Saturday, May 30, 2009

Children of Henry and Elizabeth Kallis Nelson

Here are some names and statistics for the children of Henry and Elizabeth Kallis Nelson;

  1. Emma Nelson b. April 23, 1892 m. Donald Shenk in Illinois Jan. 1911 d. Dec. 30, 1972
  2. Edward "Happy" Nelson b.June 8, 1892 d. May 15, 1969
  3. Charles "Shorty" Nelson b. March 25, 1895 m. Ruth Finney Dec. 15, 1928 d. Jan. 18, 1981.
  4. Clarence Nelson b. 1897
  5. Dorothy Elizabeth Nelson b. July 26, 1900 m. William Reimel April 18, 1918 d. July 5, 1995
  6. Carl Nelson June 10, 1903 d. 1938

A Few Snippets about Henry Nelson

I guess this could be part of the Lunch with Grandma Behnke series. I am going to talk about some of the combined stories about Henry Nelson as told to me by my mother and great grandmother, and even a few quickies from my grandmother's brother. From what I have heard, I have already stated that the correct spelling of his surname is Nielsen. My mother told me that Ruth Prudence Finney Nelson, wife of Charles Nelson told her that the reason for him changing the spelling of his surname is that when first residing in Illinois, there were many Nielsens living in the town or block and would receive other people's mail or they would receive his mail.
Henry came to the United States with a brother. My mother thinks that the brother's name may have been Thomas. Henry was about sixteen years old, his brother about eighteen. Now here is where things get fuzzy; Supposedly the reason for the young men to travel to the New World is that the brother was about to be drafted into the military, had they stayed in Denmark. My mother has said that Grandma Behnke told her that when arriving in New York the two brother's became separated in the crowd. Not being able to speak English at the time, it was difficult for them to be able to ask the people around for help finding each other. Grandma Behnke also told me this story.
Yet, Ruth Nelson told my mother that the two brothers did to make it to Illinois together. Once in Illinois they had a falling out. Supposedly the brother wanted to "Go West Young Man!". For whatever reasons, Henry wanted to stay in Illinois.
I would love to find descendants of this brother, who may also be doing research on the family and see if they have been able to trace family information in Denmark. Like I had mentioned, the father of Henry Nelson was Niels Powelson. I am not sure of his mother's name, as Henry did not report her name on his and Lizzie Kallis' marriage license, from April 21, 1890. I wondered why and asked out loud to my mother. She said that Grandma Behnke told her that Henry's mother died when he was a small child. He had a step-mother that he did not like. Without knowing the mother's name, the search into Denmark becomes rather difficult as there were probably many Niels Powelsons in Denmark who had a son named Henry. As for Henry's brother, he could have changed his surname to Nelson, kept the Nielsen spelling or even another possibility is using the father's surname of Powelson.

While in Illinois Henry worked as a dreyman where he would have a team of horses, pick up freight at the train depot. From there he would deliver the items to the local merchants. He had also done some beer delivery. Supposedly, he had been asked by Anheuser-Busch to drive for them, like those horses ya see on the Budweiser commercials at Christmastime. Henry declined the offer, as he chose to keep the family living in Illinois.
Henry's wife, Elizabeth, had been suffering from TB in 1909. This was in the days that people with TB were told that the best thing was to get fresh air. When Elizabeth wasn't feeling well Henry would call up Elizabeth's sister, Emma Kallis, who was a cook at a hotel in Braidwood, where she would come into Wilmington to look after the kids, so that he could take Elizabeth for a buggy ride and go on a picnic. Elizabeth eventually passed away in June of 1909. Henry seemed to have taken this hard. He would spend much time at the saloon.
After Emma Nelson, oldest daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Kallis Nelson, married Donald Shenk in 1911 in Illinois, the family moved into the Shenk farm in Illinois. At some point, Donald Shenk bought a farm in Durand, Michigan. Eventually the Nelson followed them and they moved to Durand in 1914.

I had talked to one of my grandmother's brothers. He remembered his grandfather fondly. Henry lived at the Shenk farm the entire time he lived in Durand. I guess Henry still had a bit of an accent. So growing up the kids would try to get him to say thirty-third. Which from Henry sounded like "tirdy-turd." He also recalled that Henry loved his beer and Limburger cheese. Henry had the cheese in a barrel in the basement of the Shenk farm. He was not allowed to eat it upstairs, as it was very pungent.
Henry passed away in Durand, Michigan on April 15, 1929. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Wilmington, Illinois, Lot 43.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lunch with Grandma Behnke

While mainly I want to post on research findings in my genealogy searching, part of researching is stories as told by the older persons in the family. I am thankful for the times I went with my grandmother to take her mother to lunch. Since my parents were divorced and my mother had to work I spent a lot of time with my grandparents after school. When my grandmother would go to visit her mother and mother's second husband, Edwin Behnke, she would take me along. Sometimes she would take her to the cemetery or just shopping. Afterwards, she would take her to lunch, in Durand or Vernon/Corunna area. One of the restaurants I recall well is that little restaurant on the corner by Carters Grocery Plaza, just on the other side of the railroad tracks. I can't remember the name of it. There's a bank there now. Sometimes my mother would visit Grandma Behnke on Saturdays. Mom didn't usually take her to lunch. She knew Grandma Behnke wouldn't let her pay and my mom didn't want her to pay either, so we would just visit her in her house.
I remember she used to always have gum in her purse. When I was little I was not allowed to chew gum. I recall whispering in her ear asking for a piece of gum. She would always give me a piece of gum. Whether we were visiting her at her house or at lunch, many times she would talk about growing up in Illinois and/or family that she would talk to on the Nelson side. She never revealed too much about growing up. But would reveal little bits and pieces. In her house she had a box of old photos on her stair steps that she had shown us a few times. A couple that I recall asking to see when I would come over was of her and her youngest brother Carl Nelson, one was with her and her cousin Phoebe Powell (daughter of Mortimer and Mary Kallis Powell), another was a really neat photo of her aunt Emma Kallis where Emma had her back to the camera and her long hair was let down. The photo of Emma was really neat. Her hair was down to her ankles and she was wearing this curve hugging dress that belled out at the bottom and had bell sleeves.
Anyways, besides documented research that I find, I will also be sharing stories that have been told to me by the older people in the family. So consider it having lunch with me. These will be short quick posts.

I Made a Reimel Cousin Connection!/CORRECTION!

Granted my focus is on the Nelson, Kallis and Selinger line. But currently, I am at a stand still on that line. So I am focusing on the Reimel side, for now. I have the Reimel side on my family tree at I had posted a few queries to the community about the Reimel family. An member posted a response to my query. He is a nephew of my maternal grandmother. I just love the internet, how relatives who have never met and relatives who have lost contact can connect through genealogy based sites! He also emailed me the posted photos of plaques for Michael (left) and Katherine (right) at the Reimel family mausoleum in the cemetery in Vernon, Michigan. The Reimel cousin also stated that three others in the mausoleum are Michael and Katherine's daughter Mary, son Frank and his wife Della. I have already stated that my great grandmother was Dorothy Elizabeth Nelson Reimel Behnke and that she married William Reimel. I do not know too much about the Reimel family. I will state what I know from a combination of family information and through

William Henry Reimel was born on June 12, 1893 in either Durand, Michigan or Pennsylvania. Censuses that I have found all state that he was born in Pennsylvania. His WWI Draft Card (never served) states that he was born in Durand. That is also where I found out his birth date. He was born to Michael and Katherine Shoemaker Reimel. He married Dorothy Elizabeth Nelson on April 3, 1918 in Owosso, Michigan. Officiating pastor was Reverend D. Gale. He died in 1949.

Michael Henry Reimel was born in 1856 in Pennsylvania, to Henry G. and Maria or Mariah (surname unknown) Reimel. He had a twin brother named William. He married Katherine Shoemaker about 1878. He died in 1929. Fortunately for the fact that I knew he was a twin, is the only way I was able to find him and his family via Upper Mount Bethel, Northampton County in Pennsylyvania censuses.

Katherine Shoemaker Reimel was born in 1857 in Pennsylvania and died in 1947. Since I do not know much about her or who her parents are, I have been unable to find info about her.

  • Other Children of Michael and Katherine were;
  • Carrie Reimel b. ab. 1878
  • Mary Reimel b. ab. 1883
  • Frank Reimel b. ab. 1888 married Della VanArsdale
Henry G. Reimel was born about 1828 in Pennsylvania to George and Elizabeth (surname unknown) Reimel. I was fortunate enough to find find Henry's father living with Henry and Maria, as a widow, in the 1870 census.

Maria (unknown maiden name) Reimel was born about 1829.

George Reimel was born about 1795 in Pennsylvania. This is the farthest I have gotten in the Reimel family.

Elizabeth (unknown maiden name) Reimel was born about 1800.

Somehow, there is a connection to a Siebert family. My grandmother has an old woven wool red, white and blue blanket. I haven't seen it since I was a child. But I do recall that it had really pretty designs on it. My mother remembers seeing that whomever wove it put the name of Siebert on it. I can't recall the first name of the Siebert person. But I believe the year it was woven was 1810. And was woven in *Easton, Pennsylvania. So I would assume that Katherine Shoemaker Reimel's mother was a Siebert. Or Maria, Henry G.'s wife, was a Siebert. Or possibly Elizabeth, George's wife, was a Siebert.

*The original post had stated that the Siebert blanket was woven in Upper Mount Bethel. I have since talked to my mother. She says that the blanked was woven in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Happy Memorial Day

Michigan Redneck wants to remind readers to remember those who are currently and have sacrificed their lives for this great country. God Bless the troops, past and present!

Memorial Day MySpace Comments and Graphics

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Slideshow Coming Soon!

Elizabeth Selinger

I have started a Flickr account so that I can put up a slideshow on the side bar of this blog. I guess I have to wait a few days before the feed from my account can show up. I will be adding photos from the Kallis family album given to me by my grandmother who got it from her mother. I have only posted pictures of identified persons. Most of these were taken in the Will and Grundy County areas. A few are from South Dakota. Most of the pictures from the album are unidentified persons and some really cute unidentified children. So keep on looking for this.

Sand Ridge in Grundy County

A couple posts ago I mentioned that Joseph Kallis, uncle to Dorothy Nelson Reimel Behnke, was buried in Sand Ridge. According to email exchanges with someone from Coal City Library she mentioned that there was a Sand Ridge in southern Illinois, but had not heard of a Sand Ridge in that area. In an unrelated search, I Googled "Towns in Grundy County." A search result showed a website that named the towns in Grundy County. One of the towns listed was Sand Ridge. I thought this may be a mistake, since I was told that Sand Ridge is in another county. So I Googled some more, "Sand Ridge in Grundy County Illinois." I found a map of Sand Ridge. It is located between Morris and Minooka, on the way to Joliet. I emailed the contact in Coal City, to give her the good news, and she gave me the email adress to someone at the Morris Library. Of course I have emailed this person. Praying to receive a positive answer with information about Frank Kallis and/or Lena Selinger.
According to Wikipedia Sand Ridge is unincorporated, and is in Aux Sable Township. It looks like there is not a cemetery called Sand Ridge Cemetery. The cemeteries listed are Aux Sable, Dresden and Saint Mary's. Details here.
I also put up a message on asking about Sand Ridge. I received a reply. The messager says that there is a transcript of Aux Sable Cemetery available at Morris Library. I am not putting up all my bets on Frank and Lena being buried in Sand Ridge or the area. But this may look like a good lead, until I can find a yea or nay on this angle.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cousin Connections

Dorothy Nelson
and her cousin
Phoebe Powell

A few years ago I was able to connect with a distant cousin in South Dakota who is the great grandson of Mortimer and Mary Kallis Powell. I am very greatful to the information he has given about the Kallis family. I have been able to take the information he has given me and take it farther. I am still working on trying to find burial places on Frank Kallis and Lena Selinger (Frank's mother-in-law). And also I need to find death information on both. If I can find the death certificate for either Frank Kallis or Lena Selinger, I will be able to find the parent's names of both of them, along with other pertinent information.
Through Rod & Clan I have managed to find a very distant Czech cousin and her father. The father is married to a Kallis and still lives in Nosálov. Sadly, they only speak Czech and I have not kept up with my Czech lessons. So I have temporarily lost contact with them. I will be getting back to my Czech lessons and trying to reconnect with them. This family is somehow related to our Kallis family. They spell the surname as Kalis. I just need to find that missing link to figure out how they are related. The oldest Kalis ancestor they know of is a Josef
I also have managed to find a pen-pal through Lidé on Seznam, a Czech search engine like Yahoo. He is not related, but he is into genealogy and gave me a few pointers for searching Bohemian genealogy. He according to him, he found a František and Josef (pronounced Yosef) Kališ in Nosálov, who would be the same age around the same time as our Kallis family. So that is another person I need to reconnect with. Not really for the genealogy stuff, since he is not related, but he was a fun and cool person to talk to plus it helps me get in practice for when I finally do get to the Czech Republic. Look out Prague, here I come!

Frank J. Kallis/
Cousin of Dorothy Nelson

Even though Frank and Elizabeth Selinger Kallis had a total of twelve children, this figure includes little Maria who died at sea, there is only three of their children who have living descendants. Of course we know of Elizabeth Kallis marrying Henry Nelson (Nielsen) and Mary Kallis marrying Mortimer Powell. But Frank Kallis, the second youngest son of Frank and Elizabeth, married Minnie Seymour. According to the 1900 census in Lead City, Lawrence County, South Dakota they had been married for four months. Since the census was take in June, that would mean they were married in February of 1900. According to our Powell cousin in South Dakota, Frank and Minnie had a son named Frank J. Kallis. To our knowledge this was the only son. Our Powell cousin also says that Frank and Minnie divorced. The Powell cousin's family believes that Frank J. Kallis grew up in Washington state. I would love to find descendants of this cousin and exchange any knowledge I or they may have. Internet and searches have shown quite a few multiple generations of Frank Kallises in Pennsylvania.

Some people are coming to this blog via searches for Reimel, Nelson, Kallis or Selinger names or combinations of the names. So I know there are cousins out there looking. I have found family trees on that were entered by definite cousins. I have messaged some of those people. I don't mind if anyone uses any of this information that I have posted, for their personal family record. That's why I have posted it. I would love to hear from and connect with any of the family. Even those that I have never met. If you are able to take information I have given and go farther, please let me know what you have found. The best way to get all the information we all need is to work together. If you are shy and don't want to comment on this blog, please email me at gypzychik (at) yahoo (dot) com. My name is nosalov, so you can also send me a private message. is Inviting User Community Participate in World Archives Project has come up with a wonderful way to help searching genealogy easier. Check it;

Help us keep the
world’s stories alive.

For centuries, key moments in our stories have been captured on fragile paper. These records are often all that’s left of ancestors’ lives. Sadly, many of the world’s historical records are disappearing faster than we
can archive them on our own.

The World Archives Project lets anyone from the genealogy community help bring FREE historical record collections to the public. Contributors become the first to see new collections as they type in information that creates searchable record indexes.

more here

I think this is great. Sadly though, I need to have Windows XP or Vista in order to download the software. I am still stuck with Windows 98. Maybe they will let me at the library.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Calling up a Few Funeral Homes and Contacting Catholic Churches

Since the Kallis family was Catholic I emailed to someone at the Diocese of Joliet, in Illinois, who has to do with funerals and burials. I asked if they could tell me how I might be able to find information on burials of Catholic ancestors. He emailed back with a few phone numbers for funeral homes that would have been around at the time of Frank Kallis' death. He said that they sometimes have records dating back many generations.
I am also going to check to see if I can find info on Lena/Ellen/Helena Selinger/Seliger, since she was listed in the 1880 census with the Kallis family in Wilmington, Illinois. She was the mother Elizabether Selinger Kallis. Frank passed away on December 25, 1880. I am guessing that Lena would have passed away soon after Frank. I also assume that she passed away in Illinois. The majority of the family, minus Emma Kallis, Elizabeth Kallis (daughter) and Joseph Kallis moved to the Dakota Territories in about 1885. This was the year that Mary Kallis married Mortimer Powell. I doubt that they would have brought an old woman in her 80's out there with them back in those days.

I had asked the person that I contacted at the Coal City Library about how to find Catholic records. She said that I should try to contact some of the Catholic Churches in the area. She gave me link info to the Catholic church in Wilmington, Illinois. I am going to do all this stuff tomorrow, and through much prayer, I hope to find the information I need. Especially on Lena Selinger, her being the oldest ancestor on this side. She is the link to Bohemia.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sand Ridge Cemetery/Burial Place of Joseph Kallis

Sorry I have not kept the blog updated on my research. I am still trying to find info on the deaths of Frank Kallis and Lena Selinger. I have come across information via Coal City public Library on the burial of Joseph Kallis, oldest uncle of my great grandmother Dorothy Nelson Reimel Behnke. From an email exchange from one of reference librarians;

The Kallis in the Necrology of Will County Pioneers 1902-1907 is Joseph Kallis.
His listing is under December 28, 1902 as follows:
Joseph Kallis, of Wilmington, aged 46 years. He was a native here.

We have a Will County Death Index book here that shows Joseph Kallis's place of death as Wilmington and cemetery location as Sand Ridge. The certificate number for this record is 10365 book # 176. These records should be available from the courthouse.

Another email exchange;
As for Sand Ridge, nobody around here recognizes that as being anwhere nearby. There seems to be a town named Sand Ridge in southern Illinois, but I do not know if that is what the record is referring to. Therefore, I don't know of any contacts to find out if Frank Kallis or other relatives are buried there as well. Again, the courthouse may have more information in that area.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Mitochondrial Family

I have been away from this blog for a while. I hope many of you have kept up with me over on Michigan Redneck II over on Wordpress. I have decided to continue with politics and news on the other site and use this site for ancestry and sewing updates.

For the title of the post. What is Mitochondrial DNA? Wikipedia has this;

Mitochondrial inheritance

[edit] Female inheritance

In sexually reproducing organisms, mitochondria are normally inherited exclusively from the mother. The mitochondria in mammalian sperm are usually destroyed by the egg cell after fertilization. Also, most mitochondria are present at the base of the sperm's tail, which is used for propelling the sperm cells. Sometimes the tail is lost during fertilization. In 1999 it was reported that paternal sperm mitochondria (containing mtDNA) are marked with ubiquitin to select them for later destruction inside the embryo.[10] Some in vitro fertilization techniques, particularly injecting a sperm into an oocyte, may interfere with this.

The fact that mitochondrial DNA is maternally inherited enables researchers to trace maternal lineage far back in time. (Y chromosomal DNA, paternally inherited, is used in an analogous way to trace the agnate lineage.) This is accomplished in humans by sequencing one or more of the hypervariable control regions (HVR1 or HVR2) of the mitochondrial DNA. HVR1 consists of about 440 base pairs. These 440 base pairs are then compared to the control regions of other individuals (either specific people or subjects in a database) to determine maternal lineage. Most often, the comparison is made to the revised. Vilà et al have published studies tracing the matrilineal descent of domestic dogs to wolves.[11] The concept of the Mitochondrial Eve is based on the same type of analysis, attempting to discover the origin of humanity by tracking the lineage back in time.

Because mtDNA is not highly conserved and has a rapid mutation rate, it is useful for studying the evolutionary relationships - phylogeny - of organisms. Biologists can determine and then compare mtDNA sequences among different species and use the comparisons to build an evolutionary tree for the species examined.

more here, with all the scientific stuff

Specific for my research in layman terms, I am studying from my mother to her mother to her mother and beyond.

Here is what I know. I will leave out names of living persons. So I will not mention my mother or maternal grandmother. Let's start with my maternal grandmother's mother was Dorothy (Nelson) Reimel Behnke.

Dorothy Nelson was born on July 26, 1900 in Wilmington, Illinois to Henry and Elizabeth Kallis Nelson. She married William Reimel, son of Michael and Katherine (Catherine) Shoemaker Reimel, on April 3, 1918 in Owosso. Officiating was Reverend D. Gale. Marriage information has been taken form marriage license. After becoming a widow, she married Edwin Behnke, of Durand in 1955.

Henry Nelson was probably born on April, 8 1861 in Denmark. Coming to the US sometime during the 1880s. The possible birthday deduced according to info on his death certificate and his stated age on his youngest son's (Carl) birth certificate. According to Henry's and Elizabeth's marriage certificate, Henry's father was Niels Powelson. In the early days, Danish surnames were decided by the given name of the person's father. That is why Henry's surname is Nelson. Technically according to this theory, his true surname is Nielsen; meaning Niel's son. But Nelson is the Americanized version of the name.
Elizabeth Kallis was born to Frank and Elizabeth Selinger Kallis in Diamond, Illinois on January 5, 1864. Possible birthday deduced according to information on her death certificate and youngest son's (Carl) birth certificate.
Henry and Elizabeth Nelson were married on April 21, 1890 at the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Illinois. Officiating the ceremony was Reverend Thomas S. Anderson. Information according marriage certificate.

Frank Kallis was born sometime during 1826 in Bohemia (current day Czech Republic). According to a distant cousin in South Dakota, Frank came from a town called Nosálov. He had a brother named Joseph, possible spelling Josef.
Elizabeth Selinger was born on May 5, 1835 in Bohemia, possibly in a town called Mšeno. According to Henry and Elizabeth Nelson's marriage certificate, "mother's maiden name Seliger." She did have a brother named Wenzel. Wenzel's address was Nassa del#11 Mšeno region Mělnik Bohemia. Possible parents' names were Wenzel and Lena.
Lena lived with Kallis family, in the 1880 census. According to the census info, spelling of given and surnames as Ellen Selezer. She was widowed at the time. I have found an immigration record of a Helena Seliger who was about the same age as my gggg grandmother. She arrived in 1863. Yet, in the 1870 census I can not find her.

Dorothy Nelson Reimel Behnke passed away on July 5, 1995 of a stroke at Owosso General Hostpital in Owosso Michigan. She is buried with both husbands, William Reimel and Edwin Behnke, in the cemetery in Vernon, Michigan. This is family information.
Henry Nelson passed away April 15, 1929 from obstruction of bowel in Durand, Michigan. He is buried with wife and sister-in-law, Emma Kallis at Oakwood Cemetery in Wilmington, Illinois Lot 42. Information taken from Henry's death certificate and family information.
Elizabeth Kallis Nelson passed away on June 20, 1909. Immediate cause was heart failure. She had suffered from Pulmonary Tuberculosis for 6 months. Attending physician was Wm. B. Welch. She is buried with husband and sister at Oakwood Cemetery in Wilmington, Illinois. Information taken from death certificate and family information.
Frank Kallis passed away on December 25, 1880 of unknown causes. He is buried somewhere in Illinois, possibly at a Catholic cemetery. Taken from family information.
Elizabeth Selinger Kallis passed away on April 4, 1918 in Wessington Springs, South Dakota. She is buried in Hope Cemetery in South Dakota. Taken from family information.
Lena/Ellen Selinger most likely passed away in Illinois and would most likely be buried in Illinois. Just an educated guess.