Same or Different?

My great-grandmother was Winnie Mae Hutchinson (1871-1913), wife of Hiram Currey. Winnie died when my grandmother was 10 years old. With the loss of her mother at an early age, my grandmother lost connection with her mother’s family. My grandmother’s desire to learn more about her Hutchinson grandmother is what started my genealogical journey. Thus, I have been researching my grandmother’s grandparents, Albert and Julia (Harding) Hutchinson, their children and grandchildren for years in an attempt to learn about my grandmother’s aunts, uncles and cousins. Since Albert and Julia both died before my grandmother was born, her aunts, uncles and cousins would have been the only members of her mother’s Hutchinson family she could have possibly known.

Although my grandmother lost contact with her first cousins, DNA is allowing me to reconnect with some of those Hutchinson cousins. I have a couple of matches that Ancestry classifies as 3rd cousins. Shared matches hinted that these ‘3rd cousins’ are Hutchinson cousins. One of those matches did not have a tree but provided me with her parents’ names, Thomas and Jeanette Hutchinson. According to my DNA match, Thomas Hutchinson was born in Missouri in 1929.

In my research, I had a Thomas Hutchinson born in 1929. I had this Thomas as the son of Thomas G. Hutchinson and Minnie E Hanson. The primary source for this relationship was the 1940 census record for Thomas Hutchinson living in Ward 8, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri (sheet 19A)



Unfortunately, I did not have enough research to prove that the Thomas in my research was the same Thomas as my match’s parents. Since I shared enough DNA with my match to indicate that we could be 3rd cousins, I started trying to prove/disprove a relationship between the two Thomas Hutchinson’s.

One of the documents I located was an application for a marriage license in the Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013 for Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie E Hanson. The application was dated 23 Jan 1956. According to the application Guy Hutchinson was divorced and Minnie Hanson was single.



I also found the marriage license that was dated 1 Jun 1956. The marriage was witnessed by Rosalie Rankins and George A. Rankins. Since I have a Rosalie Hutchinson Rankins as the daughter of Thomas G. Hutchinson, it is possible that the Rosalie Rankins who witnessed the marriage was the daughter of Guy T. Hutchinson.


With Rosalie Rankins as the witness on the marriage license, I began to wonder whether the Thomas G. Hutchinson in the Missouri records was the same person as Guy T. Hutchinson in the Oregon/Washington records. Sine the 1940 census indicated that Thomas G. Hutchinson’s wife was named ‘Minnie’ I also began to wonder whether the Minnie of the 1940 census was the Minnie Hanson of the marriage license.

An obituary transcript for Mrs Minnie E Hutchinson from the 19 Dec 2000 issue of the Oregonian (courtesy of Genealogy Bank) supports the theory that the Minnie of the 1940 census is the same Minnie Hanson of the marriage record.

Mrs Minnie E Hutchinson, 90

Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) – Tuesday, December 19, 2000
A funeral will be at noon Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2000, in Bateman-Carroll Funeral Chapel in Gresham for Minnie E. Hutchinson, who died Dec. 15 at age 90.

Mrs. Hutchinson was born Aug. 12, 1910, in Kansas City, Mo. Her maiden name was Hanson. A homemaker, she moved to Gresham in 1946 and lived in Canby since 1963. She was a nurse’s aide for the Canby Nursing Home in the 1960s. In 1954, she married Guy T. Hutchinson; he died in 1962.

Survivors include her sons, Thomas, Ronald, Donald, James and Joseph; daughters, Mary N. Mitchell, Martha B. Belk and Rose V. Rankins; 36 grandchildren; 67 great-grandchildren; and 47 great-great-grandchildren.

Interment will be in Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The family suggests remembrances to Full Gospel Community Church in Milwaukie.

Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) – Tuesday, December 19, 2000

The names of the children in the obituary are similar to the names of the children in the 1940 census. The obituary identifies a daughter as Mary N. Mitchell who may be the Nadine Hutchinson in the 1940 census. Included in the obituary, but missing from the census was a son named Joseph.

Another document that supports the concept that the Minnie Hanson of the Washington marriage license had previously been married to a Hutchinson is the 1943 obituary of Minnie’s brother, James Hanson. This obituary includes Mrs. Minnie Hutchinson as a sister of James Hanson. (St. Joseph Union-Observer, 13 Aug 1943 –¬†found on


At this point, I do not have enough evidence to prove that the Thomas G Hutchinson and wife Minnie of the 1940 Missouri census record are the same as the Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson. I do have verification from my DNA match that her grandparents were Thomas G (or Guy T) Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson.

My next step is to try and locate a Hutchinson-Hanson marriage record in Missouri (or Kansas). I also need to check for land records for Thomas G. Hutchinson in Buchanan County, Missouri. If Thomas Hutchinson owned land in St. Joseph, then the sale of that land might show that he moved to Oregon.

I will also continue researching the children of Thomas and Minnie. Hopefully, I will acquire a ‘preponderance of evidence’ to support my theory that Thomas G. Hutchinson and his wife Minnie are the same couple as Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson.





A Railroad Family

In honor of National Train Day, I thought I’d share some info about our railroad heritage. One of first documents I have regarding railroad employment is a letter of recommendation for Judson Crawford. Based on the condition of the letter, I’m guessing that Judson carried it with him.


(Original in possession of author)

Atchison, Top[ek]a & Santa Fe Railro[a]d Company.
Dodge Cy, Kan. Station July 22 1889

The Bearer Mr.
J.F. Crawford has been employ-
ed by this Co. as Brakeman
and yardman for eleven months
He is a sober industrious young
man, and is now off on account
of force being reduced, and any
favors shown him in ways of
transportation or employment will
be appreciated by himself and
the undersigned conductors of the
Santa Fe. Respy C. M. Borkur
Jno McCabe Condr
William Ril[ey]
WE. Weaver [Zmsm] B.H.P.

In March of 1900, Judson was assigned as a conductor on a freight crew between Dodge City and Coolidge on car 81. (Globe Republican, 15 Mar 1900 on


The Globe-Republican reported that J. F. Crawford filled in as yard master in Aug 1907. (found on


The 1920 Dodge City directory indicates that J. F. Crawford was a switchman for the AT&SF railroad.


Judson’s sons Leon and Marion joined their father in working for the railroad after returning from their service in the U.S. Army during World War I. Marion Crawford lost his life in a railroad accident in June of that year when he fell under the wheels of an oncoming switch engine.


As a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, Judson would serve as a member of the AT&SF Joint General Committee ORC. (Copy of photo purchased from Boot Hill)


Judson retired from the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1936.


Judson’s son, Leon Crawford stepped down from a switch engine for the last time in 1960.









With the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower approaching, there is renewed interest in identifying the descendants of the Mayflower passengers. Even though my family does not have a story about being descended from the Mayflower passengers, I’ve often wondered if it was possible. Of my 16 great-great grandparents, five lines go back to colonial New England: Hammond, Hutchinson, Harding, Wells and Crandall. With the addition of the female ancestors on these lines, it is possible that a link to a Mayflower passenger would pop up.

Thus, when the We’re Related app indicated that my common ancestor with Abraham Lincoln was Jonathan Brewster, I thought I might have found the link to a Mayflower Ancestor. A quick Google search revealed that Jonathan Brewster was not a passenger on the Mayflower. However his father, William Brewster was on the Mayflower.


If I could prove that the We’re Related app was correct, then I would have my link to a Mayflower passenger. A quick glance at the app showed my link to Jonathan Brewster going thru Abigail White’s line. Abigail was the wife of Green Wells and mother of Ozias Wells, my 3rd great grandfather.

My research on my White line is based on family papers I received from Michigan. At this time, I have not done a thorough search for records to support these papers. However, these papers do support the lineage given in the We’re Related app back to Deacon Nathaniel White.


According to the app, Deacon Nathaniel White’s mother, Elizabeth is the daughter of Jonathan Brewster. According to Wikipedia and the Family Search tree, Jonathan Brewster did have a daughter named Elizabeth. However, the Family Search tree indicates that Elizabeth Brewster was not married to Captain Nathaniel White. According to the Family Search tree, Nathaniel White‘s wife was Elizabeth Bunce. Without a lot of further research, I will not be able to prove/disprove the We’re Related app lineage. However, it appears that my Elizabeth White is not descended from a Brewster.

I haven’t given up on having a Mayflower ancestor, but I don’t believe I’ve found a valid connection.

Learning to Use Book Scanner

BookScanner320Several months ago, the Seneca Free Library added a book scanner in the genealogy room. My husband was likely one of the first to utilize this tool. Yesterday, I decided to figure out how to use it for a project that I’ve wanted to complete for a couple of years.

Having worked with technology, I didn’t think it would be that difficult to figure out. To my surprise, I faced a major obstacle when I first sat down in front of the scanner. I couldn’t find the button to turn it on! Fortunately, my husband was near a phone and able to walk me thru turning the computer on and getting started.

  • To turn on — There is a button on the underneath side to turn the computer on. The button is on the right side about 1 inch from the edge.
  • There is a password to login to the computer. The library staff can provide that password.
  • There is a button on the scanner that looks like a white triangle to turn the scanner on. This button is blue when the scanner is on.
  • The icon for the scanning software was in the middle of the screen. Clicking this icon opens the software
  • Once the software is opened, my husband advised that I select ‘Custom Scan’. This allowed me to select options for the scan. I selected the following options on the ‘Custom Scan’ screen.
    • File Type – Document
    • Destination – USB Drive
    • File Format — PDF (other options include jpg)
    • Convert OCR – Yes

Armed with his directions, I was able to start scanning.

  • To scan, I simply put the document on the black felt about 1″ from the back edge. Since I wanted to make sure I would be able to easily print the PDF file, I wanted to keep the items within an 8.5″ x 11″ space. Thus, I used the LTR guides on the left and right side as a guide for where to place my documents. Once the items were in place I clicked the SCAN or CONTINUE SCAN button on the computer.
  • Once finished with the documents, I clicked the finish button. This opened a ‘document review’ screen. On this screen, I was able to rotate the item.
  • I also discovered that I needed to pay attention to the center of the screen where it showed the scanned image and a red outline. This red line indicates what will be included in the final outcome. In some cases, I needed to bring this line was cutting off some text. In other cases, it was only including part of what I scanned.
  • When I finished reviewing the output, I clicked ‘SAVE’ and the pdf file was saved to my USB flash drive.

In my one hour of scanning I was able scan about 1/3 of one box of 3×5 notecards. Hopefully, I will be able to make it to the library to finish this box of documents this week.

I’m hoping to learn how to use this book scanner to scan the following types of records:

  • Photo Albums
  • Scrapbooks
  • Journals


DNA Captures a Criminal

In case you haven’t heard, the investigators in the “Golden State Killer” case used DNA found at several murder scenes to capture the criminal. This person’s DNA was not already in the criminal justice system. Instead, the investigators utilized tools similar to those used by genetic genealogists to identify relatives and ultimately identify the murder suspect. Dick Eastman’s blog, “DNA that Cracked the ‘Golden State Killer’ Case came from Genealogy Websites” contains more information on the use of the DNA including links to two news articles on the topic. The Time Magazine article “How Did They Catch the Golden State Killer” also discusses the work of the investigators.

This use of genetic genealogy has been a hot topic on various Facebook groups. As with every issue in society today, there are multiple viewpoints on the issue. I have read many of these posts and comments and can understand the poster’s concern.

I haven’t formed a firm opinion either way, but I would like to share my thinking about the issue.

  • I spit into a test tube to have my DNA tested at Ancestry. This test is called an autosomal DNA test. These autosomal tests do not sequence the entire length of the DNA. Instead they test for an identified set of markers helpful for proving relationship. These are not the same set of markers that forensic scientists test for in criminal investigations. (See DNA Testing vs. Codis, Criminal Database by Emily Aulicino, Genetic Genealogy)
  • I have been researching my family history for forty years. I’m not sure exactly when I first started sharing my research online, but my original site was at Yahoo’s GeoCities: [My site is cited by Steve Shook in his site: Silvernale-Shook Genealogy.] Over the years, my data has been shared on a variety of sites: GeoCities, RootsWeb, Family History Hosting, and thru my RootsMagic site.
  • I have a public, searchable family tree on Ancestry called Heartland Genealogy. I’m not sure when I uploaded my first tree, but it was quite a few years ago. I have freely shared Gedcom files with other researchers and sites. My data was contributed to various projects included One World Tree and Ancestral file.
  • Ancestry privatizes information for living people in trees. In addition, I rarely add a living person to my online tree at Ancestry. Nor do I include living people in Gedcom files or in my RootsMagic upload. Since this is true of most genealogists, I’m fairly certain that the criminal investigators had to go to a lot of work to identify the suspect’s family. This work likely included digging thru newspaper articles and public records.
  • With my DNA I have LOTS of cousin matches (over 1200 pages worth). We all have a lot of relatives — and we are all related.
  • I recently made a connection with a granddaughter of a first cousin that was unknown to the family. Without DNA testing, we would not have found each other and I would have never been able to share my grandparents story with her!

We can’t put DNA technology back in the bottle and pretend we don’t have this ability. Thus, the discussions need to continue on how this technology can and will be utilized.


PFC Lovell Mentzer

While searching the Yates Center News for an article stating that Cleo B. Peake was awarded the purple heart, I discovered another cousin killed during World War II: PFC Lovell Mentzer.

Notice of the death of Private First Class Lovell J. Mentzer first appeared in the May 3, 1945 issue of the Yates Center News on Page 1.

1945-May3-YatesCenterNews-Death-LovellMentzer350PFC Lovell Mentzer

Killed in Germany
Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Mentzer received the information Tuesday from the War Department that their son, Private First Class Lovell J. Mentzer had died in Germany.
Nineteen-year-old Lovell had seen ten and one-half months service in the European theatre. Graduating from Yates Center high school with the class of ’44 he was inducted in the army and trained for an infantryman. In the latter part of last November he was sent over seas and was with the Seventh Army
Private Mentzer has five brothers in the service, Technician Fourth Grade Keith in south Pacific, Corporal Talmadge (Tye) in England, T/5 Burdette with the AAF at Coffeyville, T/5 Edward at the home on furlough, Lt. Austin (j.G.), Corpus Christi, Tex

On June 14, 1945, the Yates Center News had a notice of the memorial service on page 1.

1945-Jun14-MemorialService-Mentzer-Lovell350Memorial Services for Lovell Mentzer
Memorial services for PFC Lovell J. Mentzer will be held Sunday afternoon June 17 at 2:30 o’clock at the Methodist church. Rev. O. W. Dewey, pastor of the church, and the American Legion will conduct the services.
PFC Mentzer lost his life while in combat duty in Germany in April. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Mentzer.
Ask War Dads to Attend
Officials of the local War Dad chapter request that as many of the War Dad members who can, to attend the memorial services for Pfc. Mentzer.

A June issue of the 1945 Yates Center News included the obituary. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and did not get the obituary transcribed and the quality of my picture is too poor to transcribe the obituary from the image. Check back later and I will get the obituary transcribed.


Protestor in the Family – E O Briles

40yrsagoThe Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) states that as a genealogist I should do reasonably exhaustive research. So, when my grandmother left me a group of ‘Years Ago’ clippings stating that my grandfather, E. O. Briles had been arrested, I did what I thought was reasonably exhaustive research.

First, I visited the Kansas State Historical Society to read the Emporia Gazette from the time period. I then obtained the police and district court case files. I have looked in the obvious places to find documentation of my grandfather’s protest movement.

About two weeks ago, I was handed another source – a clipping ‘from a recent shopper.’ I would never have thought of looking thru shoppers for information! (In Kansas – particularly in smaller communities – a shopper is a weekly publication full of advertising.) Evidently, the Flint Hills Shopper has a ‘History of Lyon County’ column provided by the Lyon County Historical Society titled True Tales from the Tallgrass.

The March 6, 2018 issue of the Flint Hills Shopper contained the story of my grandfather, E. O. Briles.


Lessons learned:

  • Research never ends
  • Look everywhere — including the local ‘shopper’