Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dad’s Cousin married Mom’s Cousin

Today my dear cousin Kate Keller brought to my attention the fact that my father’s cousin, Leroy Stieben had married my mother’s cousin, Juanita Grace Strait. Such a relationship has occurred many times in families, but I find it so fascinating simply because of the relationship between my father’s and mother’s families. I’m sure the relationship was congenial from 1942-1949. But late in 1949 my father and mother divorced, when my twin brother and I were 2 years old. The families became very estranged and from the time I have childhood memories, in 1950-1, there was no communication between the families at all, other than our 10 years of childhood court-ordered visits with our mother. The ancestry was quite different in my mother’s and father’s families, too. My dad’s grandparents were both immigrants from Russia, with German origin. My mother’s grandparents were of German ancestry and early New England residents who had immigrated from Belgium. There seemed to me to be quite a difference in ethnicity and background. And yet here we see that Dad’s cousin married my mother’s cousin.Margheim to Stieben and Strait

Thank you, Kate, for bringing this to my attention. I’ve probably noticed this in years past, but the connection had escaped my mind! I think this is cool!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Discovering a local connection to my Uncle Vic Koleber

Myron SmithThe first thing I did for my job this week was to pick up a printing order from our local printer, Master Printers, in Canon City, CO. I was greeted by the long-time owner, Myron “Smitty” Smith. At age 83, Smitty has a lifetime of experience at his craft and has donated much of his time to service in our community. He’s served on numerous boards, greeted new business owners as the head of the Economic Development Council, served as a County Commissioner, etc. I’ve been acquainted with Smitty since I moved to Canon City in 1987 and worked as the Office Manager of the Chamber of Commerce. So when I had a printing job that I was not able to handle in my office, I took it to Smitty. Within the first 5 minutes after I was greeted by Smitty, he happened to mention that as a high school student, he worked in Florence, Colorado for the local newspaper, the Florence Citizen. With his razor sharp memory, he commented that he started working there as a “Print Slave” in February, 1952, explaining that the term was used to describe the Janitor. I was totally stunned, as I told him it was my great-uncle Victor Koleber who OWNED and PUBLISHED the Florence Citizen in 1952. Uncle Vic was the younger brother of my Dad’s mother, Mollie (Koleber) Margheim. Smitty related a really clever story of his initial job interview with Uncle Vic, along with a quick story that included Vic’s daughter Vicky, as she sunbathed on the lawn that Smitty was hired to take care of.
Vic Koleber, Vicki and BiIly Turner, July 1987
Pictured above is my great-uncle Victor Koleber at left, with his daughter Vicky and her husband Billy Turner, taken about 25 years ago. The photo below shows (from left to right): my grandparents John (1900-1978) and Mollie (Koleber) (1902-1986) Margheim and son Leonard (1929-2018), Vicky Koleber (1935-2012) in front, and parents Ethel (Massey) (1907-2002) and Victor Koleber (1911-2002). They’re standing in the backyard of my grandparents’ home at 114 E. 6th St, Hoisington, Kansas, about 1943. 
John , Mollie and Leonard Margheim; Victor, Ethel and Vicki Koleber. Vic Koleber and Mollie Margheim are brother and sister.
I know many people would not even consider this a story worthy of relating in a blog. But I find these connection discoveries noteworthy. As I’ve said before, I’m easily amazed. I’ve know Smitty for more than 30 years and had no idea that he knew my great-uncle, much less learned his printing trade at the hands of Uncle Vic. I cringe when I hear people say this phrase, but it really is a small world! I took advantage of the opportunity to ask Smitty about Uncle Vic’s personality, since I have no memories of ever visiting with him. A genealogist won’t pass up an opportunity like that! Thank you, Myron “Smitty” Smith for making my day!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Craine and Dale in Blue Rapids, KS 1925

Thanks to a hint provided by, this week I discovered that Frank Earnest Dale and his wife Mazie Hublitz were residing in Blue Rapids, Kansas in 1925. I knew that my step-father Donald Lee Craine was born in Blue Rapids in 1925. The 1925 Kansas Census shows these families:
Page 129 of 157
Dale, Frank E, age 36, born in KS, Farmer
Dale, Mazie, age 26, born in KS
Dale, Calvin W., age 1, born in KS
Page 17 of 157
Craine L. O. (Leonard Oscar), age 39, Blacksmith, res: 306 Lincoln St.
Craine, Mary, age 31
Craine, Eunice, age 10
Craine, Raymond, age 4
Unborn: Craine, Donald Lee (born Oct. 1925)

Frank and Mazie Dale were the grandparents of my son’s birth mother. And Donald Craine married my mother in Oct. 1953. So my step-father lived in the same town in 1925 where my son’s grandparents were living. This amazes me.

Friday, April 20, 2018

My Ancestral Connection to the Kirtland Temple

I recently received an email telling me that a relative of mine was mentioned in the Joseph Smith Papers.
Joseph Smith Papers Relative
From this site I read about Peter French:


Ca. 17741–after 1850. Farmer, tavern keeper, hotelier. Born in New York. Moved to Willoughby, Western Reserve (later Lake Co.), Ohio, 1799. Married Sally. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1811, as one of its earliest settlers. Named as one of town proprietors, 1818. Served as overseer of the poor, 1818, 1823, in Kirtland. Served as appraiser of property, 1818, in Kirtland. Among founders of Mentor Library Company, 1819, in Painesville, Geauga Co. Served as supervisor of highways, 1817, 1822, 1830; and as fence viewer, 1821, 1824, in Kirtland. Built hotel, 1827, in Kirtland. Sold hotel and other Kirtland property, including temple lot, to JS and church leaders, 1833, 1836. Moved to Mentor, Lake Co., by 1850.

This chart shows my relationship to Peter French, my third cousin five generations back:
Becky to Peter French 3c5r
I had no idea a cousin of mine owned and sold the property on which the Kirtland Temple was built.
Kirtland Temple

An Obituary Acquaints Me with my Great-Grandaunt

I really enjoy reading obituaries from decades ago, as they often tell us so much about the character and qualities of the deceased person. It seems obituaries of today more often relate the vital facts and accomplishments of people.

I found this paragraph in the obituary of Lorena Colby Flanders, the wife of my great-granduncle, Truman Flanders. A transcription of the clipping follows: Rena Flanders was a true representative of the type of the home-loving, home-making wife and mother. Her family, home and friends filled her interests completely. Her neighbors found her ever a helpful, cheery, sympathetic aid in times of need, and so sweet was her loving, wholesome personality that even those who knew her but slightly felt her dearness. The host of friends who came from far and near to attend the services, and the profusion of beautiful flowers evidenced the wide circle of friendship that was hers. No cross word was known to pass her lips. Even during the weeks of illness that preceded her death, she constantly maintained her usual happy, generous, cheery disposition. Her deep love given to those around her must remain so vivid in their memories that it would seem as though hers will still be a near presence to them. 1925 Sep 10, Flanders, Rena Colby kind words from obit, McHenry Plaindealer, p1
In my collection of family photos, I have this letter/postcard that Lorena “Rena” Colby Flanders sent to my maternal grandmother, Nannie (Mrs. Milo) Flanders.
Flanders, Lorena 'Rena' (Mrs. Truman), daughters Villa and Mildred.
Flanders, Lorena 'Rena' Colby letter on back of photo. To Nannie Flanders.

It’s wonderful that these obituaries are available on sites like so we can discover more about the personalities in our ancestry. Another example of “putting flesh on the bones”.  Even though Rena died the year my mother was born, I know more than what’s found on her headstone. In addition to the photo and letter that I own, I’m thrilled to read more of her personality in her obituary and realize what a fine woman my great-grandaunt was.

Two Cousins Murdered

When stories come to us without any research effort on our part, I believe they should be shared in writing. Last week I was surprised with a story that was found during research by my second cousin, Kate Keller.

This story features Elgin Hobert Strait. The report below shows that Elgin Hobert Strait was my 2nd cousin 3 generations removed. His father Peter Addison Strait was a first cousin of my great, great grandfather James S. Strait.
Margheim, Becky to Elgin Hobert Strait
This is the heart of the story Kate sent to me that was published in the Mason City, Iowa Globe-Gazette in March, 1977:
1977 Mar 21, Strait, Elgin H., Mason City, IA Globe-Gazette, p1
A few days ago I was looking through issues of newspapers at and literally stumbled upon this article when I noticed the “Flanders” name. My mother’s maiden name was Flanders and I’m related to most of the Flanders people in the United States.
1924 May 2 Flanders, Charles killed
This chart shows that Charles was my 6th cousin 2 generations back.
Becky Margheim to Charles Flanders
While these stories are heartbreaking, they’re evidence that often the most interesting discoveries are made when we least expect them and truly are not even looking for them. Family history research never gets boring!