Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Your 16 Great-Grands

Randy Seaver says, “It’s almost Saturday Night – time for some Genealogy Fun!”

Here is your SNGF assignment for the evening (if you choose to accept it – this is not stump the genealogist or even Mission Impossible):

  1. List your 16 great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.
  2. Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.
  3. Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 – 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).
  4. If you don’t know all 16 of your great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.
  5. Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.

I have too many holes to use 16 great-grandparents, so I had to go with 8 great-grandparents. They are:

  1. Charles Yournd/Yearnd born 22 Feb 1884 in Mecklenberg, Germany; died 20 July 1911 Howell, Livingston, Michigan GERMAN
  2. Lena Detman born 22 September 1853 in Germany; died 11 March 1917, Lansing, Ingham, Michigan GERMAN
  3. William Kaiser, born 30 June 1862 Ontario, Canada; died 3 December 1940 Detroit, Wayne, Michigan GERMAN
  4. Jane Johnston b 1867, Huron, Ontario, Canada; died 29 January 1888 Cadillac, Wexford, Michigan SCOTCH
  5. Martin L. Herrington born May 1853 New York; died 7 January 1926 Argyle, Washington, New York, SCOTCH
  6. Catherine H. “Kate” Knapp, born 1863 New York; died 23 December 1936, Troy, Rensselaer, New York ENGLISH
  7. Orlando William Palmer, born 2 November 1846 Vermont died 25 March 1930 Petersburg, Rensselaer, New York, ENGLISH
  8. Elizabeth “Libbie” Winn, born 4 April 1855 Kinderhook, Columbia, New York; died 19 May 1921 Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer, New York DUTCH

So, 25% German, 16.6% Scotch, 16.6% English, and 8.33% Dutch. The percentages pretty much reflect the composition of an average American pound puppy. Interestingly, there are a couple of thoughts that occurred to me as I worked through this little gem.

The first is that I identify strongly with being German, or of German heritage. But, it seems that overall, I’m much more something else, and much less German! It took me only a moment to arrive at the reason for that. Until about 5 years ago, I had never met anyone from my mother’s family other than her. You can see that her ancestors, numbers 5 through 8, are the largest part of my non-German ancestry. However, I never knew them, or even of them until I was well into adulthood. I have no stories, no sayings, nothing which connects me to my mother’s family in any way. On the other hand, German phrases and sayings, and talk about being German flood my childhood memories. We knew we were German, and we had the big noses to prove it.

The other thing that occurred to me is the large extent that adoption colors my heritage. My mother, though never adopted, did not live with her family after she was four, when her father died. She was raised in a series of foster homes, and carried many scars and hurt feelings of those experiences throughout her life.

Likewise, I found as I research that her grandfather, O.W. Palmer, was adopted. Solid proof eludes me, but a note found by one of his granddaughters says that his parents were James Askey and Mary E. Ackert, and that he taken in by the Palmers when his parents divorced. And, thirteen year old Orlando appears in the Palmer household in 1860, but is not present in 1850. I continue to rummage for solid information linking Orlando to either the Palmers or the Askey/Ackert household.

Some mysteries may never be solved, by I hope I have more of the 16 ancestors in the previous generation identified before the next time Saturday Night Fun signals the need!

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