As I wrote in the first Cousins in Common entry, one of the factors that first got me interested in family genealogy was to see whether my partner David Maxine and I might have a common ancestor. So far, unless one believes I'm descended from the early Stewarts of the Scottish royal family—I wrote about that possibility here, but it will probably remain just that, a possibility—I haven’t found any common ancestors. What I have found are more cousins that we share, people—like Nathaniel Bartlett (1722-1802) and his descendants—who are related both to David and to me, but who don't make us blood relations to one another.
Information about David's father's family has long been fragmentary, but his unanticipated discovery of some Miller cousins last summer, as David wrote in this post a couple weeks ago, helped him put together many of the stray puzzle pieces. That was the bridge he'd been searching for.
David F. and Caroline Sellers had nine children, but only five daughters survived past childhood. Their second daughter, Nora Belle Sellers Miller (1873-1948), was David Maxine’s great-grandmother. She married Edward Nelson Miller (1868-1950) in 1890. The Millers lived for awhile in Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, then moved to Willow River, Minnesota. Nora Belle Sellers Miller and Edward Miller are both buried in Jamestown, Stutsman County, North Dakota. No connection to my family there, as far as I know.
|David's paternal grandmother Fern Naomi Miller Maxine (1890-1945) stands between her parents Edward Nelson Miller (1868-1950) and Nora Belle Sellers Miller (1873-1948), David's great-grandparents.|
Nora Belle Sellers’s three younger sisters who survived past childhood seemed to have remained in Seneca County. At least, they’re all buried there. So none of them seemed to offer promising leads.
But the eldest sister, Eva May Sellers Montgomery (1871-1935), was a different story. She took a path in life that neither David nor I expected. Eva May and Chester A. Montgomery (1869-1926), after marrying in Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, moved to Willoughby, Lake County, Ohio. Eva May spent her last days in the home of one of her daughters in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio, and is buried in Painesville’s Evergreen Cemetery.
When David mentioned Evergreen Cemetery, it more than rang a bell, it set me on high alert. Dozens of my relatives, including both my parents, are from Lake County, Ohio. Many relatives of mine are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Painesville. There had to be a Lake County connection between our families.
David found the names of the spouses of Eva May’s daughters and I began trying to match them to names on my family tree. Bingo! Eva May’s daughter Mabel A. Montgomery (1902-1951) married Clyde Robert Colgrove (1893-1986). I had Colgroves in my family tree on my mother’s side. This surprised me, since I’d been initially expecting to find the match on my father’s side. But the connection wasn’t proven yet.
I went to the internet, looking for evidence to link my Colgroves to David’s. I found posts from another genealogical researcher named Vikki Young who was also searching for Colgrove information. The name Vikki spelled with two Ks seemed strangely familiar, but it took me a little while to recognize Vikki Young as someone I was already aware of—my Colgrove third cousin Victoria Marie “Vikki” Colgrove Young. She and I had been separately exchanging information with a third family researcher, all three of us cousins.
Vikki has a sister Becki, and I managed to trace the ancestral line from them back to David F. Sellers, their great-great-great-grandfather on their father’s side, making Vikki and Becki third cousins once removed to David Maxine.
I already knew that Vikki and Becki are my third cousins on their mother’s side. Our mutual ancestors are our great-great-grandparents Matti Juhonpoika Uhmusberg Hietanen (1859-1915) and Liisa Kristiina Herttua Hietanen (1861-1943), who emigrated from Isokyro, Finland. Matti arrived in the USA on June 16, 1887, and it seems that Liisa and their two sons arrived later on July 5, 1890. The eldest son was Matti Hietanen Jr. (1883-1921), my great-grandfather, whose death I wrote a post about here. Matti Sr. and Liisa’s first child born in Fairport Harbor, Lake County, Ohio, where they settled, was daughter Selma Marie Hietanen Filppi (1892-1978), the great-grandmother of Victoria Marie “Vikki” Colgrove Young and her sister Rebecca Louise “Becki” Colgrove Siler.
|Matti Jr.'s sister, Selma M. Hietanen Filppi.|
|Matti Hietanen Jr., my great-grandfather.|
Vikki and Becki’s mother is my second cousin once removed. Their father is David’s third cousin. This may not seem such a close connection between David and me. But compared to the long chain we each had to trace to reach the previous common cousin we knew of, Nathaniel Bartlett, the connection between us through our mutual cousins Vikki and Becki seems like almost nothing. It’s been almost two weeks now since I discovered that these sisters—and their children—are David’s and my cousins in common, but it still kind of blows my mind.