crumley IV, 1811-1864 Married in 1840 in Greene Co.

We don’t know which William Crumley married in 1817. What I really NEED to know if if William the third married in 1817, because my ancestor, Phoebe, was born in 1818.

We know unquestionably that the 1796 document was signed by William Crumley II because the older William Crumley was dead by then, and the younger one still a minor. This does of course assume the signature is actually Williams.

William Crumley 1796 signatureA comparison of the various signatures, assembled by researcher Stevie Hughes some years ago shows us the following variations.

Crumley signature comparisons

The next signature is William Crumley from the 1841 petition and looks to be nearly an exact match to the 1816 signature but NOT to the 1817 marriage signature.

Hancock County 1841 Crumley signature

The signature from William Crumley’s 1814 power of attorney having to do with his War of 1812 service is shown below. This signature looks to be identical to the 1814 signature, again, assuming this is his actual signature and the clerk did not transcribe it. the clerk would have been the same person if these signatures are transcribed, so the signatures would “match.” No wonder I’m confused.

william-crumley-poa 1814

We know that William Crumley in 1807 is in fact the man who married Lydia Brown and that signature does not match the man who signed the 1796 document just a decade earlier. What we don’t know for sure, at least without further analysis, is that the first bondsman in 1807 was the groom and not the groom’s father.

The signature in 1807 and 1817 looks more alike than the other two signatures, who also resemble each other. This 1807/1817 resemblance is what led researchers for years to assume that the William who married Lydia Brown is the same William that married Elizabeth Johnson.

The surnames look very similar, but the Ws look different. The W in 1817 looks a bit wobbly.

William Crumley Lydia Brown marriage

Jotham Brown was Lydia’s brother, and William Crumley Sr. would have been the father of William Crumley Jr. who married Lydia Brown. How do we know that?

William Crumley who married in 1807 was underage, so his father had to sign for him. He could not sign for himself. So clearly, there is some confusion about who is being called Jr. and Sr. and who is marrying who in 1817.

What we still don’t know positively is if the man in 1817 who married Elizabeth Johnson was William the second or third.

The signature on the petition in Hancock County matches exactly to that of William Crumley the third (Jr. in Greene County, born 1788) and not that of the man who married Elizabeth Johnson in 1817.

We know the man who signed the Hancock County petition in 1841 was William the third born in 1788 (Jr. in Greene County) because this William died between 1837 and 1840 in Lee County, VA, right across the county line from Hancock County, TN.

My Unexpected Gift

When I requested this petition, I thought I might learn something interesting about my ancestors and the history of the region where they lived, generally.

I never expected to solve a long-standing mystery. I didn’t even realize what I had, at first, and then the light bulb clicked on and I retrieved the various signatures for comparison.

We now have two important independent pieces of evidence that point to the same conclusion. We have full sequence mitochondrial DNA results from Family Tree DNA that match, strongly suggesting that Phoebe Crumley had the same mother as both her older sister who was born in 1817 before William Crumley married Elizabeth Johnson and Phoebe’s younger sister born in 1820. Furthermore, we have a signature for William Crumley (born in 1788) in Hancock County in 1841 which is not the signature of the William Crumley who married in Greene County in 1817.

William Crumley (the older of the two men in 1817) would have been 50 years old, marrying for the second time, and did not need a separate bondman. He had enough money to be his own bondsman while his son who had been a minor in 1807 did not. William Crumley born in 1788, the younger of the two William’s would also have been marrying for the second time, and he wouldn’t have needed a secondary bondsman either in 1817.

Regardless of the signatures, given the question about originality, I’m extremely grateful for the mitochondrial DNA test results.

You just never know what one single signature, DNA test or piece of information will do for you and more information is always better.

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Identifying Unknown Parents and Individuals Using DNA Matching

There have been a lot of questions recently about the methodology used by people searching for unknown parents and other unidentified individuals. I covered this technique in concept recently at a conference as part of an overview presentation. In this article, I’m addressing only this topic and in more detail.

What is the methodology that genealogists use to identify unknown parents? It’s exactly the same process used to identify unknown Does, meaning unidentified bodies as well as violent criminals who have left DNA, such as blood or semen, at a crime scene.

How is Identifying Unknown Individuals Different from Genealogy?

Genealogists are interested in discovering their ancestors. Generally, genealogists know who their parents are and most of the time, their grandparents as well. Not very many people can tell you the names of their great-grandparents off the top of their head – not unless they ARE genealogists😊

Genealogists interview family members and access family sources, such as photos, Bibles, boxes of memorabilia and often extend their family another generation or two using these resources. Then, to gather additional information, genealogists turn to publicly available sources such as:

Constructing a Tree

Genealogists utilize software to create trees of their ancestors, either on their own computers with software such as Family Tree Maker, Legacy, RootsMagic or the free tree building software from MyHeritage. They then either synchronize or duplicate their tree on the public sites mentioned above which provide functionality such as “hints” that point to documents relevant to the ancestors in their tree. Additionally, they can access the trees of other genealogists who are researching the same ancestors. This facilitates the continued growth of their tree by adding ancestors and extending the tree back generations.

While tree-building is the goal of genealogists, the trees they build are important tools for people seeking to identify unknown individuals.

The Tree

Generations tree

In my tree, shown in the format of a pedigree chart, above, you can see that I’ve identified all 16 of my great-great-grandparents. In reality, because I’ve been a genealogist for decades, I’ve identified many more of my ancestors which are reflected in my tree on my computer and in my trees at both Ancestry and MyHeritage where I benefit from hints and DNA matches.

Genealogical pedigree charts are typically represented with the “home person,” me, in this case at the base with my ancestors branching out behind them like a lovely peacock’s tail.

While I’m looking for distant ancestors, adoptees and others seeking the identities of contemporary people are not looking back generations, but seek to identify contemporary generations, meaning people who are alive or lived very recently, typically within a generation.

Enter the world of genetics and DNA matching.

Genetics, The Game Changing Tool

Before the days of DNA testing, adoptees could only hope that someone knew the identify of their biological parents, or that their biological parents registered with a reunion site, or that their court records could be opened.

DNA testing changed all of that, because people can now DNA test and find their close relatives. As more people test, the better the odds of actually having a parent or sibling match, or perhaps a close relative like an aunt, uncle or first cousin. My closest relative that has tested that I didn’t know was testing is my half-sister’s daughter.

You share grandparents with your first cousin, and since you only have 4 grandparents, it’s not terribly difficult to figure out which set of grandparents you connect to through that first cousin – especially given the size of the databases and the number of matches that people have today.

The chart below shows my matches as of June 2019.


Total Matches

Second Cousin or Closer

Family Tree DNA












You can see that I have a total of 45 close matches, although some of those matches are duplicates of each other. However, each database has some people that are only in that database and have not tested at other companies or transferred to other databases.

Situations like this are exactly why people who are searching for unknown family members take DNA tests at all 4 of the vendors.

Stories were once surprising about people who tested and either discover a previously unknown close relative, or conversely discovered that they are not related to someone who they initially believed they were. Today these occurrences are commonplace.


If you’re searching for an unknown parent or close relative, you just might be lucky to receive a parental, sibling, half-sibling or uncle/aunt match immediately.

An estimated relationship range is provided by all vendors based on the amount of DNA that the tester shares with their match.

Generations Family Tree DNA matches

My mother’s match page at Family Tree DNA is shown above. You can see that I’m Mother’s closest match. My known half brother did not test before he passed away, and mother’s parents are long deceased, so my mother should NEVER have another match this close.

So, who is that person in row 2 that is also predicted to be a mother or daughter? I took a test at Ancestry and uploaded my results to Family Tree DNA for research purposes, so this is actually my own second kit, but for example purposes, I’ve renamed myself “Example Adoptee.” Judging from the photo here, apparently my “adopted” sibling was a twin😊

If the adoptee tested at Family Tree DNA, she would immediately see a sibling match (me) and a parent match (Mom.) A match at that cM (centiMorgan) level can only be a parent or a child, and the adoptee knows whether she has a child or not.

Let’s look at a more distant example, which is probably more “typical” than immediately finding a parent match.

Let’s say that the “male adoptee” at the bottom in the red box is also searching for his birth family. He matches my mother at the 2nd-3rd cousin level, so someplace in her tree are his ancestors too.

People who have trees are shown with gold boxes around the tiny pedigree icons, because they literally are trees of gold.

Because of Family Tree DNA’s “bucketing” tool, the software has already told my Mother that the male adoptee is a match on her father’s side of her tree. The adoptee can click on the little pedigree icon to view the trees of his matches to view their ancestors, then engage in what is known as “tree triangulation” with his other close matches.

From the Perspective of the Adoptee

An adoptee tests not knowing anything about their ancestors.

Generations adoptee

When their results come back, the adoptee, in the red box in the center, hoping to identify their biological parents, discovers that their closest matches are the testers in the pink and blue ovals.

The adoptee does NOT know that these people are related to each other at this point, only that these 7 people are their closest matches on their match list.

The adoptee has to put the rest of the story together like a puzzle.

Who Matches Each Other?

In our scenario, test takers 2, 3 and 8 don’t match the adoptee, so the adoptee will never know they tested and vice versa. Everyone at a second cousin level will match each other, but only some people will match at more distant relationships, according to statistics published by 23andMe:

Relationship Level

Percentage of People Who Match

Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, half siblings, half aunts/uncles and 1st cousins


2nd cousins


3rd cousins


4th cousins


5th cousins


6th cousins and more distant


You can view a detailed chart with additional relationships here.

Tree Triangulation

By looking at the individual trees of test taker 1, 4 and 5 whom they match, the adoptee notices that John and Jane Doe are common ancestors in the trees of all 3 test takers. The adoptee may also use “in common with” tools provided by each vendor to see who they match “in common with” another tester. In this case, let’s say that test taker 1, 4 and 5 also match each other, so the adoptee would also make note of that, inferring correctly that they are members of the same family.

The goal is to identify a common ancestor of a group of matches in order to construct the ancestor’s tree, not a pedigree chart backwards in time, as with genealogy, but to construct a descendants’ tree from the ancestral couple to the current day, as completely as possible. After all, the goal is to identify the parent of the adoptee who descends from the common ancestor.

Generations adoptee theory

In this case, the adoptee realized that the pink test takers descended from John and Jane Doe, and the blue test takers descended from Walter and Winnie Smith, and constructed descendant trees of both couples.

The adoptee created a theory, based on the descendants of these two ancestral couples, incorporating other known facts, such as the year when the adoptee was born, and where.

In our example, the adoptee discovered that John and Jane Doe had another daughter, Juanita, whose descendants don’t appear to have tested, and that Juanita had a daughter who was in the right place at the right time to potentially be the mother of the adoptee.

Conversely, Walter and Winnie Smith had a son whose descendants also appear to have not tested, and he had a son who lived in the same place as Juanita Doe. In other words, age, opportunity and process of elimination all play a role in addition to DNA matches. DNA is only the first hint that must be followed up by additional research.

At this point, if the adoptee has taken either Y or mitochondrial DNA testing, those results can serve to either include or exclude some candidates at Family Tree DNA. For example, if the adoptee was a male and matched the Y DNA of the Smith line, that would be HUGE hint.

From this point on, an adoptee can either wait for more people to test or can contact their matches hoping that the matches will have information and be helpful. Keep in mind that all the adoptee has is a theory at this point and they are looking to refine their theory or create a new one and then to help narrow their list of parent candidates.

Fortunately, there are tools and processes to help.

What Are the Odds?

One helpful tool to do this is the WATO, What Are the Odds statistical probability tools at DNAPainter.

Using WATO, you create a hypothesis tree as to how the person whose connection you are seeking might be related, plugging them in to different tree locations, as shown below.

Generations WATO

This is not the same example as Smith and Doe, above, but a real family puzzle being worked on by my cousin. Names are blurred for privacy, of course.

Generations WATO2

WATO then provides a statistical analysis of the various options, with only one of the above hypothesis being potentially viable based on the level of DNA matching for the various hypothetical relationships.

DNAPainter Shared cM Tool

If your eyes are glazing over right about now with all of these numbers flying around, you’re not alone.

I’ll distill this process into individual steps to help you understand how this works, and why, starting with another tool provided by DNAPainter, the Shared cM tool that helps you calculate the most likely relationship with another person.

The more closely related you are to a person, the more DNA you will share with them.

DNAPainter has implemented this tool based on the results of Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cM Project where you can enter the amount of DNA that you share with someone to determine the “best fit” relationship, on average, plus the range of expected shared DNA.

Generations DNAPainter Shared cM Project

You, or the test taker, are in the middle and the relationship ranges surround “you.”

For example, you can clearly see that the number of cMs for my Example Adoptee at 3384 is clearly in the Parent or Child range. But wait, it could also be at the very highest end of a half sibling relationship. Other lower cM matches are less specific, so another feature of the DNAPainter tool is a life-saver.

At the top of the page, you can enter the number of matching cMs and the tool will predict the most likely results, based on probability.

Generations 3384

The relationship for 3384 cMs is 100% a parent/child relationship, shown above, but the sibling box is highlighted below because 3384 is the very highest value in the range. This seems to be a slight glitch in the tool. We can summarize by saying that it would be extremely, extremely rare for a 3384 cM match to be a full sibling instead of a parent or child. Hen’s teeth rare.

Generations parent child

Next, let’s look at 226 cM, for our male adoptee which produces the following results:

Generations 226

The following chart graphically shows the possible relationships. The “male adoptee” is actually Mom’s second cousin. This tool is quite accurate.

Generations 226 chart

Now that you’ve seen the tools in action, let’s take a look at the rest of the process.

The Steps to Success

The single biggest predictor of success identifying an unknown person is the number of close matches. Without relatively close matches, the process gets very difficult quickly.

What constitutes a close match and how many close matches do adoptees generally have to work with?

If an adoptee matches someone at a 2nd or 3rd cousin level, what does that really mean to them?

I’ve created the following charts to answer these questions. By the way, this information is relevant to everyone, not just adoptees.

In the chart below, you can view different relationships in the blue legs of the chart descending from the common ancestral couple.

In this example, “You” and the “Other Tester” match at the 4th cousin level sharing 35 cM of DNA. If you look “up” the tree a generation, you can see that the parents of the testers match at the 3rd cousin level and share 74 cM of DNA, the grandparents of the testers match at the 2nd cousin level and share 223 cM of DNA and so forth.

Generations relationship table

In the left column, generations begin being counted with your parents as generation 1. The cumulative number of direct line relatives you have at each generation is shown in the “# Grandparents” column.

Generations relationship levels

Here’s how to read this chart, straight across.

Viewing the “Generation” column, at the 4th generation level, you have 16 great-great-grandparents. Your great-great-grandparent is a first cousin to the the great-great-grandparent of your 4th cousin. Their parents were siblings.

Looking at it this way, it might not seem too difficult to reassemble the descendancy tree of someone 5 generations in the past, but let’s look at it from the other perspective meaning from the perspective of the ancestral couple.

Generations descendants

Couples had roughly 25 years of being reproductively capable and for most of history, birth control was non-existent. If your great-great-great-grandparents, who were born sometime near the year 1800 (the births of mine range from 1785 to 1810) had 5 children who lived, and each of their descendants had 5 children who lived, today each ancestral couple would have 3,125 descendants.

If that same couple had 10 children and 10 lived in each subsequent generation, they would have 100,000 descendants. Accuracy probably lies someplace in-between. That’s still a huge number of descendants for one couple.

That’s JUST for one couple. You have 32 great-great-great-grandparents, or 16 pairs, so multiply 16 times 3,125 for 50,000 descendants or 100,000 times 16 for…are you ready for this…1,600,000 descendants.

Descendants per GGG-grandparent couple at 5 generations Total descendants for 16 GGG-grandparent couples combined
5 children per generation 3,125 50,000
10 children per generation 100,000 1,600,000

NOW you understand why adoptees need to focus on only close matches and why distant matches at the 3rd and 4th cousin level are just too difficult to work with.

By contrast, let’s look at the first cousin row.

Generations descendants 1C.png

At 5 descendants per generation, you’ll have 25 first cousins or 100 first cousins at 10 descendants per generation.

Generations descendants 2C

At second cousins, you’ll have 125 and 1,000 – so reconstructing these trees down to current descendants is still an onerous task but much more doable than from the third or fourth cousin level, especially in smaller families.

The Perfect Scenario

Barring a fortuitous parent or sibling match, the perfect scenario for adoptees and people seeking unknown individuals means that:

  • They have multiple 1st or 2nd cousin matches making tree triangulation to a maternal and paternal group of matches to identify the common ancestors feasible.
  • Their matches have trees that allow the adoptee to construct theories of how they might fit into a family.

Following the two steps above, when sufficient matching and trees have been assembled, the verification steps begin.

  • Adoptees hope that their matches are responsive to communications requesting additional information to either confirm or refute their relationship theory. For example, my mother could tell the male adoptee that he is related on her father’s side of the family based on Family Tree DNA‘s parental “side” assignment. Based on who else the adoptee matches in common with mother, she could probably tell him how he’s related. That information would be hugely beneficial.
  • In a Doe situation where the goal is to identify remains, with a relatively close match, the investigator could contact that match and ask if they know of a missing family member.
  • In a law enforcement situation where strong close-family matches that function as hints lead to potential violent crime suspects, investigators could obtain a piece of trash discarded by the potential suspect to process and compare to the DNA from the crime scene, such as was done in the Golden State Killer case.

If the discarded DNA doesn’t match the crime scene DNA, the person is exonerated as a potential suspect. If the discarded DNA does match the crime scene DNA, investigators would continue to gather non-DNA evidence and/or pick the suspect up for questioning and to obtain a court ordered DNA sample to compare to the DNA from the crime scene in a law enforcement database.

Sometimes DNA is a Waiting Game

I know that on the surface, DNA matching for adoptees and unknown persons sounds simple, and sometimes it is if there is a very close family match.

More often than not, trying to identify unknown persons, especially if the tester doesn’t have multiple close matches is much like assembling a thousand-piece puzzle with no picture on the front of the box.

Sometimes simply waiting for a better match at some point in the future is the only feasible answer. I waited years for my brother, Dave’s family match. You can read his story here and here.

DNA is a waiting game.



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Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Reminder: Ancestry’s DNA Circles Will Vanish July 1 – Act Now to Preserve

Ancestry circle example

This is reminder that Ancestry is permanently removing DNA Circles from customer accounts on July 1st. If you have not recorded the information held in your Circles and New Ancestor Discoveries, if you had any, do that NOW.

There is a misconception that ThruLines, introduced earlier in 2019, is the same thing as Circles, just in a different format. That is NOT accurate. ThruLines is a different tool and provides some of the same information as Circles (and NADs), but not all and the part that’s missing isn’t available elsewhere.

Circles provide you with information about people who match you that share a common ancestor, but they ALSO show you who else has tested and matches the people you match, but not you. That’s valuable information for numerous reasons. It verifies multiple children of that ancestor genetically and provides you with a genetic network to validate the ancestral connection for all of those people.

ThruLines only shows you who you match in the context of an ancestral family, not who else has tested that you don’t match.

In the article, Archive Ancestry DNA Circles and New Ancestor Discoveries Now, I walk you through how to save your information step by step.

If you haven’t preserved your information, do so now before it’s too late.



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Thank you so much.

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MyHeritage LIVE 2019 in Amsterdam – Sign Up Now!

I’ve been waiting to share this information with you until everything was nailed down, and now I can.

I’m going to be attending and participating in MyHeritage LIVE in Amsterdam this September 6-8th. If you recall, I attended the first MyHeritage LIVE conference in Oslo last fall and loved every single minute.

If you want to take a look, I wrote about that conference, complete with photos, here and here.

MyHeritage LIVE Amsterdam 2019

This year’s conference will be held in Amsterdam, one of my favorite cities. MyHeritage wrote about it in their blog, here.


I confess, some of my ancestors were from Amsterdam. And yes, I’m incorporating the conference into an “ancestor trip” with Yvette Hoitink, Dutch genealogist extraordinaire whose blog can be found on her website here. Yvette will be presenting at the conference too, so if you’re attending, you get a chance to both hear and meet her.

I’m actually thrilled that Yvette is presenting, because I was her first customer in 2012 when she replied, then as an employee of the Dutch National Archives, to my blog article about my “hopeless” Dutch ancestors. Well, they not only weren’t hopeless, Yvette has been my genealogist ever since and we still discover documents and new ancestors on a regular basis.

Here’s that fateful exchange which was the beginning of a wonderful friendship AND of me adding more than, drum roll…2 dozen ancestors to my tree – and we’re not brick walled yet!!!

Not only that, but the newspaper articles for northern Indiana, included as part of my MyHeritage subscription, have helped me make countless discoveries in my Dutch Ferwerda (Ferverda/Fervida in the US) line after they immigrated in 1868. And I’m not referring to a couple of articles, but literally hundreds. Yes, hundreds.

With Yvette’s help, I’m connecting the Dutch DNA matches that my mother is receiving at MyHeritage. I transferred Mom’s autosomal test to MyHeritage because she’s one generation closer than I am and MyHeritage has a significant European presence. I’m so grateful that MyHeritage facilitates DNA transfers because mother passed away years before they began DNA testing. You can upload your DNA to MyHeritage for free by clicking here or order a DNA kit here.

Ok, enough excited rambling from me. You’re probably wondering who’s speaking and the presentation topics.

Who’s Speaking?

Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage founder and CEO opens the conference with the keynote. If you have never heard Gilad speak, you’re in for a wonderful treat. Gilad is a passionate genealogist and an amazing human, a trait that radiates from him as he speaks and infects the audience. No, I’m really not biased.

Last year as Gilad was discussing why he had ordered indexing of addresses in city directories in addition to names by giving an example of finding one of this ancestor’s relatives in New York City, I sat in the audience and found the building on Google maps for him, showing him afterwards. One genealogist to another. He’s that approachable.

Of course, there ARE other speakers too, many of whom I’m sure you’ll recognize!

MyHeritage LIVE Amsterdam speakers

Oh look, Yvette’s photo and mine are side by side! How perfect.

MyHeritage LIVE Amsterdam speakers 2

MyHeritage LIVE Amsterdam speakers 3

I’m very fortunate to count many of these folks as my friends and can’t wait to meet others.

And of course, I look forward to meeting and talking with you. One of the best part of conferences is who we meet.

You can take a look at the schedule, here.

The Party

I probably shouldn’t even mention this, because far be it from me to suggest that a world-class party would in any way influence your decision to attend – so let’s just say that the MyHeritage parties are both famous and infamous.

MHLive 2018 party

Me trying to take a selfie with Gilad Japhet at last year’s party.

At last year’s party, the 2018 EuroVision winners performed. This year, EuroVision was held in Israel, with MyHeritage as the sponsor and a Dutch man, Duncan Laurence won. In fact, you can watch and listen here.

Now, I don’t know what’s in store for the MyHeritage party this year, but don’t miss this event! It’s legendary.

Early Bird Pricing

Right now, the conference price is 150 Euros which is equivalent to about $170 US. You can still get discounted flights too because the conference is several weeks away.

Early bird pricing ends on July 31. Click here to sign up or read more.

OK, that’s it for now. I surely do hope to see you in Amsterdam. Let me know if you’re planning to attend!



I receive a small contribution when you click on the link to one of the vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

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Evaline Louise Miller Ferverda’s Will, Estate and Legacy – 52 Ancestors #243

Evaline Louise Miller was my great-grandmother who married Hiram Bauke Ferverda.

Eva Miller Ferverda

This charcoal drawing of Evaline was sent to me electronically some years ago by a generous cousin and was restored by a talented friend.

Eva, as she was called by the family, pronounced Ev-uh with the ev sounding like the ev in Chevy, was the 4th ancestor I wrote about in the 52 Ancestors series back in January of 2014. That seems like such a long time ago, and I’ve learned so much since then.

While researching Eva’s husband, Hiram Bauke Ferverda, I discovered a lot of previously unknown information about Eva herself.

Much of Eva’s story is told in Hiram’s articles after his immigration to the US:

I was able to flesh out the lives of both Hiram and Eva through many newspaper articles that provided a window into their lives day to day. I feel like I know Hiram and Eva better than most of my other ancestors for this very reason.

I thought I had reached the end of the line when I found Hiram’s will and estate information, even though Eva lived for another 14 years.

Due to the common practice of the husband leaving their wife a “life-estate” in the husband’s property, assuring that the property would eventually be divided among his children after the wife’s death, it had never occurred to me that Eva might actually have had a separate will.

Never assume.

This couple was anything but traditional or conservative, especially not for a Brethren couple. They seemed to be Brethren on their own terms, although they were clearly devout in their beliefs and church attendance and are buried in the Cemetery at Salem Church of the Brethren.

During a visit to Kosciusko County in May of 2019, I obtained Hiram’s will and estate papers and while I was there, I checked for Eva’s too, more as an afterthought than a pre-planned task.


The first surprise was that Hiram left everything to Eva, but not as a life estate. He left everything in fee simple, conferring total ownership, simply expressing his “wish” that she leave the remainder, whatever that might be, to the children. He also stated that his wish should not be construed in any way as binding, specifically indicating that she should have “full, entire and complete right and title.”

It’s hard to be more explicit than that.

Of course, that left me scurrying off to see if Eva had a will, which she did.


Hiram wrote his will on the 10th of February 1925. Even though he was 70 years old, he probably didn’t believe his death was imminent until that time.

The newspapers held reports of him becoming increasingly ill, and he passed away in a heat wave on June 7, 1925, four months after he wrote the will.

Hiram’s will meant that Eva in essence could do anything she wanted with his estate, or any portion thereof, including the property.

Following Hiram’s will in the will book is an affidavit of death and then the “Widow’s Election.” By law, Eva was legally entitled to one third, but Hiram left her 100% of everything instead, so she had to sign to accept the provision in his will in lieu of her legal right to one third.

No decision to make there at all.

Hiram Ferverda widow's election

The Kosciusko County Historical Society was very nice and sent me both Hiram’s and Eva’s estate paperwork, beginning with the inventory which detailed what Eva inherited at Hiram’s death.

Hiram’s Estate Inventory

Hiram Ferverda estate inventory

In Hiram’s inventory, the farm they had purchased for $8000 in 1893 had almost doubled in value.

What’s missing is the land they jointly purchased in Leesburg in 1909 where they lived from that time on. Where is that property?

Hiram died as the vice-president of the bank, so it’s no surprise that he owned significant stock.

Hiram’s “old car” was only worth $50. Ironic that Eva never drove. Perhaps her children used the car to shuttle her from place to place.

The settlement of Hiram’s estate is shown thus:

Hiram Ferverda estate settlement

In this final settlement, the farm is missing too. What happened and why was it not accounted for? Generally, the administrator has to account for everything in the inventory, so this is very unusual.

However, that’s not the most interesting part, at least not to me.

Eva’s son, John Ferverda, my grandfather, is mentioned in a way that poses many unanswered questions. Rather astounding ones, actually.

John Ferverda

It appears that for some reason, in 1924, John Ferverda, Hiram’ and Eva’s son, had encountered financial difficulties. My mother would have been about 18 months old. John and his wife, Edith, also had a son, Lore, who would have been about 9.

On June 21, 1924, Hiram signed for a note for John payable to Indiana Loan and Trust in Warsaw for $1600 plus interest, due 60 days later. Why didn’t Hiram do business with his own bank? Was he protecting John from embarrassment?

I initially wondered if John borrowed money to purchase his house in Silver Lake, but I believe that they already lived in that home when my mother was born in 1922, so that wouldn’t explain the 1924 and 1925 loans. A mortgage would have been secured and for a much longer duration. These loans were short term, with the terms indicating that they expected to be repaid shortly – but weren’t.

One hint might be this notice, on April 11, 1924 in the Warsaw Daily Times and the Northern Indianian:

John Ferverda 1924 hardware store sale

I thought that John had already sold or otherwise exited the hardware business, because a 1922 newspaper article refers to him once again as the local railroad station agent, and that Eva had returned home because John had been quite ill and she had been caring for him.

Adding 2+2, it appears like John was working as the station agent to supplement his income in 1922 while his wife was pregnant and possibly not working. Add to that the family oral history that John “lost” the hardware business – even though the story timeline had morphed to be during the Great Depression. Perhaps later people simply assumed that the cause was the Depression that occurred just a handful of years later.

I suspect John was having his own depression by this time because he apparently not only “lost” the business but was left quite in debt in the process. His business partner seems to have gone with the business to the new location. It sounds like John was somehow on the wrong or at least the losing end of that deal.

On April 11, 1925, exactly a year after the newspaper article and 10 months after the first loan, Hiram signed for a second note for son John in the amount of $3900 plus interest to People’s Bank, his own bank, due in 6 months. The total of those two notes is $5500, without interest.

Apparently neither of these notes were paid by either man. Hiram was clearly gravely ill and died before the second note was due, and John was obviously unable to pay.

By the time Hiram’s estate settled, the total of John’s notes was $6096.84 – nearly one third of the total value of Hiram’s estate, including the farm.

Eva paid those notes in order that the land and other assets not have to be sold in order to pay the balance.

I wonder where she obtained the funds to pay that huge bill. That’s an awful lot of “egg money” for a Brethren woman.

Eva’s Will

Eva’s will and estate settlement takes up in early 1940 where Hiram’s left off 15 years earlier. Eva died on December 20, 1939, just before Christmas.

Eva Miller Ferverda will

Eva Miller Ferverda will 2

According to Eva’s will, she owned the 4 lots in Leesburg herself. At some point, that property had to be deeded from Hiram to Eva, because in 1909, it was deeded to both Hiram and Eva and it was absent from Hiram’s estate in 1925.

Eva wrote her will long before she died, about a year after Hiram’s estate was settled. Her will is dated October 5, 1927.

In her will, Eva left the city lots to her daughter, Edith Dye, with whom (I believe) she lived the rest of her life, but something must have changed between the time Eva made her will in 1927 and her death in December 1939. Eva apparently sold the land she owned in Leesburg during her lifetime. Did she sell it to Edith Dye and husband or someone else?

I found no deed during my visit, but then again, I wasn’t specifically looking either and the Kosciusko County Auditor’s office was anything but helpful. When I later called to ask them to simply look in the deed index, they refused, stating that was “research” and suggested I hire a title company.

Eva’s inventory, provided by the Kosciusko County genealogy society listed assets and debts, as normal.

This may be the first time I’ve seen a gravedigger’s services listed, and it was almost as much as the doctor. Eva was elderly, almost 83 years old, and there wasn’t much a doctor could have done.

Eva Miller Ferverda death certificate

Eva died of a heart attack and had apparently been ill for about 6 months.

I suspect that Eva’s son, Donald’s death in early 1937, almost 3 years earlier of kidney cancer which spread throughout his body would have been very difficult on Eva, then 79 years old. She probably cared for him during his illness, kidney removal and death.

Eva’s son Irv had died in 1933 at age 52 after suffering for 17 years with cardiorenal disease. That means he would have become ill in at age 37 in 1917, several years before Hiram died, and gotten progressively worse. This might explain why Irv wound up with the farm, perhaps being Eva’s way of taking care of her son’s family. She probably took care of Irv too as his illness progressed.

Eva Miller Ferverda estate

Eva Miller Ferverda estate 2

Eva Miller Ferverda estate 3

By the time Eva died, she had sold the city lots and the farm, leaving only personal items and debts owed to her.

Ira’s Plight

By 1940, at age 62, Eva’s son Ira was probably very ill with a disease he most likely contracted during his service in the Spanish American War when he served in the Philippines. His health issues were complicated by a car accident in 1938 where he and his wife were injured on their way home from the “Soldiers Home” where they visited or lived in Lafayette, Indiana, for many years.

Ira eventually died of gangrene in 1950, probably a miserable death, with co-morbid conditions including a type of advanced cerebrospinal syphilis, generally termed today as Neurosyphilis. He was certified as disabled in June of 1918 and received a military pension, according to the military pension index, but when he registered for the draft 3 months later, he did not declare a physical disability. He probably didn’t want to announce that type of sensitive health issue.

Of this three children born, two died as infants, one in 1920.

Clearly, the family knew Ira had challenges given that he had been disabled more than 20 years when Eva died. Ira’s obituary, found in the Ferverda Bible, stated such, although according to the census, he worked. The family may not, however, have understood the nature of his underlying illness. Amazingly, Ira live to age 72, some 47 years after he would have contracted the disease in the military. Unfortunately, Ira’s condition appeared to have been too far advanced by 1947 after Penicillin had been discovered and began to be used against early Syphilis. His was late stage.

In 1940, Ira’s debt to his mother for $570 was deemed uncollectible and a compromise amount of $200 was reached, which he paid.

Two of Eva’s children had died prior to her death, along with Ira’s protracted and incurable illness. And then there was John’s problem.

Poor Eva.

John’s Debt

The executors declared John’s note “of no value and uncollectible” and stated that John would not share in the distribution of Eva’s estate.

On the other land, Ira’s note said that his debt was of doubtful value and that the executors consulted with all of the heirs and adjusted the balance due on his note to $200, which amount was paid, and that in exchange for the discounted amount, Ira relinquished his share of Eva’s estate. In essence, between the $200 and the amount of his inheritance, Ira paid his debt in full. Perhaps Ira and his wife were living off of his disability pension from the military or had funds left from the sale of their farm in Wyoming, or both.

The balance of Eva’s estate was $3,139.71 and her children (or their heirs), except John and Ira, received $348.85 each.

What Happened?

What happened to the balance of roughly $15,000 in the value of the farm plus at least $2000 in value of the city lots and house between the end of 1927 when Eva wrote her will and Eva’s death in December of 1939? What about the bank stock? That’s at least $20,000 in assets that are unaccounted for in 1940, which would be equivalent to roughly $365,000 today simply from inflation alone, not if invested.

Did Eva deed the farm to Irv, who subsequently died? Did he purchase the farm? If so, where did that money go? Had Eva had already divided that money between her children? If John had received roughly $2000 as his share, he still would have owed his mother money.

When Hiram died, Eva paid his estate just over $6000 on John’s behalf, yet when she died, John owed her estate $5900 which included interest. Clearly, either he had paid something, or he had already received some funds, because he owned less in 1940 than in 1925 and interest would have been accruing that entire time.

There is clearly a chapter or two I’m missing, including why the family, meaning ALL of the children, were so willing to simply forgive their brother John Ferverda his debt – apparently without having to discuss it. The discussion and agreement was mentioned regarding Ira’s debt, discounted $330 which is roughly the amount he would have inherited, but nothing at all was said about John’s $5900 debt. Furthermore, Ira signed a release, but John did not.

There was no discussion. No negotiation. Nothing. Had Eva made her intentions clear to her children?

John’s debt was HUGE compared to Ira’s and the distribution received by his siblings. $5900 for John’s forgiven debt compared to $348 each for the rest of his siblings.

John wound up with more than the rest of the heirs combined, who shared a total of $3139.71. John’s $5900 was almost double that.

There seemed to be no animosity or hard feelings, then or later. I NEVER heard one peep about this, and neither did Roscoe’s children who are still living. No one mentioned it at the 2010 reunion either.

If my mother had known something, she would likely have mentioned it, although John was probably quite embarrassed about whatever the situation was. I know his wife, my grandmother, Edith, would have been mortified.

The potential reasons that John may have been forgiven his debts are as follows:

  • John had vision problems, necessitating surgery on his eyes when he was a young man. Given this, I’m not at all sure he ever was able to see properly, but he clearly was not blind.
  • John studied to be a teacher, but never taught, which could have been related to his sight issue. Instead, he mastered telegraphy and became a train station agent until he bought a hardware store.
  • John purchased the hardware business in 1916 along with partner R. M. Frye. The family story mentioned that he lost it during the Depression, but in reality, he was out of the hardware business before the Depression hit. In 1920, he was in the hardware business according to the census, but by November of 1922, he is once again mentioned as the Big 4 Agent at Silver Lake in a news article that said he was very ill and his mother had been caring for him.
  • In November of 1922, Edith, John’s wife, was very pregnant for my mother while working and already had Lore, age 7, so I’m sure she welcomed her mother-in-law’s help with open arms.
  • In 1924, John went to work as a salesman for the Ford Dealership. The newspaper article states that he had sold the hardware business and he clearly is no longer station agent either. He worked at the Ford Dealership the rest of his life. I remember him still working in the late 1950s when he would have been in his late 70s. In essence, he worked until he literally could no longer.
  • In the 1930 census, John is a salesman for the Ford Garage. The family also raised chickens. Mother was paid a nickel for every chicken she cleaned and she cleaned so many that she hated cleaning chickens for the rest of her life. John is shown below with his favorite chicken.

John Ferverda and chicken

  • The Depression beginning in 1929 was financially devastating to John’s family. No one was buying cars or tractors and without a farm, John had nothing to sell, except chickens. Mom said they traded chickens for food and other essentials.
  • My mother had contracted Rheumatic Fever and was critically ill for months spanning into years. Her heart was damaged and she was not expected to live, initially. She was cared for by her father, John, and her grandmother Eva for months in about 1932 because her mother Edith’s income was the only stable income for the family. Mother said that the doctor had recommended that she have her tonsils removed because they became infected so often, which eventually led to the Rheumatic Fever, but her parents could not afford the surgery. Her parents always felt terrible, like they nearly killed her. While mother did recover, that recovery was very slow because her heart was weak. She danced for years to strengthen her heart.
  • John, shook, terribly – so severely that he could not lift a cup to drink without badly spilling the liquid. Eating was difficult for him and he was shaved at the barber shop because he couldn’t shave himself. We thought it was familial tremor, because other family members, including my mother had it as well. Mother never mentioned when her father began shaking, but now I wonder if his neurological issue might have been more than we realized. Did he perhaps have either MS or early onset Parkinson’s? How long had he shaken? Did that have anything to do with why he stopped working for the railroad in 1924? Could he not reliably tap out Morse Code? This might not explain why he needed the loan in 1924 and 1925, at age 42, but might explain why his siblings were willing to cut him so much slack and be so incredibly generous in 1941 when John would have been 59 years old with no hope of repaying his loan.

Was John attempting to pay off debts in 1924 from the failed hardware business? It appears so.

Maybe another trip to Kosciusko County to look at the court records, and deeds, is in order.

John and his mother were close life-long. After Hiram’s death, Eva spent a lot of time with John and family. When my mother was so gravely ill as a child, Eva lived with the family for some time. Mother said that Eva never drove an automobile, so other family members would take her where she needed to go, and she rotated between her children.

Eva often stayed with family members, and always helped when someone was ill. Mother was ill when her grandmother died and was unable to attend her funeral. She also couldn’t visit Eva when she was so gravely ill before her death and never got to say goodbye, for fear of infecting Eva. Mom was heartbroken.

However, not all of Eva passed away with her body.

Eva’s Mitochondrial DNA

We don’t have Eva’s mitochondrial DNA which could tell us so much about the history of her direct matrilineal line, meaning that of her mother Margaret Lentz, and Margaret’s mother Johanna Frederica Ruhle, and on up the direct line through all mothers. We know they were German, but nothing beyond a few generations. Mitochondrial DNA holds the key to unlocking that history.

All of Eva’s children inherited her mitochondrial DNA, but only females pass it on, so to view her mitochondrial DNA today, we have to test someone who descends from either her mother (or other direct matrilineal female ancestors) through all females, or from Eva through all females.

Eva had two half-sisters through her mother whose female children would have passed on the same mitochondrial DNA to their children that Eva carried.

  • Lucinda Whitehead (1842-1935) married Joseph Haney and had 3 daughters
    • Cecil Marie Haney (1884-1977) married Bert Eugene Dausman and had 3 daughters
      • Dorothy Dausman (1903-1987) married Edward Pippenger
      • Helen Dausman (1906-1994) married Joseph Perkins
      • Trella Dausman (1909-1983) married Ladsie Straka

Any children of Dorothy, Helen or Trella carry their mothers’ mitochondrial DNA, and female children pass it on to the next generation.

  • Mary Jane Whitehead (1852-1931) married John D. Ulery and had 1 daughter
    • Margaret Elizabeth Ulery (1872-1959) married Albert Mutschler and had 1 daughter
      • Mary Laureme Mutschler (1898-1990) would have passed her mitochondrial DNA to her children and female children pass it on to the next generation.

Eva had 4 daughters:

  • Edith Ferverda (1879-1955) married Thomas Dye and had 1 daughter
    • Ruth Evaline Dye (1987-1992) who married Robert Kelly and had 2 sons, either of which would carry Eva’s mitochondrial DNA, but neither would pass it to their children. If they are both deceased, this line is dead for Eva’s mitochondrial DNA.
      • Roger Kelly
      • Allen Kelly
  • Elizabeth Gertrude “Gertie” Ferverda (1884-1966) married Louis Hartman and had two daughters, but only one had children
    • Louisa Hartman (1903-1970) married Ora Tenney and had 3 children, but only two who are living or are female and passed on the mitochondrial DNA.
      • Richard Tenney
      • Roberta Tenney who married Rulo Frush
  • Chloe Evaline Ferverda (1886-1984) married Rolland Robison and had one daughter
    • Charlotte Robison (1924-2003) married Bruce Howard and had 5 children.
      • Susan Howard married Richard Higg
      • Mary Carol Howard married David Bryan
      • James Howard
      • Thomas Howard
      • Sally Howard
  • Margaret Ferverda (1902-1984) married Chester Glant and had 4 children
    • George Glant
    • Chester Glant
    • Mary Glant married Varrill Wigner
    • Joyce Glant married Delferd Zimmerman

Any of Eva’s descendants listed above who are living carry her mitochondrial DNA. The females passed it on to their offspring.

I have a fully paid DNA testing scholarship for the first person to contact me that carries the mitochondrial DNA of Eva Miller Ferverda. Are you the lucky person? Is so, please leave a comment on this article or drop me a line at

Eva’s Legacy

About 15 years ago, I went to Elkhart County, Indiana and met with cousin Rex Miller.

Rex Miller

Rex passed away this week, on his 99th birthday, as I was writing this article.

Rex was the only person I ever met that knew Eva, except my mother of course. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask my mother enough questions while she was alive. Rex, on the other hand, as one of the trustees of the Baintertown Cemetery where our ancestors are buried was interested in family history and he volunteered so much information.

Eva died when Rex was 19 years old. He knew her. He told me that they had regular family reunions, and he remembered her well both at the house in town and on the Ferverda farm. He said that Eva was an extremely kind and wonderful Christian lady.

Everyone who ever spoke of Eva mentioned her kindness and caring. The fact that she had so little to give after her death spoke to the fact that she gave so much during her life.

The fact that she went from family to family caring for the ill, especially after Hiram’s death spoke volumes about the priorities of this woman.

The fact that in her 7-page hand-written letter or article (of which page 6 is missing), Eva says, “It is the little deeds we do which count for so much…” speaks volumes.

Indeed, the big things are made up of countless little things – and Eva will always be remembered for her kindness. To quote Rex, “She was a fine, fine lady.”

That, indeed, is Eva’s legacy.

Autosomal DNA – Rex’s Gift to Eva

Rex Miller was Eva’s great nephew.

Rex Miller and Mom pedigree

Rex was the same generation as my mother.

His DNA was invaluable to mother and Eva’s genealogy – because Rex’s autosomal DNA matches that of Eva’s descendants as well as descendants of John David Miller and Margaret Elizabeth Lentz, Eva’s parents. These matches make it easy to tell which segments of DNA come from the Lentz/Miller line.

The chromosome browser above shows some of the segments that mother matches in common with Rex, in blue. Those segments were inherited by both Mom and Rex from John David Miller and Margaret Lentz, their common ancestral couple.

After immediate family, Rex is Mom’s third closest autosomal DNA match, following her 2 first cousins who are the children of John Ferverda’s sibling. Looking at who Rex matches “in common with” mother, I see that 149 people match both Mom and Rex at Family Tree DNA and 318 at MyHeritage. That means that barring a very unexpected double relationship from two different countries, those matches can be assigned to mother’s Lentz or Miller side, assuming they are not identical by chance. If they also match a relative who descends from only the Lentz or Miller line – I can be even more specific in my family line assignment of that match.

Mother’s 3C1R, Charles Lentz fits that bill.

A common match between Mother, another person and Charles Lentz allows me to tell which side of the Lentz/Miller marriage the person matching Mom and Charles and their common segments are from, and assign the match a generation further up the tree beyond Margaret Lentz.

Lentz, Miller Mom pedigree

A common match on a segment between Rex, Mom and Charles would mean that segment originated on the Lentz side of the marriage between Margaret Lentz and John David Miller.

Rex’s DNA test is at Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage and GedMatch, as is mothers and two other individuals who are descended from Evaline and the same generation as my mother.

There is no documented case of second cousins or closer not matching autosomal DNA with each other. Mom and Rex are second cousins. 90% of third cousins match as well, so the fact that Rex, Mom and two more cousins of the same generation have tested is a huge boon to Miller and Lentz genealogists.

If you are descended from the Miller, Lentz or Ferverda line, search for DNA matches with Rex Miller, Barbara Ferverda or any other Ferverda/Fervida. The surname is rare and you can pretty much bet, in the US, if you match a Ferverda, there’s a good chance it’s from Hiram and Eva’s line.

The ability for Eva and Rex’s DNA, combined, to shine the light backwards in time, pinpointing ancestors is the genetic legacy of both of these fine people.



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Exciting New Y DNA Haplogroup D Discoveries!

Haplogroup D is a very old branch of Y-DNA that has remained rather mysterious. It has been uncertain where haplogroup D was born – in Africa, Asia or elsewhere – and when. It’s always fascinating when new research sheds light on the early history of humanity – discovered through people living and testing today.

In the current issue of Genetics, the article A Rare Deep-Rooting African Y-chromosomal Haplogroup and its Implications for the Expansion of Modern Humans Out of Africa by Haber et al appeared.

Their abstract:

Present-day humans outside Africa descend mainly from a single expansion out ∼50,000-70,000 years ago, but many details of this expansion remain unclear, including the history of the male-specific Y chromosome at this time. Here, we re-investigate a rare deep-rooting African Y-chromosomal lineage by sequencing the whole genomes of three Nigerian men described in 2003 as carrying haplogroup DE* Y-chromosomes, and analyzing them in the context of a calibrated worldwide Y-chromosomal phylogeny. We confirm that these three chromosomes do represent a deep-rooting DE lineage, branching close to the DE bifurcation, but place them on the D branch as an outgroup to all other known D chromosomes, and designate the new lineage D0. We consider three models for the expansion of Y lineages out of Africa ∼50,000-100,000 years ago, incorporating migration back to Africa where necessary to explain present-day Y-lineage distributions. Considering both the Y-chromosomal phylogenetic structure incorporating the D0 lineage, and published evidence for modern humans outside Africa, the most favored model involves an origin of the DE lineage within Africa with D0 and E remaining there, and migration out of the three lineages (C, D and FT) that now form the vast majority of non-African Y chromosomes. The exit took place 50,300-81,000 years ago (latest date for FT lineage expansion outside Africa – earliest date for the D/D0 lineage split inside Africa), and most likely 50,300-59,400 years ago (considering Neanderthal admixture).

Haplogroup DE was and is very rare. Because of its rarity, and that it had initially been reported in one man from Guinea-Bissau in West Africa and two Tibetans, it was unclear where DE originated, or when.

This new paper sequenced three men from Africa and five from Tibet.

D Splits

The result of the paper is that the authors confirm that the DE lineage split consists of three branches:

  • E which is “mainly African” which we’ve known for a long time
  • D0 which is exclusively African with the 3 Nigerian samples being within 2500 years of each other
  • D which is exclusively non-African

To calibrate the branch length between any two samples when calculating split times, the authors multiplied the number of derived variants (mutations) found in the first sample but absent from the record, meaning previously unknown.

In supplementary table S2, they recalculate the splits between the various haplogroups. I found the table confusing to read, so I reached out to Goran Runfeldt who heads the scientific research team at Family Tree DNA to make this simpler.

I knew from previous discussions with the team that they had split the haplogroup D line internally to reflect a new branch at the time they named D-FT75 and subsequently D-FT76, and they were waiting for verification from multiple tests before splitting the line further.

Haplogroup D root and split

On the Family Tree DNA block tree, above, you can see the D split between D-F974 which is the main haplogroup D root (navy blue) which then splits into D-M174 which is the old line referred to as Haplogroup D, and the new D0/D2/D-FT75 lineage, both in lighter blue. You can see the public tree, here.

Goran explained that Family Tree DNA has actually found multiple lineages in what the authors call D0, which ISOGG calls D2 and Family Tree DNA refers to by the defining SNP as D-FT75.

If you’re like me, looking at this information in pedigree format is easier to comprehend.

I asked Goran and Big Y haplotree guru, Michael Sager if they could create something easy to understand. You can see them working together in this photo. Thanks guys!

Goran Runfeldt and Michael Sager

The Haplogroup D Tree

Note that the following graphic is NOT TO TIME SCALE. Currently tested, unplaced and and pending samples are at the bottom.

Haplogroup D Family Tree DNA diagram

In the chart above, haplogroups in red at the top are the base haplogroups, not refined by the paper. Green is the already known upper structure of haplogroup D. Tan is the haplogroup D structure being refined by Family Tree DNA. The blue group is the Nigerian structure from the paper.

Divergence times as quoted in the paper are noted. For example, the time between the split between CT and BT, according to the paper, is approximately 101.1 thousand years ago. (kya means thousands of years ago)

How the D-FT75 Branch was Discovered

At the end of 2018, Family Tree DNA published the first SNPs from the new haplogroup D lineage to the ISOGG SNP index. During 2019, additional SNPs have been added, including the new haplogroup D lines of D-FT75 and D-FT76.

I asked Michael Sager how he made that discovery.

When a customer purchases an STR test, if Family Tree DNA cannot reliably predict a haplogroup, they will run a backbone test, at no additional charge to the customer, to test enough SNPs to at least call a base level haplogroup, such as R-M269.

In this case, Family Tree DNA ran a backbone test on a customer’s Y DNA and the result came back as something Michael had never seen before – haplogroup CT, but no subgroup. As you’ve already noticed, haplogroup CT is far up the tree and Michael needed more information.

Michael said that he knew the only possible options were:

  • CT* – where star means there is no subgroup. An individual with no CT subgroup has never been found, to date
  • A lineage that breaks CT into a further haplogroup
  • Haplogroup DE*
  • A lineage that breaks haplogroup DE into further branches
  • A lineage that breaks haplogroup D into further branches
  • A lineage that breaks haplogroup E into further branches

After the backbone results were returned, Family Tree DNA contacted the customer and asked permission to run a Big Y test. The result was the discovery and naming of D-FT75 and D-FT76 which split D, twice, into new subgroups.

Further testing has verified the haplogroup D-FT76 finding in another Saudi Arabian male. Two additional haplogroup D males have results pending – one from Syria and one from another part of the world.

We now know that indeed the new branch of D, D0/D2/D-F75 has been found outside Africa, specifically in Saudi Arabia. It’s possible that there are more than two distinct lineages. We’ll know more as pending results come back from the lab.

However, what can be added is that according to the paper, the age of haplogroup D to the Nigerian samples is 71,400 years. The Family Tree DNA calculations based on the total number of 702 SNPs at 100 years per SNP suggest that the age is 70,200, which is very close to the 71,400 age in the paper. Additionally, because of the haplogroup FT75 and FT76 split, we can estimate the age of the divergence of those two lines with 261 SNPs between them at between 26,000 and 26,500 years, using these two calculation methods.

To quote Michael Sager, it’s “pretty neat to find a 20,000+-year-old NEW branch off of a 70,000+-year-old NEW branch.” I’d certainly agree!

Family Tree DNA would also like to place the Nigerian samples precisely on the tree.

In the supplemental data, the paper provided a list of the HG19 SNPs that are positive, including the positions for both D-FT75 and D-FT76, but did not list the SNPs that were negative. In order for Family Tree DNA to assign the Nigerian samples from the paper precisely to a branch, they need the BAM file because they need to see positive, negative and no-call SNPs. Family Tree DNA would also need to convert the results from build HG19, used by the authors, to current HG38.

What About You?

If you’re a male and have taken a Y STR test, meaning the 12, 25, 37, 67 or 111 marker test and you do not have a predicted haplogroup, please contact support at Family Tree DNA.

The best thing you can do, if you haven’t Y DNA tested, is to actually take a Y DNA test at Family Tree DNA. You can start out with the STR marker test which provides you with STR marker results, matching to other males and a haplogroup prediction.

Many individuals also purchase the Big Y-700 test which provides a very granular haplogroup – the most detailed possible, matching and at least 700 STR marker results – in addition to revealing never before discovered SNPs. Without the Big Y test, D-FT75 and D-FT76 and most of the 150,000 Y SNPs would not yet be discovered. This is the only test that can make new discoveries like this.

To summarize, you can be a part of scientific discovery if you’re a male (only males have Y chromosomes) by either:

  • Testing your Y DNA by taking a 37, 67 or 111 marker test
  • Ordering or upgrading to the Big Y-700 test

You can click here to order or upgrade.



I receive a small contribution when you click on the link to one of the vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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Exploring Family Trees Website, Including Average DNA Percent Inheritance by Ancestor

Sometimes you just have to do something just because it’s fun.

That’s the website learnforeverlearn at this link, a free tool created by B. F. Lyon visualizations that allows you to view your family tree or pedigree chart in very novel ways.

Here’s what greets you.

learnforever splash

The “About This” link at the very top of the page shows the following:

learnforever about

In case you’re wondering, your Gedcom file never leaves your PC, so you don’t need to worry about security.

Getting Started

First, you’ll be prompted to upload a Gedcom file, a file generated by either your genealogy software like RootsMagic or a site like Ancestry. If you have a tree at Ancestry, you can download it into a Gedcom file format and save on your computer.

My own personal Gedcom file from my PC software was too large, so I downloaded a smaller file that I use on Ancestry. I’ve entered all of my ancestors at Ancestry through 12 generations, if known, and some of their children. I use my Ancestry file to focus on direct line ancestors and DNA matches, not as my primary tree.

The first thing you see after uploading your Gedcom file is that your pedigree chart is displayed in one tree. If you want to see examples before uploading your own, click here, or view mine below. You can click to see a larger image.

learnforever ancestors

What fun! If you’ve experienced pedigree collapse where you are descended from the same ancestral line multiple times, you’ll see that in this large pedigree map. I don’t have pedigree collapse, but you take a look at fun examples under “Sample Trees.”

If you want to see more detail, just scroll your mouse wheel for larger or smaller. If you get yourself lost, simply reset pan/zoom or reset to the root person.

You can’t “hurt” this application because you reload your file every time you want to use it, so you can always just start over.

Your options are at the top, but by mousing over anything on the page, you can generally learn a lot more. Every time I use this tool, I notice something I didn’t see previously.

learnforever toolbar

Let’s take a look at what you can do.

Who’s Who

I currently have 793 individuals in my tree. By clicking on the “Current Tree Details” at the top of the page, you can see the list of who is included.

learnforever tree detail

This is an easy way to see if you have any issues in your file. I quickly discovered that I have two people with typos in their birth dates because the years have 3 digits. How did that happen?

Validation Check

You can also run a data validation check.

learnforever data validation

What a valuable tool!

Hmmm, looks like I need to do some cleanup. Ahem!!

The X Chromosome

At the top right, you can click on “Highlight X DNA Contributions” which creates a view of the people who contributed or are candidates to contribute segments of their X chromosome to the home person. Remember that you can change the home (root) person to someone else in your tree, like maybe one of your parents, for example.

The X is important because it has unique inheritance properties that can be very helpful that I wrote about here.

learnforever x contributions

I moused over the various people and discovered that when you “land” on someone, you can view their information. In this case, my great-grandmother who, on average, contributed 12.5% of her DNA to me and 25% of her X chromosome.

learnforever ancestor contribution

I can then view Evaline’s ancestor or descendant tree, or a straight path to the root, which is me, by clicking the blue buttons.

learnforever ancestor tree


learnforever years

By scrolling your mouse up and down between people, you can see a horizontal black “line” that shows you a year. By following the line, you can see who in your tree was living during that year.

learnforever living years

Gosh this is fun!


By mousing over the green year bar at far right, you can see what was going on historically at that time, as well as in your own family.

learnforever history

I love this tool!


Under the options tab, at upper left, by toggling the flag icon, you can then view your tree by birth location.

learnforever options

I love this view.

learnforever flags

You can view the migration progression by just looking at your tree.

Scroll on down the options tab for more display possibilities.

Possible Immigrants

learnforever possible immigrants

Ancestor Information

learnforever statistics

In my case, the “number of children” information isn’t accurate because I have not fleshed out the families at Ancestry. I was only working primarily with my direct ancestors.

Unique Birthplaces

learnforever birthplaces

I’ve combined unique birthplaces with potential immigrants.

Ancestor Cone

learnforever ancestor cone

By mousing, you can see how many ancestors you had at a particular time and the total world population.

learnforever ancestors vs world population

Wow. In 1615, I had 16,384 ancestors? I need to get busy! I am never going to be finished!

Just when you think you can’t have any more fun…

You can read more about this tool and ways to use it in an article written by the author here.

Thank You

I don’t know B. F. Lyon who created this cool free website, but under the options tab, I found this:

Want more options/features? Let me know at

Please drop Brad a note to say thank you or offer suggestions!



I receive a small contribution when you click on some (but not all) of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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Taking Time to Say I Love You – 52 Ancestors #242

It’s Father’s Day, and of course, we’re either with our fathers or missing them.

This Father’s Day, I can’t help but think of my step-father, Dean Long.

Me Dad wedding

This is us together at my wedding. Can you tell that we utterly adored each other, without reservation?

And while this is my favorite picture of him, wearing one of only 2 suits he ever owned, that’s not how I really remember him best.

Dad was full of life and levity.


He started early as a prankster – in his teens, seen here with his never-smiling sister Verma. He had obviously done something to deserve that “disproving glare” and you can bet he was very proud of himself!

He spent his entire life “in trouble” for some kind of escapade or practical joke.


This, this is how I remember Dad, having appropriated an old cast-off coat and created a fashion-statement hat.

Dad Halloween.jpg

And this, as I was getting my kids ready to go trick or treating. They wore matching masks.

Dad Halloween daughter.jpg

Hugging my daughter. He would have laid his life down for that child and very nearly did.

Butch and Dad

His step-grandchildren had no idea he wasn’t “blood related.” They completely adored him. This baby, my son, tells me that “Pawpaw” still visits him in his dreams.

dad6 crop

Dad in his first suit, complete with wig. No, I have no idea “why.” He never needed a reason to laugh or make you laugh either! He was known to appear, comically, at the most unexpected times, places and in completely out of context ways. Like…in a suit at some “event” he didn’t particularly want to attend, wearing a wig.

He was even late to his own funeral. We suspect he paid of the funeral director in advance for that tone!

Dad pregnant

And here’s Dad, wearing MY orange dress, “pregnant,” in 1978. Look at that farmer’s tan!


He played that for all it was worth including waddling and groaning! I had to provide lessons and the requisite pillow! I laughed so hard I was gasping for air and crying. I think we both did!


This grainy out-of-focus picture taken at some long-forgotten fundraiser tells the story. A man of modest means, he was always doing something for someone else even if it did require being pregnant. Believe me, lots of people paid to see that!

Dad was a farmer but raised orphan animals. He rescued creatures with no hope, bringing them home to me and Mom.

Dad chose me as his daughter, telling me that when he married my mother, he “got his baby girl back.” Linda would have been about my age and died 2 days after Christmas in 1959. He never stopped grieving her death.

His first wife, Linda’s mother, died 9 years later. He never stopped grieving Martha either, always visiting and cleaning their graves on Memorial Day. We never accompanied him. It was a trip he needed to make alone.

Dad and Frosty.jpg

Here Dad is taking his daily 20 minute after-lunch nap with Frosty, his constant companion, a 3-legged cat that broke her back as a kitten in the barn. He thought there was no saving Frosty, but she outlived him. Love works miracles sometimes.

They are together now.

Dad was quite the practical jokester, participating in Rendezvous’ and Encampments throughout Indiana.


Schoolchildren attended on field trips and he educated them about pioneers and using everything at your disposal, wasting nothing. You could say he was an early recycler. It wasn’t “fashionable” then, but born of lifelong necessity. It was just the way life had always been on the farm.


Of course, there was always some funny tall tale to be told – like the yarn about the bull with the one red eye. I shudder to think. Those kids probably still have nightmares!

I made Dad’s Rendezvous clothes by hand in true pioneer style.

Dad's buttons.jpg

He carved buttons and fasteners out of bone and wood. We made such a good team. After his death, I mounted a few in a frame so they wouldn’t get lost. I can still see him intently working with his gnarled old hands.


The stories around the campfire as the “pioneer” mountainmen gathered in the evenings were less family friendly, but quite humorous, nonetheless.

One time his buddies even hung him, after a mock trial, for molesting a groundhog – all in good fun. (No groundhogs were actually molested.)

He was, of course, rescued at the last minute. I think mother and I coincidentally happened to arrive, in costume, and leapt into action just in time to save him from sure and certain death. Complete with righteous indignation of course. Mother playing the “Well, I never…what have you done now???” role with me sneaking in with a hatchet hidden under my skirt in the nick of time to spontaneously chop the gallows rope from around his neck, facilitating his escape!

Those were the days.

Dad loved the encampments which afforded opportunities to work with his hands, somewhat raucous camaraderie and to connect with and educate young people.

Dad's Indiana banner.jpg

I cross-stitched Dad a “banner” with the location of each of the encampments he frequented for him to hang and display at his campsite, but he hung it on the door at home instead. Mom said he was afraid it would be damaged or stained, although I viewed that as “seasoning.” I wanted him to use it, but I was secretly pleased that he loved it so much. It still hangs in my house now, 25 years after his passing.

Dad was too ill to “camp” the last summer before he passed away on Labor Day weekend, 1994. The following summer, the “rendezvous farewell ritual” took place.

Dad's encampment.jpg

Dad’s campsite was set up by his friends just like always, but was of course vacant. On Saturday evening, a fire was built in his fire pit, and everyone gathered round, telling stories and regaling tales about Dad, whose nickname was “Hoot” – because he was.

I absolutely had to attend, traveling from out of state, but mother just couldn’t. The grief was still too raw. His son didn’t bother.

Each person took turns telling stories that evening.

I laughed. I cried. A lot. Sometimes at the same time. Is that even possible?

I said, in a quiet moment, as the firelight flickered and the wood crackled, that I simply could not have had a better father if I had been his own blood.

The comfortable silence continued with everyone lost in their own thoughts when finally one of his buddies said, softly, barely audibly, “We had no idea he wasn’t your father. We knew that one of his two children was a step-child, but we thought you were his daughter. You’re the one who always came with him and made his things.”

You know why they thought that? Because I am, in my heart, and in his too.

I loved that man to depths I still can’t fathom. The grief is still new and palpable and raw, even 25 years later – especially on “those days,” like Father’s Day, his birthday, Christmas, and the anniversary of his death.

Also on days when I see cornfields, barns, cows, pigs, weeds, dandelions, snow, cats, dogs, tractors or flowers, especially his ferns growing in my garden, waist high this year.

Yes, pretty much everyday.


I’ve passed on some of the ferns and flowers from Dad’s garden, having passed through two of mine, to those grandchildren, now adults. His ferns, joyful reminders of carefree childhood summers spent on the farm.

I am eternally, sorrowfully, grateful.

I wish I had told him more often and could tell him, in person, just one more time. It didn’t seem necessary. I thought I had forever. I didn’t.

All I can do now is visit his grave.

Mom, Dad, grave.jpg

Thank you, Dad.

I love you.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some (but not all) of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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DNA Testing the Recently Deceased

No one really want to think about this, but it happens.

You’ve always meant to DNA test someone, and they’ve agreed, but either you didn’t order the kit, or the kit is far away from where they passed away.

What can you do?

Take heart, all is not lost. You have two options.

Swabbing the dead

Swabbing the Deceased

Some funeral homes work with companies for DNA preservation and other services, but these services do not provide you with genealogy results from any of the major vendors and are processed by the lab associated with the company whose kit the funeral home is selling.

For genealogy, you have two options.

  1. Call Family Tree DNA (713-868-1438 9-5 CST) and have them overnight you a swab kit. The funeral director can swab the inside of their cheek and generally, funeral directors do a great job. You may want to ask for extra vials to be included in the overnight package, just in case. This is your last (and only) chance.
  2. If you don’t have time or aren’t in a location where you can receive an overnight delivery, purchase an Identigene paternity test kit at any CVS or similar drugstore. That kit will cost you about $27 for the kit alone, but the kit contains sterile swabs and a sterile pouch for inserting the swabs after swabbing the inside of the cheek. DO NOT SEND THE SWABS TO IDENTIGENE. Instead, call Family Tree DNA and explain that you are sending the Identigene swabs to their lab for processing. They will provide you with instructions and you must obtain approval before sending non-standard swabs for processing.

Caveats and Alternatives

  • Cheek swabbing must occur before embalming because embalming fluid interferes with DNA processing, per Dr. Connie Bormans, lab director at GenebyGene.
  • Having said that, there are cases where swabbing has taken place after embalming and it did work. It doesn’t hurt anything to try. The worst that happens is that the test fails.
  • Per my friendly mortician, if you’re desperate and embalming has occurred, another area where some have achieved swabbing success is the crease behind the ear lobe where skin cells tend to become trapped if the body has not already been cleaned in that area. At this point, you have nothing to lose by trying.
  • Please note that sometimes “overnight” is not actually overnight. I attempted to overnight something across the Memorial Day weekend and “overnight” in that case was actually Friday to Tuesday for all carriers. If you are in a pickle, be aware of delivery constraints surrounding weekends, holidays and perhaps a very remote location.


After the kit is returned to Family Tree DNA for processing, you can order the regular suite of tests. I would suggest that you order all the tests you actually want initially, because the quantity and/or quality of the DNA sample may be questionable.

In other words, later upgrades may not be successful. I had that situation occur with my aunt’s mitochondrial DNA test results. The initial mtPlus test was successful, but her sample could not be upgraded to either the mitochondrial full sequence or Family Finder.

Three Data Bases in One Test

While you can’t obtain a spit sample from a deceased person for other autosomal tests, you can transfer the person’s autosomal DNA results to both GedMatch and MyHeritage for additional matching after processing.

Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in this difficult situation, but if you do, you have options.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some (but not all) of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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Hiram Ferverda, Part 3: Banker, Marshall and Yes, Still Brethren – 52 Ancestors #241

Hiram was born in the Netherlands in 1854.

His first article, Hiram Bauke Ferverda (1854-1925), Part 1: Baker’s Apprentice chronicled his life in the Netherlands.

In 1868, at age 13, Bauke immigrated to the US with his family. His life after immigration, as a farmer in Elkhart and Kosciusko Counties in Indiana, was documented in Hiram Bauke Ferverda (1854-1925), Part 2: American Farmer.

Part 3 begins with Hiram’s move to town and new career, beginning at age 54, and takes several entirely unexpected turns. You might want to make a cup of tea, because this one is both fascinating and long. It’s amazing what you can find in local newspapers that allows us to time travel and visit our ancestors in the time and place where they lived.

I must say that I had NO IDEA of most of the events that both influenced and changed Hiram’s life before I mined the newspaper articles. This man was alive 100 years ago, so I thought I knew about him through my family, but I didn’t. I would never have expected many of these discoveries because of his Brethren religion, but here they are, in black and white. A complete dichotomy.

I feel like I actually know Hiram today – and I thought I knew him before but all I had was a sketchy outline, a couple fuzzy stories and a few paragraphs in a book.

  • Hiram both upheld the law and broke the law.
  • Hiram eschewed violence but was a lawman.
  • Hiram was a pacifist, yet 4 of his sons proudly served their country.

This man was a study in opposites and perhaps in conflict as well.

Come along on Hiram’s amazing “second act” journey!

The Move to Leesburg, Indiana

In 1908, Hiram’s life took a dramatic change – and not one you’d expect for a farmer and certainly not for a farmer past the half century mark.

Hiram moved to town. Not a big town, but Leesburg with about 800 people, the closest town to his farm – more like a village. Hiram gave up farming, with his son moving to his farm and taking over day to day operations.

According to the Ferverda booklet written in 1978, Hiram supervised the laying of the brick streets in Leesburg which vehicles still drive on every day. I visited Leesburg in May of 2019 and found those same brick streets which remain beautiful, a tribute to his work more than 100 years ago.


Prairie Street in Leesburg, Indiana

Hiram became a director of the Peoples State Bank in 1908 and later Vice-President. Yep, he became a banker. Farmer to banker – now THAT’S a career change!

Son Donald Ferverda became Cashier a decade later, after his high school graduation, and eventually Director before his untimely death. In later years, another son, Ray Ferverda, became a Director and Vice-President as well.

It’s unclear where the actual bank property was located, although it may have been where the Freedom Express office building is found today.

Hiram’s Property

Hiram owned the entire section between Main on the west, Church on the south, the right side of this graphic and the alley between Church and Prairie on the north.

Hiram Ferverda google map Church Street.png

Today, that’s the gas pump area of the Freedom Express convenience store and gas station – along with the lots to the right along Church Street.

Note that in this aerial, you can still see the red bricks on Prairie Street. It’s possible that Hiram owned the area noted with the Freedom Express too. The deeds are not clear.

Hiram Ferverda google map Church Street aerial.png

The Kosciusko County Surveyor’s office was extremely gracious, providing me with the 1938 flyover image of these properties.

It’s possible but uncertain if Hiram also owned the top portion of the lot, now 201, then referred to as 117, that includes the Freedom Express building itself today.

Hiram Ferverda Church Street 1938 flyover.png

These images are grainy and difficult to see, but we can discern structures.

The deed for this property is confusing. Between the Auditor’s office, the Recorder’s office and the Surveyor, I think we have it straight.

Hiram Ferverda 1909 deed.jpg

The problem begins with the fact that the lot numbers given in the deed are not the same as the lot numbers today. To help map this, a rod equals 16.5 feet.

Lot 117 was originally what is showing today as both 201 and 205, which provides us with a place of beginning and is shown on their GIS system below.

Hiram Ferverda Leesburg GIS.jpg

However, based on the deed metes and bounds, lot 117 does NOT appear to encompass both 201 and 205, only 201. There was some confusion about this when I was in the Recorder and Auditor’s offices too. Based on the metes and bounds, it appears that lot 117 incorporated 201 and lot 116 incorporated 211 and possibly 209/207 as well. Perhaps lot numbers has not been assigned to 205, 305, 208 and 206, the properties it appears that Hiram owned.

201 and 205 are addresses today, on Main. 305 is on Hickory. 206 and 208 are on Church and 207, 209 and 211 are on Prairie.

Based on the metes and bounds, it appears that Hiram owned the red area, 205 below, and not 201.

Hiram Ferverda GIS land.png

One of the offices told me that lot 201 or 205 had been the Farmer’s State Bank before it was purchased for a gas station and convenience store. This building, below, on lot 201 would be the best candidate.

Hiram Ferverda Lot 201.jpg

However, the most recent Farmer’s State Bank building was directly across Main Street from this location, so the person may have been recalling that.

Hiram Ferverda Leesburg 1938 structures.png

In this 1938 flyover, we can see that there are two buildings on this group of lots owned by Hiram. One on the main property, at the left, and one on Hickory at the alley, which probably wasn’t Hiram’s home based on other evidence. I wish these were clearer, but it’s great to have anything from 1938. Eva would still have been living then, probably in this house. Maybe she was inside when the picture was taken!

Perhaps Hiram did not actually own the bank itself which could have been on lot 201, or even downtown. My brother John told me that Hiram and Eva lived “on the main road” which would reflect a house on the corner of Church and Main. In any event, today, I pumped gas where their house once stood – where my mother went to play as a child.

Hiram Ferverda Citgo.jpg

This photo is taken from across Main Street, looking at lot 205. The convenience store part of the building, and the small office building facing Prairie behind the convenience store sits on lot 201 today.

Hiram Ferverda 201-205.jpg

Hiram and Eva’s home would have been right about where that canopy shields people who pump gas today. I didn’t realize that when I was gassing up on “their” land.

Hiram Ferverda 205 only.jpg

Looking down Church Street from the East end of Hiram’s property back towards Main, we can see that only modern buildings exist today.

Hiram Ferverda Church street lots.jpg

No houses were present in 1938 except on 205, which had to be Hiram’s house.

Let’s take a look at Hiram’s life through the newspapers.


January 11, 1908 – Warsaw Daily Times – Margaret Ferverda, who has been quite sick, is improving.

Margaret turned 6 on January 12th.

April 2, 1908 – The Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda April 1908.png

Hiram’s father, Bauke, known as Baker in the US, is Grandpa Ferverda whose wife had died in 1906.

Hiram Becomes a Banker

April 17, 1908 – Warsaw Daily Time

Hiram Ferverda April 1908 banker.png

I can’t even begin to imagine what possessed Hiram to open a bank! It looks like the new bank was in the same building as an existing bank with the same people involved, given that Joel Hall is president of the new bank.

Brethren typically wanted nothing to do with government, nothing to do with “swearing oaths” or signing documents. Many deeds were never registered nor were licenses obtained for marriages in Brethren families. Even for a progressive Brethren, owning a bank was a huge step. Had I not known better, I would immediately eliminate the Brethren religion for any person owning a bank, being involved with government, law enforcement or warfare of any kind. This was very out of character and unexpected.

Hiram would die before the economic crash of 1929, and maybe that’s a good thing, because that might just have killed him. Banks didn’t fare well although this one survived.

And a Politician

June 2, 1908 – Warsaw Daily Times – Republican County Convention – Representatives if Party Assemble in Auditorium at Winona Lake and Choose County Ticket – (many names including) Plain Township – first precinct – Hiram Ferverda

Winona Lake is threaded throughout the news. Not only was it a recreational area, but many conferences were held there, making it a destination area throughout Indiana. Apparently, the Winona Lake region, located nearby, had facilities to handle, and house, crowds.

June 11, 1908 – Northern Indianian – Republican Convention held at Plymouth Indiana for congressional nominee. Speeches were given and the seat is contested. The convention is being held in the open air on the lawn of the old Henry C. Thayer property. Those Kosciuskoans who went to the Plymouth on the Pennsylvania train leaving this city at 8:20 a include…Hiram Ferverda.

Death is Ever Present

Especially in large families, death is an ever-present fact of life. Penicillin wasn’t discovered until 1928. People died then of infections and diseases that would be easily curable today.

October 22, 1908 – Hiram’s sister, Melvinda, died on October 12, 1899, leaving husband James Gibson and daughters, Minnie, Gertrude and Alma. James Gibson died on May 30, 1907, and daughter Alma died on September 10, 1908 of tetanus.

Hiram’s brother, William, became the guardian of both surviving daughters, replacing Peter Bucher, with Hiram posting his performance bond in the amount of $2000. Hiram signed this bond, providing us with his only actual signature.

Hiram Ferverda October 1908 bond.jpg

I love Hiram’s signature, below that of his brother, William. He actually signed in two different places on that document

Hiram Ferverda signature.jpg

Nov. 12, 1908 – Warsaw Daily Union. Marriage license issued to Rolland Z. Robison and Chloe Ferverda, both of Leesburg.

Rolland, known as Rollie, and Chloe would have an unnamed stillborn son in 1911, then Robert Robinson, Earl Robinson and Charlotte Robinson.

Hiram Ferverda, Eva, Chloe, Margaret.jpg

This photo, brought to the 2010 reunion shows Eva, Chloe, Hiram, Margaret, Bob (Robert) and Earl.

Robert was born in 1913 and Earl in November 1916, so I’d guess this was taken about 1917 or perhaps 1918. Hiram would have been about 64.

Dec. 24, 1908 – Northern Indianian – H. B. Ferverda allowed $48.24 for the gravel road in Plain Twp.


February 3, 1910 – Northern Indianian – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg was in the city (Warsaw) Thursday.

Hiram Ferverda Warsaw courthouse.jpg

I visited the courthouse in Warsaw in May of 2019, knowing that Hiram would have been in this building many times, attending to business.

February 5, 1909 – Warsaw Daily Times – Samuel Ulery, George W. Cummings, Hiram Ferverda and Charles Matthews, of Salem and vicinity will all move to Leesburg.

Samuel Ulery was related to Hiram’s wife, Eva Miller, in multiple ways.

Hiram opened the bank in 1908 and moved to Leesburg a year later in 1909, probably to be closer to business affairs. As reported on the Farmers State Bank web page, local people and farmers had confidence in people they knew. I do wonder why these several families moved to Leesburg at the same time. Leesburg was then and still is small, the downtown extending all of a block.

Hiram Ferverda Leesburg business district.jpg

I love the bricked-in windows that give us a hint of what these building used to look like.

Hiram Ferverda Leesburg business district center.jpg

These old buildings speak of times that were. This entire business district is all of one block long.

Hiram Ferverda Leesburg business district end.jpg

I’d like to know what these buildings where when Hiram lived in Leesburg.

Hiram Ferverda Leesburg 1907 building.jpg

At the top of this building, you can see that it was built in 1907, so it was brand-spanking new when Hiram lived here.

One of these buildings was assuredly the Town Hall where Hiram would conduct many of his duties.

It seems that Sundays were church and then social days.

February 11, 1909 – Warsaw Daily Union – Hiram Ferverda, wife and little daughter Margaret were Sunday guests of Erve Ferverda.

Moved to Leesburg

March 10, 1909 – Warsaw Daily Union – Hiram Ferverda moved to Leesburg Wednesday and Thursday Erve Ferverda moved on the home place.

On March 19, 1909, Hiram bought the lots in Leesburg.

This seal in the old courthouse was probably used on many of Hiram’s documents, including his deeds.

May 6, 1909 – Commissioners allowances to John Pound to view Ferverda road – $4.

This is an interesting entry, because no place else have I found mention of Ferverda Road.


On the 1910 census, Hiram and Eva lived in Plain Twp., west of Big 4 which was the description for all of Leesburg. The railroad tracks ran just east of town, along “Old 15.”

Hiram Ferverda 1910 census.png

January 27, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Times – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg was in the city (Warsaw) Thursday.

Feb. 3, 1910 – Northern Indianian – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg was in this city (Warsaw) Thursday.

The Paternity Suit

Feb 9, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Union – This would be Ray, not Roy. There was no Roy Ferverda that I’m aware of. Maybe Ray was pleased to be misidentified, all things considered.

Hiram Ferverda Ray trial.png

This is a very suggestive entry in the paper which makes me suspect paternity. Rape would not have been a civil suit, although this does not say specifically.


The old courthouse doors still remain. Hiram surely accompanied his son to court.


And climbed the stairs to the second floor.

On February 12th, the following:

Hiram Ferverda Ray transcript.png

Confirming that the name is Ray, not Roy.

Sept 7, 1910 – State against Ferverda set for trial Sept. 23rd.

Aha, indeed, it was paternity! This means that there are potentially additional DNA relatives out there!

September 19, 1910:

Hiram Ferverda Ray paternity.png

Typically, at that time, people in this situation married. I wonder why Ray and Lucretia chose not to. Or maybe, just one chose not to.

The 1910 census shows a Lucretia Brown, of the right age and location, but with no child.

Hiram Ferverda Lucretia 1910 census.png

Did the child die? I didn’t find either a birth or death record. Perhaps placed for adoption? Being raised by someone else?

Lucretia married George Eldridge in 1914 and was living in Wabash in the 1920 census with two children, ages 3 and 4, but no child that would have been 10 or over. I wonder if an eventual DNA match will provide the answer.

The Great Bluegill Caper

I tried not to laugh at this, but especially given the earlier political commentary about the unfair fish laws – I just couldn’t help myself.

March 22, 1910:

Hiram Ferverda bluegills.png

This incident was reported by the Warsaw Daily Union using exactly the same words, but with much larger headlines

Bluegills huh? I’m thinking there is more to this story that we will never know.

Cheryl told me that the edge of Hiram’s farm touched Lake Tippecanoe because Don or Roscoe fell through the ice at one point.

March 21, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Time

Hiram Ferverda fined for fish.png

March 24, 1910 – Warsaw Union – It cost Hiram Ferverda $75 for taking 5 bluegills from Tippecanoe lake with a net. He entered a plea of guilty to the charge against him.

Also reported in the Northern Indianian, of course. This would have been great gossip!

I can just see Hiram’s teeth clenching!

Most expensive fish per ounce EVER.


Hiram would have passed these old cupboards in the Warsaw courthouse on his way to answer for his fish crimes. Maybe the evidence was even held here!

March 31, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Times – Rollin Robinson and wife spent Easter with the latter’s parents, Hiram Ferverda and wife of Leesburg.

July 7, 1910 – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette via a “special correspondent.”

Hiram Ferverda July 1910.png

Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Ferverda spent the day with Mr. and Mrs. John Ulery of Nappanee who are at their cottage at Government point, at Tippecanoe Lake.

They may have had no idea they are related to the Ulery family through the Millers, because they are also related to the Ullery family through Eva’s mother’s first husband’s family. They are also related to the Ullery family because Eva’s half-sibling, Emanual Whitehead married Elizabeth Ulery and her half sister, Mary Jane Whitehead married John D. Ulery. Yes this is a family vine!

July 12, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Union – Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Ferverda attended church at Salem, Sunday and took dinner with their daughter, Mrs. Louis Hartman and family.

Sister-In-Law Dies

July 19, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Union – Hiram Ferverda received a message Sunday morning stating that his sister-in-law, Mrs. Fannie Ferverda died at her home near Nappanee Saturday evening.

This would have been his brother, William’s, wife.

While Hiram and Eva appeared to be quite social, there are surprisingly few mentions of Hiram’s brother and family. I suspect that part of this may be due to the fact that William’s side of the family appear to have remained more conservative in the traditional Brethren ways, while Hiram became increasingly progressive throughout his life. Distance was probably also a factor, although they clearly do keep in touch.

August 10, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Union – Boyd Whitehead of Goshen is visiting Hiram Ferverda and family.

Off to Kansas

August 18, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Union – Hiram Ferverda, Frank Bortz, Charles Dye and Henry Kinsey started on a 10-days pleasure trip for various points in Kansas Tuesday morning.

Then, later in the same article about Leesburg residents:

Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Ferverda were Warsaw visitors Monday.

August 25, 1910: Frank Borts II, E. Kinsey, Hiram Ferverda and Charles Dye arrived home Monday afternoon after a 10 day pleasure trip through Kansas and Colorado.

So, what happened to Illinois and Missouri??  What did 4 men do? I wish they had told more of the story!

Sept 23, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Times – Ulery Family Reunion – Descendants of Daniel Ulery Held Enjoyable Meeting at the Home of John D. Ulery – The descendants of the Daniel Ulery family met at the home of John D. Ulery at Government Point on Tippecanoe Lake Thursdays. Those present were: (long list including) Hiram Ferverda and wife of Leesburg.

I notice that Emanual Whitehead was also present. I thought perhaps that this would lend itself to breaking down brick walls, but one Daniel Ulrich was born in 1811 in PA and died in 1834 in Elkhart County, His father was Jacob Ulrich who died young, but his wife Susan Leer remarried and died in Elkhart County. Jacob’s father was Daniel Ulrich (1756-1813) and Susannah Miller (1759-1831) who was the daughter of Philip Jacob Miller and wife Magdalena, ancestors of Hiram’s wife, Eva Miller, which may be the family connection.

This Emanual Whitehead was Eva’s half brother who married an Ulery, and John D. Ulery was married to Eva’s half-sister. This is enough to cause any genealogist to bang their head against the wall.

September 23, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Union – Mr. Violette of Goshen visited with Hiram Ferverda Wednesday.

Sept. 29, 1910 – Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda 1910 Ulery reunion.png

Nov. 3, 1910 – Warsaw Daily Times – Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Ferverda spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. R. Robinsin (sic) east of Oswego.

Mrs. R. Robinson (actually Robison) was Hiram’s daughter, Chloe.


Feb. 2, 1911 – Warsaw Union – Rolly Robinson and wife spent Sunday with the latter’s parents, Hiram Ferverda and wife, of Leesburg.

Feb. 5, 1911 – Warsaw Daily Union – Andy Vanderford of Whitley County, a former deputy fish and game cop has filed with the auditor of Kosciusko county a bill for $134 for seizing and destroying nets, spears, etc. taken from alleged illegal fishermen during the past 7 years. Cases mentioned include…Hiram Ferverda. Amounts range from 1-10 dollars, in the majority of instances $5.

Hiram must have groaned and rolled his eyes!

Here it is AGAIN!

It. Won’t. Die.

Or maybe by this time it was a big family joke. “Hey Dad, want to go fishing for some bluegills?” Maybe they gave him “nets” for his birthday after his were confiscated.

Hiram Ferverda 1911.png

Mr. and Mrs. John Ferverda of Silver Lake visited with Hiram Ferverda and family over Sunday. John is my grandfather, but my mother and uncle weren’t yet born.

It wasn’t far from Leesburg to Silver Lake – about 18 miles. I wonder if the families had automobiles by then. I’m guessing so.

Attendance Award

May 8, 1911 – Warsaw Daily Union

Hiram Ferverda 1911 attendance.png

I think this was the predecessor of “walked uphill, in the snow, both ways” – except it was true. What an amazing record. School was very important to the Ferverda family – which isn’t surprising given that Hiram’s father, Bauke, was a teacher in the Netherlands.

Hiram Becomes a Marshall

October 19, 1911 – Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda 1911 marshall.png

This is the first mention of Hiram being a Marshall which is extremely unusual for a Brethren man. Brethren eschew public office and generally refuse to fight in wars or participate in any other type of activity which conflicts with their pacifist doctrine. Yet, Hiram continued to be Brethren. This must have caused some very interesting conversations!


March 14, 1912 – Northern Indianian – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg, visited n Warsaw on Tuesday.

Hiram Ferverda Warsaw courthouse back.jpg

The courthouse in Warsaw is beautiful from all sides.

March 16, 1912 – Warsaw Daily Times – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg transacted business in Warsaw on Saturday.

March 21, 1912 – Northern Indianian – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg transacted business in Warsaw on Saturday.

I can’t help but wonder what kind of business he was transacting or was this just the stock commentary. He could have been shopping.

May 25, 1912 – Warsaw Daily Times – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg transacted business here (Warsaw) on Saturday.

May 30, 1912 – Northern Indianian – Hiram B. Ferverda of Leesburg transacted business here (Warsaw) on Saturday.

Leesburg to Warsaw was 12 miles and Hiram is going to Warsaw on Saturdays for something, but what, and why Saturday?

Progressive Republicans

June 6, 1912 – Northern Indianian – County Convention Personnel, Second Precinct, H. B. Ferverda

July 26, 1912 – Warsaw Daily Times – The Progressive Republicans of Kosciusko formed a county organization on Thursday afternoon in city hall in Warsaw. Notices were sent to the men who were delegates at the last district convention in Warsaw and asked each to bring friends. When called to order, nearly 60 were present. At the outset, Mr. Vail explained the purpose of the meeting which he said, was to form an organization which could legally send delegates to the state and district conventions of the progressive party for the purpose of naming national delegates to nominate Theodore Roosevelt or some other progressive and for the purpose of selecting progressive national electors. The purpose is to give the voters a chance to express their actual sentiments at the polls in November by having a progressive ticket in the field. After that, various men expressed their opinions, including Hiram Ferverda from Plain Township.

I wish they had recorded the various opinions expressed.

Now, Hiram, a Brethren who is supposed to avoid politics is a “Progressive Republican,” and active to boot!

The Progressive Party was a third party in the US formed in 1912 by former President Theodore Roosevelt after he lost the presidential nomination of the Republican Party to his former protégé, incumbent President William Howard Taft. This party was considered to be center-left and was dissolved in 1918, but in 1912, it was quite the sensation.

Proposals on the platform included restrictions on campaign finance contributions, a reduction of the tariff and the establishment of a social insurance system, an eight-hour workday and women’s suffrage.

In 1916, the conventions of both the Republican and Progressive Republican parties were held in conjunction with each other, with Roosevelt being the nominee of both. He refused the Progressive nomination, accepting the Republican nomination, after which the Progressive Party collapsed.

August 1, 1912 – Northern Indianian – Progressive Republicans Meet in City Hall at Warsaw, Form an Organization, Differ Only On National Issue, No Third County Ticket to be Placed in Field, Nor is Third State Ticket Favored

Hiram Ferverda 1912 delegate.png

Hiram B. Ferverda was present as a delegate.

October 11, 1912 – Mr. and Mrs. John Ferverda of Silver Lake are here for a two weeks visit with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Ferverda.

Wow, that’s a long visit.


January 3, 1913 – Warsaw Daily Times – Commissioners allowed Hiram B. Ferverda 56.70 for road repair.

Horseshoes Anyone?

May 17, 1913 – Warsaw Daily Union – An old fashioned game of horseshoe has opened up in town. Games are going all of the time. Hiram Ferverda is champion pitcher.

A horseshoe champion – who knew! I wish there had been pictures. In 1913, Hiram would have been 59 years old.


January 8, 1914 – Warsaw Daily Union – H. B. Ferverda allowed 109.20 for gravel road repair.

January 15, 1914 –- Northern Indianian – H. B. Ferverda allowed 109.20 for gravel road repairs.

January 29, 1914 – Northern Indianian – Plain Township trustee report shows the following disbursements…Hiram Ferverda, labor, $24.

April 2, 1914 – Warsaw Union – H. Ferverda and family were the guests of Bert Frederickson and family on Sunday.

May 6, 1914 – Warsaw Daily Union – Rolin Robison and family and Hiram Ferverda and family were the guests of the latter’s brother, William Ferverda at Nappanee, Sunday.

June 11, 1914 – Northern Indianian – Allowed H. B. Ferverda $5.00 for gravel road repair.

August 13, 1914 – Warsaw Union – the Progressives of Plain Township met Wednesday and elected the following township ticket: Trustee – Hiram Ferverda.

August 21, 1914 – The town council has bucked up against a proposition that is causing the members much worry. At the meeting last week a sidewalk was ordered along the east side of Main Street at the west end of H.B. Ferverda’s property and when Mr. Ferverda went to stretch the line for his walk it was discovered the Winona Interurban station freight house watercloset are all out about 4 feet past the walk line. What action the council will take in the matter is being watched with much interest.

Hiram Ferverda 1914 watercloset.png

Apparently Hiram had public toilets on the west side of his property. Apparently the Winona Interurban lines ran along what is now State Road 15 and the offices, probably pictured here, sat on the west side of Hiram’s land. The automobiles look like 1909 Model Ts, although I’m clearly no expert.

Winona Interurban an Leesburg

The Winona Interurban didn’t last long, being placed into receivership in 1916, so this photo of the “freight house” at Leesburg must have been taken about the time Hiram lived there.

Nov. 12, 1914 – Northern Indianian – Allowed H. B. Ferverda 140.75 for highway repair.


January 28, 1915 – H. B. Ferverda allowed $23.27 for labor for roads.

March 18, 1915 – Warsaw Union – Adopts City Airs – People who visit Leesburg this summer must run their cars up to the curb in an angling position according to instructions issued to Town Marshall, Ferverda.

Angle parking is still in effect in front of the heritage “business district” buildings. Who knew this was a “city air.”

Hiram Ferverda angle parking.png

March 31, 1915 – Warsaw Daily Times – Hiram Ferverda Jr. had the misfortune to badly bruise his finger while playing with a corn sheller.

This would be Hiram’s grandson through his son Irvin and wife Jesse Hartman. Young Hiram would have been about 3.

April 8, 1915 – Northern Indianian – H. B. Ferverda and S. V. Robison and their families visited Rollin Robinson and family Sunday.

May 6, 1915 – H. B. Ferverda and S. V. Robison and their families visited Rollin Robinson and family Sunday.

May 6, 1915 – Warsaw Union – Allowed H. B Ferverda asst road supt. $5.64.

Hiram is noted as the Assistant Road Superintendent.

Marshall Drama

June 7, 1915 – Warsaw Union – Leesburg Marshall Resigns – H. B. Ferverda, marshal of Leesburg, has resigned because the office made too many enemies. He states that many people refuse to speak to him because he did his duty.

Dec. 23, 1915 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1915 Marshall resign.png

Hiram was Marshall for 4 years and a few months.


January 7, 1916 –- Warsaw Union – H. B. Ferverda allowed 186.20 for gravel road repair.

Jan 20, 1916 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1916 tramp.png

I find this amusing because Brethren are supposed to avoid physical conflict, which is why they do not participate in wars and historically, would not even defend themselves or their families from frontier attacks. But here Hiram is dealing with a man that “showed fight.”

I wonder if the tramp was sent alone or accompanied.

More Drama – Throws Down Star

Hiram Ferverda 1916 marshall drama.png

I can sense his frustration, even today, 103 years removed.

Jan. 21, 1916 – Warsaw Daily Times – H. B. Ferverda, assnt road supt – allowed $5.64.

No Marshall, By Heck

Not only was this getting juicy, the word was also spreading!

January 24, 1916 – Rochester Sentinel (Fulton Co., Indiana)

Hiram Ferverda 1916 no marshall by heck.png

January 29, 1916 – Warsaw Union – H. B. Ferverda allowed $7.50 labor on roads

Feb. 1, 1916 – Warsaw Daily Times – Calvin Baugher is serving as town marshal of Leesburg. Baugher was chosen by the town board following a meeting on considerable friction. H. B. Ferverda previously held the position.

Feb. 3, 1916 – Warsaw Daily Times – Calvin Baugher has been appointed town marshal by the town council to fill the vacancy made by the resignation of H.B. Ferverda who quit when someone stated at a board meeting that the town did not need a marshal. The job pays $75 per year and the holder is supposed to serve as street commissioner peace officer and several other jobs.

Feb. 5, 1916 – Rochester Sentinel

Hiram Ferverda 1916 pay.png

“Not to pump the water.” That’s just about the only thing the Marshall doesn’t do.

Each of these articles tells the story in a slightly different way, and includes different tidbits of information.

February 10, 1916

Hiram Ferverda February 1916.png

I’m sure that Hiram was just glad to have this entire chapter closed. It sounds miserable and it had to affect his banking business.

The rest of 1916 seemed to be settling down a bit. Maybe Hiram found peace working on the roads.

Feb. 10, 1916 – Northern Indianian – H. B. Ferverda allowed $7.50 for labor on roads.

May 3, 1916 – Kosciusko Union – H. B. Ferverda allowed $20 for repair of gravel road.

Ira Ferverda Saves General Pershing’s Life

May 4, 1916 – Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda Ira saved Gen Pershing.png

Hiram must have been very, very proud of his son.

This from the Indianapolis News on May 10th:

Hiram Ferverda 1916 Ira 2.png

Hiram Ferverda 1916 Ira 3.png

Hiram Ferverda 1916 Ira 4.png

Hiram Ferverda 1916 Ira 5.png

This event didn’t happen in 1916, but during the Mexican American War between 1901-1904.

1916 wasn’t going to stay calm for long.

But Then There was that Cow Incident…

May 21, 1916 – Warsaw Union – An affidavit was filed Saturday in the court of Squire Garty by Ola A. Harris against H. B. Ferverda, retired farmer, bank director and business man of Leesburg, charging him with injury and cruelty to animals. Saturday morning when Ferverda and F.J. Filbert of the Leesburg Journal and their wives were driving to this city, they approached the Ola Harris farm two miles west of town.  A son of Mr. Harris was herding several cattle which were browsing along the highway. The auto driver, Mr. Ferverda, slowed up and endeavored to get around the cattle, but one Holstein heifer, valued at $100 by Mr. Harris, jumped into the machine and from the contact with the bumper its hind leg was broken, while a lamp on the auto was damaged. Harris demanded $100 of Ferverda in return for the cow, which had to be killed, but the Leesburg gentleman refused any settlement on the ground that he was in no wise to blame. Ferverda and his party drove on to Columbia City after giving Harris their names and addresses and upon reaching town, Ferverda was arrested on the about mentioned charge. He plead not guilty and arranged for a hearing on Friday, June 3. He has employed Levi. R. Stookey of Warsaw to defend him and gave bond for appearance.

Hmmm, interesting to note that there is or was a Leesburg Journal.

We now know that by 1916, Hiram did own an automobile.

May 31, 1916 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1916 cow trial.png

June 3, 1916 – The case of the state of Indiana vs H. B. Ferverda of Leesburg on the charge of injury to animals was tried in the circuit court rooms Friday afternoon by Justice Theordore Garty. Deputy prosecutor Joseph R. Harrison was assisted by attorney D.V. Whiteleather and Ferverda was defended by attorney L. R. Stookey or Warsaw. The defendant was found guilty and fined $10 and costs.  An appeal was taken by the defense and the case will be heard in the next circuit court term. Several days ago Mr. Ferverda, a wealthy and prominent citizen of Leesburg, in company with his wife and friends, while driving past the Ola Harris farm, west of town, in an auto, struck a young cow, which later had to be shot on account of a broken leg sustained from the collision. The present case is an outgrowth of a confrontation between Mr. Harris and Mr. Ferverda. Harris claimed Ferverda should pay him $100 damages on the cow and may decide later to file a damage suit.

I think the term “wealthy and prominent” might just say it all about the motivation for this lawsuit.

It’s interesting that Hiram was found at fault for hitting a cow that was in the road. Very different from today.

June 8, 1916 – Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda 1916 cow fine.png

September 9, 1916 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1916 cow attorney.png

I never did discover the outcome.

Hiram Ferverda courthouse seat.jpg

I did, however, discover this vintage seat in the Warsaw courthouse and couldn’t help but wonder if Hiram sat here during one of his many visits, maybe impatiently tapping his toe on the ground.


World War I had begun in 1914, but by 1917, the action in Europe had really heated up.

In January, in violation of international law, Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare, hoping to starve the British out of the war. The Germans understood that their actions would probably draw the US into the war, but thought the damage to Great Britain would be so devastating that it wouldn’t matter.

According to the Chicago Tribune in a 2016 article, prices had soared. Bread was 20 cents a loaf and flour jumped $3 a barrel. The country came to understand food conservation with “meatless Mondays” and “wheatless Wednesdays.”

A headline in the Indianapolis News on April 10, 1917, told readers “Patriotic Wave is Sweeping Indiana.” The article reported that “thousands of native and foreign-born citizens are showing their fealty to the flag by taking part in great street demonstrations which include parades, salutes to Old Glory and the singing of patriotic songs.”

In April, Hiram’s son, George volunteered.

Hiram Ferverda 1917 George volunteer.png

April 12, 1917 – Warsaw Daily Times

The headlines looked like this:

Hiram Ferverda 1917 headlines.png

That Thursday, the entire county shut down to go to Warsaw.

Hiram Ferverda 1917 war.pngHiram Ferverda 1917 war 2.pngHiram Ferverda 1917 war 3.png

George was obviously very inspired.

May 10, 1917 – Warsaw Union – allowed H. B. Ferverda, Sept roads, $14.35.

And still, Hiram works on the roads.

May 10, 1917 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1917 George enlists.png

May 11, 1917 – Warsaw Union – allowed H. B. Ferverda, roads $13.35.


Meanwhile, as the President was calling for young men to volunteer for the military, Hiram’s youngest son, Donald, was graduating from high school.

May 22, 1917

Hiram Ferverda 1917 Donald graduation.png

How I would love to hear what Donald’s speech.


June 1, 1917 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1917 Wyoming.png

Hiram and Eva set off for Wyoming. I wonder if they took the train or drove. Trains were a lot more reliable than automobiles at that time.

Ira had married Ada Pearl Frederickson in 1904 and moved to Wyoming sometime between the birth of their son in July of 1907 and the 1910 census.

The wave of patriotism may have been responsible for the surfacing of the General Pershing story once again.

July 9, 1917 – Warsaw Daily Times

Hiram Ferverda 1917 Ira saves Pershing.png

August 9, 1917 – Northern Indianian– Lists of Volunteer troops from Kosciusko County

Hiram Ferverda 1917 George.png

This list confirms that Hiram’s father, Bauke, was known as Baker in the US.

Aug. 23, 1917 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1917 Wyoming return.png

I’d guess that Ira and his wife were just plain homesick and when Hiram, Eva and Treva, Ira’s wife’s sister were preparing to leave – Ira decided to go with them. However, Ira’s health was deteriorating too.

Sept. 10, 1917 – Warsaw Daily Times – Warsaw Boys Off For Fort Benjamin Harrison (list includes) George Ferverda

Dec. 21, 1917 – Warsaw Union – George Ferverda arrived on Friday from Camp Shelby to spend Christmas with relatives.

Dec. 29, 1917 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1917 all home for Christmas.png

I would bet this is when the picture was taken – especially since John Ferverda is without his family in the photo and in this article too.

Hiram Ferverda 1917 photo.jpg

Hiram would have been 63 in December of 1917.

The next photo looks to have been taken at the same time but included the other family members in attendance as well.

Hiram Ferverda 1917 photo all.jpg

There’s a bit of confusion about the house.

Hiram Ferverda old home place.jpg

This could have been the same building, with an extended porch. It’s difficult to tell because it certainly is not the house on the farm and it doesn’t look like the house above. However, whichever of Hiram’s grandchildren that wrote the Ferverda book would surely have known.

In 1917, the second draft registration known as the “Old Man’s Draft” was put into place. Hiram’s brother, William, then age 45, registered.

Hiram Ferverda 1917 William Fervida registration.png

His registration tells us that William has blue eyes and light hair.

Hiram Ferverda William 2

I wish Hiram had registered, but he was beyond the age cutoff. Given that my grandfather, John, had blue eyes, I suspect that Hiram did too.


Feb. 7, 1918 – The Northern Indianian – Hiram Ferverda of Leesburg transacted business at Warsaw on Tuesday.

Feb. 8, 1918 – Warsaw Union – H. B. Ferverda allowed $228 for gravel road repair.

Feb 16, 1918 – Warsaw Union- Mrs. H. B. Ferverda of Leesburg spent Friday in Warsaw on business.

Roscoe Enlists and Marries Without Telling His Parents

Hiram Ferverda Roscoe enlists.png

February 28, 1918 – Friends and relatives here had just learned of the marriage last month of Roscoe Ferverda, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Ferverda of Leesburg and Miss Effie Ringo of North Vernon, Indiana. Mr. Ferverda who was a telegrapher at North Vernon enlisted in the signal corps and just before being called for examination was taken sick with measles. He came home for two weeks and immediately upon his return to North Vernon was examined and sent to the training camp at Vancouver, Washington. The wedding took place while at North Vernon for the examination. The bride is expected here tomorrow for a visit with his parents.

Whoo boy! Not only did Roscoe marry without telling his parents and didn’t tell them for a month, but his bride wasn’t Brethren. Not only that, she was coming to meet his parents alone – and pregnant! Their son, Harold was born on August 5th.

Hiram’s Not a Citizen!

April 27, 1918 – Warsaw Daily Times

Hiram Ferverda 1917 not citizen.png

Imagine Hiram’s surprise to discover that he wasn’t an American.

I should probably have requested his naturalization papers when I was in Warsaw.

Don Ferverda Enlists

June 27, 1918 – Warsaw Union – Don Ferverda son of Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Ferverda and…left on Thursday for Fort Wayne where they expect to enlist in the regulars.

This makes 3 of Hiram and Eva’s sons who have enlisted in WWI, plus Ira who served in the Spanish American War. I can’t help but wonder, as Brethren, how Hiram and Eva felt about this, other than praying for their safe return.

I have been unable to find Donald’s military records.

June 29, 1918 – Don Ferverda, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Ferverda, and James Kohler, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Kohler, of Leesburg, left on Thursday for Fort Wayne where they expect to enlist in the regulars.

October 28, 1918 – Warsaw Union – Among the many patriotic residents of Plain township are three men who each have 3 sons in military service. These men are…George Ferverda who is in France, Donald Ferverda who is at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and Roscoe Ferverda who is in the Signal corps and located somewhere int the state of Washington, sons of Hiram Ferverda of Leesburg. Ira Ferverda, another son, was a soldier in the Spanish-American war and was responsible for saving the life of a captain who belonged to the same cavalry company as Mr. Ferverda.  They were crossing a flooded river when Captain Wiltshire lost his balance and started to sink, but was rescued by Ira Ferverda.

Hiram Ferverda 1918 George Roscoe Don in uniform.jpg

The photo above shows the three Ferverda boys who served in WWI and was brought to the Ferverda reunion held in 2010.  Roscoe is seated in the middle, George on the left and Don, at right. I don’t know if this picture was dear to Eva Miller Ferverda or broke her heart that her sons were serving in a war, giving her Brethren heritage and that her grandmother was born in Germany.


April 23, 1919 – Warsaw Daily Times – H. B. Ferverda and wife of Leesburg and Erv Ferverda and family spent Sunday with Ira Ferverda and family.

June 12, 1919 – The Northern Indianaian – Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Ferverda of Leesburg and Mr. and Mrs. John Ulrey of Napanee were guests of Mrs. Sarah Whitehead on Monday afternoon.

June 19, 1919 – Northern Indianian – H. B. Ferverda allowed $12.65 for road repairs

Aug 13, 1919 – Warsaw Daily Times – Rollin Robinson and family, Rosco Ferverda and family, Hiram Ferverda and wife of Leesburg, John Ferverda ad family and Mrs. McCormick of Silver Lake spent Sunday with Lewis Hartman and family.

Mrs. McCormick is John Ferverda’s mother-in-law.

Ladies Aid Society

November 5, 1919 – On Wednesday the Ladies Aid society of the New Salem church met at the home of Mrs. H. B. Ferverda.

I wonder if this meant that Hiram was absent until the meeting was over. Maybe he went to the bank or to see one of his sons. My Dad used to go to the barn or the mill when these “hen gatherings” happened at our house.

This is the first mention of the Ladies Aid Society, and I wonder if it was formed in response to the War effort.

Nov. 12, 1919 – Warsaw Union – Mrs. H. B. Ferverda and Mrs. Thomas Dye, of Leesburg were in Warsaw Wednesday morning enroute for Fort Wayne where they will visit for several days with the former’s daughter, Mrs. Louis Hartman.

This tells us that daughter Gertrude, known as Gertie, had moved to Fort Wayne.


In the 1920 Census, Hiram clearly lives on Church Street – probably in the last house before the census-taker turned the corner and started down Prairie, which runs parallel. This confirms the location of his house.

Hiram Ferverda 1920 census.png

June 11, 1920 – Warsaw Daily Times – B. Ferverda, gravel road repair $13.75

Dec. 21, 1920 – According to the Warsaw Daily Times, Roscoe and his wife were living in Leesburg at this time.


January 19, 1921 – H. B. Ferverda, road work, $17.80.

July 8, 1921 – H. B. Ferverda for gravel road repair $36.42.

Sept 10, 1921 – H. B. Ferverda gravel road repair $20.05.

Oct. 13, 1921 – Roscoe Ferverda, new agent for the Big 4 has moved his family into the Burdge property on Main Street.

The railroad ran parallel to Old 15, on the east side of Leesburg.


Feb. 10, 1922 –- Warsaw Daily Times –  H. B. Ferverda grading road $1.75.

Hiram is still grading roads!

May 9, 1922 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1922 bank.png

This is the first in a series of bank statements published. I suspect this began in reaction to something – but have no idea what. Hiram is now vice-president. Mr. Hall is still president and has been since the beginning. It’s odd that there are no social interactions between the Hall and Ferverda families.

Donald is now cashier, which I suspect means that he runs the day to day business of the bank.

June 27, 1922 – Warsaw Daily Times – H. B. Ferverda and wife spent Saturday at the David Miller home new New Paris. Mr. Miller, brother to Mrs. Ferverda is in very poor health.

David B. Miller died on September 25, 1922 of chronic kidney disease with bronchitis contributing.

July 3, 1922 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1922 bank 2.png

Sept. 20, 1922 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1922 bank 3.png

Oct. 13, 1922 – Warsaw Union – Commissioner’s allowances – Hiram Ferverda, gravel road repair – $5

Nov. 16, 1922 – H. Ferverda, C Long Road $72.00.

This is the last road maintenance we find for Hiram. He’s 68 years old.

Dec. 26, 1922 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1922 Christmas.png

It’s interesting that they went visiting on Christmas Day. I’m surprised, although many German families actually celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, and Eva’s parents were German.


Jan 5, 1923 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1923 bank.png

March 30, 1923 – Mr. and Mrs. Ferverda of Leesburg spent Sunday evening with Albert Heckaman and family.

April 9, 1923 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1923 bank 2.png

April 30, 1923 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda Whitehead funeral.png

Samuel Whitehead was Eva’s half sibling through her mother’s first husband and died of chronic bronchitis.

July 30, 1923 – Warsaw Daily Times and the Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda 1923.png

August 21, 1923 – Warsaw Daily Times and the Northern Indianian – The 4th annual reunion of the Hartman family was held August 19th at the home of Pearl Hartman near Larwill, Indiana. At the noon hour, a picnic dinner was served under the trees. A program consisted of music and songs followed the dinner. Games were played and ice cream was served late in the afternoon. There were 119 relatives which came from far and near to enjoy this happy reunion. Present were…(long list including) Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Ferverda of Leesburg.

September 3, 1923 – Warsaw Daily Times – Will Ferverda and family, living north of Gravelton, were Sunday guests of his brother, H. B. Ferverda and wife.

Sept 22, 1923 – Warsaw Daily Times

Hiram Ferverda 1923 bank 3.png

October 3, 1923 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda October 1923.png

John’s wife was Edith.

Nov. 10, 1923 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1923 bank 4.png

Nov. 12, 1923 – Warsaw Union – Ira Ferverda and family of Oswego expect to move to Leesburg next Monday.

Nov. 22, 1923 – Warsaw Daily Times – Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Ferverda spent Wednesday in the John Ulery home. Mr. Ulery is quite poorly.


January 5. 1924 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1924 bank.png

April 11, 1924 – Warsaw Daily Times and the Northern Indianian – Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Ferverda spent Thursday at Silver Lake with their son, John and family.

April 11, 1924 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda Emanual Whitehead funeral.png

Eva’s brother Emanuel was 75 years old and died of a stroke.

April 24, 1924 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1924 bank 2.png

July 22, 1924 – Warsaw Daily Times – Mr. and Mrs. Roscoe Ferverda and two children of Silver Lake spent Sunday at the home of his parents, H. B. Ferverda and wife.

Sept 23, 1924 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1924 bank 3.png

These bank notices stopped at this point.

Sept. 27, 1924 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian – Mrs. George Han?? (possibly Haney) of Milford Junction and Will Ferverda, living near Gravelton were here Friday to see H. B. Ferverda who has been seriously ill for several days.

This is the first indication that Hiram is ill.

October 7, 1924 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda 1924 large family.png

Fifty descendants – how amazing!

October 8, 1924 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian – Mrs. Gertrude Dausman returned Tuesday to her home at Nappanee after spending a week here with her brother, H. B. Ferverda.

Looks like the family is all coming to say goodbye.

October 16, 1924 – Warsaw Union – Mr. and Mrs. Roscoe Ferverda were at Leesburg Saturday with the former’s parents.

Dec. 29, 1924 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda 1924 Don cashier.png


April 13, 1925 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda 1925 Easter.png

I wonder if my grandmother was at home with my mother who may have been ill.

It’s interesting to learn that Easter gathering was a Ferverda tradition.

Hiram’s Death

June 5, 1925 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda death.png

That day’s headline:

Hiram Ferverda heat wave.png

Two days later, on the 7th, Hiram died.

June 8, 1925 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda obituary.png

The handwriting was on the wall.

June 8, 1925 – Warsaw Daily Times and the Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda death article.png

Hiram Ferverda death article 2.png

Hiram had 7 sons, why only 6 as pallbearers? Maybe there was only room for 6 men?

June 9, 1925 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda services.png

June 10, 1925 – Warsaw Union

HIram Ferverda funeral attendee.png

June 10, 1925 – Warsaw Daily Times and the Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda funeral.png

The national magazine, the Brethren Church Gospel Messenger, Vol. 74 no. 1-52, page 478, published once yearly carried the news of his death as well. It’s interesting that we learn that he joined the church when he was 18. His father’s death is not recorded in the messenger, but his half-brother, William Fervida is noted a number of times over the years.

From the Silver Lake Record, June 11, 1925, Page 1 column 1:

Leesburg Man Dead – H.B. Ferverda, Father of Two Silver Lake Boys Passed Away – Survived by Widow and 11 Children

Sunday afternoon in Leesburg occurred the death of Hiram B. Ferverda following a long illness of tuberculosis.

He had been up and around until only a few days prior to his death and he was here in Silver Lake on Saturday – Decoration Day – visiting with his sons Roscoe and John Ferverda and families.

Mr. Ferverda was past 70 years of age and was born in Holland coming to this country when only about 13 years of age. He and the faithful wife resided on a farm near Leesburg and there they reared 11 children all of whom were at the parental home on Sunday.

Mr. Ferverda is survived by the widow, the children, one brother, two sisters besides many other relatives.

The funeral was held Wednesday at the New Salem Church near Leesburg and interment was made in the church cemetery. The 6 sons acted as pall bearers, which was the father’s request.

This mention of Tuberculosis is very interesting, because Hiram’s son, John contracted TB in the late 1950s. It’s possible for TB to lie dormant for years.

Hiram’s death certificate says he died of heart exhaustion and a contributory cause of chronic bronchitis. He was a retired farmer. Book H-22, page 50, local nu 6.  Died in Leesburg. Age 70 years 8 months 16 days.

Hiram Ferverda death certificate.png

The great irony is that after I finished this article, I realized I had completed it on the cold, rainy 94th anniversary of his death.

June 11, 1925 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda 1925 sons called.png

They were a little behind.

June 12, 1925 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian

Hiram Ferverda card.png

Hiram’s Will and Estate

June 13, 1925 – Warsaw Union

Hiram Ferverda estate to widow.png

June 18, 1925 – Warsaw Daily Times and Northern Indianian – Roy G. and Donald D. Ferverda have been appointed executors of the estate of Hiram W. Ferverda who died at his home in Leesburg recently.

During a visit to Kosciusko County in May of 2019, I obtained Hiram’s will and estate papers.Hiram Ferverda will.jpgHiram wrote his will on the 10th of February. Even though he was 70 years old, he probably didn’t believe his death was imminent until that time.

Hiram left everything to Eva, in fee simple, meaning that she in essence could do anything she wanted with this estate, or any portion thereof.

Following Hiram’s will in the will book is an affidavit of death.Hiram Ferverda affidavit of death.jpgFollowed by the widow’s election:Hiram Ferverda widow's election.jpgThe clerk’s office wasn’t helpful, but the Historical Society was very nice and sent me Hiram’s estate paperwork, beginning with the inventory.

Hiram Ferverda estate inventory.jpg

As expected, Hiram owned stock in the bank. He also had a couple of CDs and some cash.

His “old car” was only worth $50, and I surely wish they had said what kind of car it was. It would be worth far, far more today.

The land Hiram had purchased for $8000 in 1893 had almost doubled in value.

Given that Hiram owned 4 tons of hay, I’d wager that Irv paid his rent in a percentage of crops.

What’s missing is the land Hiram owned in Leesburg. Where is that?

The settlement of Hiram’s estate is shown thus:

Hiram Ferverda estate settlement.jpg

There were crops not inventoried, probably because they hadn’t yet been grown or harvested in June when Hiram died. The inventory was settled more than a year later, in November of 1926.

Hiram’s funeral cost a whopping $700, 14 times more than the value of his car, but his medical care, only $30.

Ironic that the insurance was only on the farm buildings, not the houses, or at least not the house in Leesburg.

John Ferverda’s Debt

It appears that for some reason, in 1924, John Ferverda, Hiram’s son, had fallen on hard times. My mother would have been about 18 months old.

On June 21, 1924, Hiram in essence co-signed for a note for John due to Indiana Loan and Trust in Warsaw for $1600 plus interest, due 60 days later. Why didn’t Hiram do business with his own bank?

On April 11, 1925, Hiram signed for a note for son John for a second note in the amount of $3900 plus interest to People’s Bank, his own bank, due in 6 months.

Apparently neither of these notes was paid by either man. Hiram was clearly gravely ill and John was obviously unable to pay.

By the time the estate settled, the total of John’s notes was $6096.84 – nearly one third of the total value of Hiram’s estate, including Hiram’s farm.

I wondered if John borrowed money to purchase his house, but I believe that they lived in that home when my mother was born in 1922, so that wouldn’t explain the 1924 and 1925 loans. These loans look short term, like they expected to be repaid shortly – but weren’t.

Eva paid those notes in order that the land and other assets not have to be sold in order to pay the balance.

I wonder where she obtained the funds to pay that huge bill.

Louise’s Will

This story isn’t finished, because Louise’s will and estate settlement takes up in early 1940 where Hiram’s story left off. Louise died on December 20, 1939 and her will as probated shortly thereafter – but for the rest of the story, you’ll have to join me for the article “Evaline Louise Miller’s Will, Estate and Legacy,” to be published shortly.

Love Letter from Eva

This love letter from Eva was found in Hiram’s Bible, given to him in 1900.

Hiram Ferverda 1900 note from Eva

In it, Eva says:

“Search the scriptures for in them you shall find eternal life.”

Followed by:

Remember me when this you see,
While traveling o’er life’s troubled sea,
If death our lives should separate,
I pray we’ll meet at the Golden Gate.

Your wife,


Hiram and Eva Together

Hiram Ferverda Salem Cemetery.jpg

After leaving Hiram and Eva’s farm and property in Leesburg, I drove to the Salem Cemetery, across the road from the New Salem Church of the Brethren to visit them.

Hiram has been residing here for almost 94 years and Eva for almost 80 with three of their sons, Irv, Ray and Don.

Hiram Ferverda New Salem Church.jpg

The creation of this church was reported in the Gospel Messenger, as follows

The Gospel Messenger Feb. 1911 page 92

Bethel congregation met Jan. 28, in 1 special council for the purpose of dividing the congregation into districts. Before this work was taken up. Eld. John Stout and wife, were received by letter, and two were granted.  We had with us adjoining elders, Brethren Henry Wysong, James Neff and Amsey Clem. Bro. Wysong officiated. The question of division was taken up and after discussion the vote was taken, which resulted in a line being drawn east and west between the two country churches. Salem and Pleasant View Chapel, thus placing Pleasant View Chapel and the Milford church in the northern congregation still retain in the name of Bethel, Pleasant View Chapel being the mother church. The Salem congregations then decided to meet in council Feb. 9, to effect a new organization. It is our earnest desire that both congregations may be benefited by the change made, and that both may prosper in the cause of the Master.

Hiram and Eva had likely been members at Bethel, formed in 1859.

Hiram Ferverda Salem gate.jpg

Across from the church, wrought iron gates beckon visitors into the cemetery.

Hiram Ferverda stone and church.jpg

I have taken several photos of their stone in order that others can locate their final resting place without walking the entire cemetery😊

Hiram and Eva’s stone is almost directly down the row in front of the gate across from the church.


In front of a large pine tree.

Hiram Ferverda gravestone.jpg

Hiram Bauke and Eva Miller Ferverda’s resting place in the New Salem Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana. I wonder if Eva visited often, talking to Hiram, in the 14 years she outlived him.

Based on the estates, I believe the stone was purchased when she died, not when he died. Eva certainly didn’t need a stone to find him.


I’m terrible at selfies, but I couldn’t resist. I felt like I was representing several people that day; my grandfather, John, Mom, her brother, me, my brother and my children.

I also realize that based on how far distant my life is today from this farm crossroads in Indiana, I’m probably also saying goodbye…that is…until I see them all at the Golden Gate.



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