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Social Media and My Family Tree

This is a picture that was taken at my grandparent’ 45th wedding anniversary in 1976. My grandparents had 11 children, 55 grandchildren and by last count 148 great-grandchildren. When this picture was taken, we lived in Germany and a few years later moved with our family to Canada. It was a large celebration. That was probably the last time I have seen many of my aunts, uncles and cousins. They have spread across the globe, from the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, USA, China, …….
Through the presence of Facebook I have connected with many of them, and a special group was created with all the cousins. It is great! People share stories of their parents; aunts and uncles, that are still alive have appeared on social media to be part of the group. Pictures are shared, pictures of my father I had never seen before.
Now there is a planned reunion in June. I am excited to travel back to Friesland (Netherlands) and reconnect with family.

My Van Der Zwaag great-grandparents

A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 3

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I found Neil Simpson in the 1881 and the 1891 Canadian Census as one of the children of William and Helen Simpson. I was unable to find him in the 1901 so far. His mother is by now a widow, and listed as the head of the household, and she is left with the 3 youngest children at home.

Canadian Census - Neil Simpson 1To get an easy overview of all the Canada Census information, I added all the data in Canada Census Overview Charts
I did find Neil in the Public Archives in the Marriage Records.

Marriage Record
Groom’s Name Neil Simpson
Groom’s Residence Cavendish, Lot 23
Groom’s Status Bachelor
Bride’s Name Sarah Margaret McLeod
Bride’s Residence Brookfield
Bride’s Status Spinster
Date of Marriage License or Bond 11 February 1903
Date of Marriage Ceremony 16 March 1903
Officiant’s Name George Millar
Source RG19, Series3, Subseries4: Marriage Licenses, 1903

Strangely I did find him and his family twice in the 1911 Canadian Census in British Columbia, not sure the reason for it yet.
Canadian Census - Neil Simpson 2
There also happens to be family photo at the PEI Archives.

Public Archives and Records Office

Media Type Photograph
Item Number Acc2775/Series3/1
Host Collection Photo Index
Caption Group – Family – Simpson (William John)
Original Format 1 b&w 35 mm negative
Description ca. 1890; oversize; copy print in binder, Reading Room [44]
Notes identified are: John Clark Simpson, Winchester Simpson, Mary Ellen Clark Simpson, Lincoln Simpson, Jeannie Simpson, Neil Simpson, Charlotte Elizabeth Simpson, Ella Simpson

If any of the descendants of Neil Simpson want the book, with your great.,.,.grand father’s inscription, you are welcome to have it. It comes with handwritten notes for his diet..

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A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 2

Some of the other books I purchased in the same lot:

– Surgical Nursing by Eliason Ferguson Lewis, published in 1929
inscribed with Ella B. Simpson, P.C. Hospital, Summerside, Jan. 19, 1930

– Obstetrics for Nurses by De Lee, published in 1929
(This book has the name Ella Simpson (Jan. 15, 1930)- Prince County Hospital, Summerside – as well as Mrs. Vaughn Groom Jan. 16, 1936),
Summerside, P.E.I.

–  Nervous Stomach Troubles by Joseph F. Montague, M.D. published in 1940, inscribed with Vaughn Groom, Sept. ’48

– Intestinal Ills by Alcinous B. Jamison, M.D., published in 1917, inscribed with Mr+s. Vaughn Groom, Summerside, P.E.I.

– The Canada Book of Prose and Verse, 25th printing in 1948, inscribed with
Alfred Groom.

– Julius Caesar, inscibed with Donald Groom, Water Street East, Summerside, Grade XIC (??)

From this I could conclude, that Ella B. Simpson was born around 1910, and married Vaughn Groom between 1930 and 1936, and lived in Summerside, P.E.I. and could possibly have sons named Alfred and Donald.

From here I googled the “Vaughn Groom Summerside” and came up with the following information
Vaugham Harry Groom, born Jan. 6, 1906 was born in Moncton, N.B. and died Jun 21, 1993, Summerside, P.E.I.
on 18 Sep 1935 he married Ella B. Simpson, who was born 8 Aug 1908, Kensington, , Prince Edward Island, Canada and died 7 Jan 2000, Summerside, , Prince Edward Island, Canada  (Age 91 years)
They had 2 sons:
Alfred Vaughan Groom
Donald Richard Groom
This site does tell who the parents of Vaugham Groom were, but not who Ell’a Parents were.
I googled “Ella Belle Simpson” and came across a story in the Guardian
“Lofty Life” by Jim Day, published Oct. 6, 2007, which backs up a lot of the information all have so far, including the impact that the Groom family had in Summerside as well “Pole Vaulting”.
Next I found the Island Register “The Descendants of Walter Simpson and Elspet Man

William George Simpson b. Jan 20 1869, m. (1) Nov 20 1895, Janie Profit, b. Jan 1868, Spring Valley, PEI., d. Sep 26 1920, Interred: Kensington People’s Cemetery, P.E.I., Note: Resided, Kensington, PEI., m. (2) ___ 1924, Alberta Mabel Woolner, b. ___ 1878, d. ___ 1957,.
(Janie was the daughter of Richard Profit, of Spring Valley, PEI)

Children by Janie Profit:
1. Annie Florence Simpson b. Oct 09 1897,

2. Richard P. Simpson b. Feb 25 1900,

3. Jennie Vesta Simpson b. Apr 03 1903,

4. Ella Belle Simpson b. Aug 08 1908, m. Vaughn Harry Groom, b. Jan 06 1909.

I had assumed that Ella’s father would be Neil Simpson, however, that does not seem to be the case.
On the same site going back one generation, I find that Ella’s father William George Simpson is the son William John Simpson and has a brother named Neill, who was born in 1876.

William John Simpson b. ___ 1832, m. Mar 21 1865, Helen (Ellen) Jane Clark, b. Jan 01 1841, (daughter of Andrew Clark and Sophianna Elizabeth Charlotte Bagnall) d. Jun 05 1915, Note: Resided, Cavendish, PEI. William died Oct 24 1899, Note: Resided, Cavendish, PEI. William John and Helen had 6 sons and 3 daughters. Helen: According to Lucy Maud Montgomery, her journals, Vol 2, Page 167, Helen died of cancer.


1.Winchester Simpson d. +. Winchester died in University.

2. John Simpson Note: Unm., Resided, Vancouver,

3. Lincoln Simpson b. Apr 18 1865, d. Jun 15 1951, Unm., Resided, BC.

4. William George Simpson b. Jan 20 1869.

5.  Ella Simpson b. Jul 1875, d. Apr 24 1966.

6.  Janie Simpson.

 7.  Neil Simpson b. ___ 1876.

8. Lottie Simpson Note: Unmarried.

This Neil Simpson :
Neil Simpson b. ___ 1876,
m. Sarah Margaret M’Leod,
Note: Resided, Vancouver, BC. Neil died Aug 05 1940,


1. Evelyn Catherine Simpson m. Hugh M’Kechnie, Occupation: Doctor.

2. Eric MacLeod Simpson m. Aubrey Hicks. Eric and Aubrey had 1 son and 2 daughters.

3. William Wesley Simpson Occupation: Phd., m. Kathleen Solloway. William Note: William and Kathleen had 2 sons.

4. Norman Simpson m. Minna Hughes, Note: Resided, Seattle, Wa. Norman Note: Resided, Seattle, Wa. Norman and Minna had 3 daughters.

For more information I will look into the Canadian Census.
To be continued……


A Mystery of a Different Kind – Part 1

Who was Neil Simpson?

I am currently in the process of purging – going through all my “stuff”, and deciding what to keep or not to keep, that is the constant question.
Going through the book shelves seems a difficult task.
The collection is large – through of years of homeschooling and acquiring textbooks, novels and more for educational purposes, but also the results of attending auction sales.
There are no personal attachments to these books, but when I came across the following book, I wished it had belonged to one of my ancestors. To someone in my ancestry, who would have made such a statement of his or her faith, and the thought occurred to me, that someone in this person’s family might wish to know what his or her great-grandfather believed.
For this story the book itself is of no importance,  with a title “How to be Always Well” by Robert G. Jackson M.D.
In 1914, when Dr. Robert G. Jackson M.D. was in his 40s, he developed a severe case of arthritis (probably rheumatoid arthritis) and when he was 49, his doctors gave him four years to live. He refused to accept the diagnosis and began to exercise more and sleep with his bedroom windows open. Long before such things were popular, he developed a health food diet of fruits, vegetables and his own line of health foods including Roman Meal bread. This bread was fashioned after the multi-grain bread ate by the Roman legions and included wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye. Disease,” he said, “was due solely to man’s stupidity.” The original publication date for this book was 1927.
When opening this book I was pleasantly surprised by the 2 pages of neat handwriting, and immediately I was intrigued. This person  (Neil Simpson, by his signature at the bottom of the page) wrote down his faith, and what he believed.

How often do we take the time to let others know what we believe, to pass on our faith to future generations. I want Neil Simpson’s family to know this about their forefathers. I want to know who this person was.
My first clues were on the inside cover of the book:

Date: May 1935
Name: Neil Simpson
Place: Winfield Alberta
Previous: Vancouver B.C.
I bought this book, along with several other books in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
So I would think that he would have had some connection with PEI.
Some of the other books I purchased in the same lot:
to be continued ………..



Graftombe NL

As a family history and genealogy enthusiast, I have limited resources. Most my family and my husbands family immigrated to Canada in the 1970’s and made a new home in Canada. Thanks to great online resources I am able to research my large family tree, and even find pictures sometimes. If I were to visit Holland, I would like to visit some of the cemeteries, but I am afraid a 2 week vacation would not be enough time, and would probably be spent with the living.
Years ago I found Graftombe, an online resource for cemeteries in the Netherlands. It has lots of information, as well you can request images of gravestones, and they will send them via e-mail, for free – it is in Dutch, did not find an English button.
Yesterday I added these requests in “my basket” and this morning I received these images (gravemarkers of my grandparents, and the gravemarker of my great-great-grandmother Antje van der Woud )

Graftombe NL

Military Lottery

From the Hiemstra Pictures ( Pake Jacob top left)Another picture has found a place. I had this picture in my “unknown” box, I did recognize my Pake Jacob Hiemstra (top left), but I often wondered what the circumstances of this picture were. I send it to my new-found cousin Anneke, who not only knows a lot about genealogy, but she also volunteers at Tresoar, a great resource for my genealogy research of all our Frisian ancestors.
A few days later she sent me this response:
“I found out what this picture is and when it was taken. The sign says “Nederlands hoop in bange dagen – July 1922” . It means they will have to defend the country in times of trouble.This is a group of 18 year old boys/men who had been to the military lottery. On their hats they have the number they were assigned to. Once a year there was the military lottery in Dokkum and other places. Every 18 year old boy had to come there. He was assigned a number and with that number he could be called to the army, when necessary. Not every boy went into the army. Some where to small or had other physical deficiencies. Another was the only son in the house or his brother had already been in the army. So this is a gathering of boys, 18 year old, that went to the lottery. It was a tradition that afterwards they went to a photographer. The pipes belong to this tradition.
The picture is an example of a paper of the Nationale Militie. The number this person got is in red.”
So thanks again, Anneke – it makes sense, my grandfather was born in July 1904, which would make him just 18 when that picture was taken. I don’t think he would have been accepted in the militia, because he was a rather short man.
I also googled “lotelingen”, and found quite a few of the same kind of images, young men wearing numbers on their hats and smoking a pipe.

The Case of Martin Zehetmir

Was it a Case of Greed and Premeditated Murder,
or a Desperate Man Driven to Murder as the Only Way Out?

When Jordan, my son-in-law, interviewed his grandmother to find out more about his family history she was quite helpful and could remember some tidbits of information. Myra, Jordan’s grandmother, was the granddaughter of Burdena Larson, whose maiden name was Zehetmir. Burdena was the daughter of Joseph Henry and Frieda(Fleshman) Zehetmir , who was the son of Casper and Annie Zehetmir. Myra had heard of a story about Martin Zehetmir, a brother of her great-grandfather Casper, who commited suicide in jail while waiting to be hanged.

At first it was difficult to find any information – I searched at
I found Casper Zehetmir in both the 1900 & 1910 census (with different spellings), and I also found Caspers father in the 1900 & 1910 census

According to my research the story starts in a small village in Bavaria (now a state of Germany). Marinus and Anna Zehetmaier were living in the village of Hundham, County Miesbach, in Bavaria. Marinus was a farmer and had 7 children – 3 sons (Casper (1850- 1913) – Marten(1854-1903) and Joh(an)n(1860-1902) and 4 daughters (Anna, Catherina, Theresa and Ursula) – all these children were born in Bavaria.
According to Wihelm Kaltenstadler, who wrote “Ein bayerisher Wilderer vor Gericht in USA” (“A Bavarian Poacher on Trial in the USA”), John and Martin had been involved with the “Haberfeldtreiben” in the night of October 7-8, 1893 in Miesbach in (to be continued shortly)

Date: April 15, 1903
Location: Montana
Paper: Anaconda Standard

Zidmair Murder Trial Begins at Livingston

Livingston, April 14 – The trial of Martin Zidmair, accused of the murder of George Reider on Trail Creek two years ago, is in progress in district court today. Up tp noon a jury had not been secured, and a special venure for 25 jurors was issued. County Attorney Stark is assisted in the prosecution by Attorney E. M. Hall of Sweet Grass County, and the prisoner is defended by Attorney John T. Smith.
It is alleged that Zidmair murdered Reider in cold blood and concealed the body, and that the crie would probably never have come to light had not Andrew Weidenbauer overheard Zidmair telling his brother about the crime, Weidenbauer kept the secret for two years and than in fear that Zidmair would make away with him also as the result of his knowing of the deed, notified the authorities.
Weidenbauer and Jack Held will also be tried as accomplices after the fact to the murder of Reider. The case is exciting great interest and the court is filled with spectators.
Date: April 16, 1903
Location: Montana
Paper: Anaconda Standard

Zidmair Case Nearly Ready for Jury

Fate of Man Who Admits Killing of George Reider More than Three Years Will be in Hands of 12 Men Before Noon To-Day – What the State and Defense Claim

Livingston, April 15 – The Martin Zidmair is almost ready for the jury. Zidmair is accused of killing George Reider on April 10, 1900, and concealing the body. The arguments of the lawyers will begin tomorrow morning and the judge will deliver his charge. Probably the case will go to the jury before noon. The testimony, both for the state and for the defense, was completed
tonight. The state attempted to prove wanton and cold-blooded murder, and the defense claimed justifiable homicide, setting up the assertion that Reider provoked Zidmair beyond the pain of endurance.
The state’s case in brief is as follows: Zidmair and Reider settled in the Trail Creek Country about the same time. For a time they were in partnership in the sawmill business. Reider’s home is only three-quarters of a mile distant from Zidmair’s. They finally had a serious quarrel and afterward had frequent altercations. Zidmair was heard at various times to threaten Reider’s life and these threats were communicated to Reider. Zidmair had stated that he would kill Reider for tearing down his fences and otherwise injuring him. Reider was a large, heavy and strong man. Zidmair is of medium height and about 40 years of age.
The End of the Quarrels

On the morning of April 10, 1900, Zidmair took his gun, a combination rifle and shotgun and went to where a lot of logs were bamked near Reider’s mill. He looked around for a shovel and cant hook he had left near there and failed to find them. While he was searching he observed Reider driving a team up the hill. When Reider got to where Zidmair was the latter called out: ”What have you done with my cant hook and shovel?”
Reider raised up from the seat on the sled and grasped an axe, whereupon Zidmair seized his gun and shot Reider.
Zidmair thereupon proceeded down the hill toward his home, and on the way met Jack Held, who had been working for Zidmair and living at his house.
Zidmair told Held what had occurred and together they went to where Reider lay. He was not yet dead, and lay with one leg across the runner of the sled, the rest of his body being on the ground. The reins were grasped in one of his hands. Zidmair endeavored to release the lines , and as he did so Reider turned his head and looked him in the face. Zidmair asked Held to assist him in removing the lines from the dying man’s grasp, and the latter refusing, Zidmair stepped back, seized his rifle, loaded it and deliberately shot Reider again.

Starts to Give Himself Up

After this the two men took Reider’s team back to the Zidmair ranch, and Zidmair saddled his horse and started to town to give himself up to the authorities. On the way to Livingston he stopped at the ranch of his brother, John Zidmair, who has since died . He told John what had occurred and how he came to kill Reider and said he was on his way to Livingston to surrender.
What occurred at the ranch of John Zidmair is told only in the testimony of Andrew Weidenbauer, the man who informed authorities of the murder on March 2, last.
Weidenbauer had been in Livingston that day and had started to walk home. Arriving at the John Zidmair ranch he went into the house for a minute and then went to an outhouse. While he was in that building, Martin Zidmair arrived and related the story of the murder to his brother John and Weidenbauer overheard it. Weidenbauer said that John Zidmair advised his brother not to reveal the crime to the authorities, but to go back and bury the body, and no one would ever be the wiser. At this juncture Weidenbauer emerged from the outhouse, and Martin Zidmair , apparently greatly disturbed, asked if he had heard what he had said.
Receiving an affirmative reply, Zidmair threatened Weidenbauer with death if he ever told what he had heard. The defense avers that at this juncture Weidenbauer also advised Zidmair not to give himself up, but this Weidenbauer denies, stating that he was actuated through the entire transnotion by fear of Zidmair.

Decides not to Surrender

At any rate, Zidmair suddenly changed his decision to surrender, and he and Wiedenbauer returned to the Martin Zidmair ranch. Here they were joined by Held and together they went to where Reider’s body lay. By this time Reider was dead and Zidmair went through his pockets and possessed himself of the dead man’s watch, first offering it to Weidenbauer, who refused it. Zidmair then raised the body and endeavored to drag it towards the burning sawdust, 200 yards distant. He found the task a hard one, he could carry the body of Reider only a few feet the time. He ordered Weidenbauer to assist him, and upon the latter demurring, Zidmair drew a revolver and threatened to kill Weidenbauer unless he complied. In fear of his life Weidenbauer did as he was bid and together they carried the body of Reider to the burning sawdust pile and there buried it in a grave at the bottom where the flames were breaking forth.
This done the three returned to the Reider cabin, where Weidenbauer resided, and together with Mrs. Weidenbauer they took an oath not to reveal what had taken place.
The next day Weidenbauer and Zidmair took Reider’s gun and snowshoes, destroyed the latter and cached the former., which was afterward found by the sheriff hidden in Zidmair’s house, and gave it out to those who inquired that Reider had gone bear hunting.
In the interval between this time and the time when Weidenbauer confessed it is asserted that Zidmair frequently threatened to do away with Weidenbauer if he ever told what had happened to Reider. Under fear of these threats Weidenbauer kept his own counsel, even when former sheriff Beley , suspecting foul play, searched the sawdust pile where the body had been buried.

Scatters the Remains

At this time Beley asked Weidenbauer if he knew what had become of Reider, and he stoutly denied any knowledge of his whereabouts , except to say that Reider had gone bear hunting and never since had been seen. At this time Zidmair heard of the search by Beley and exhumed what was left of the body of Reider – a piece of his blouse, a rubber shoe and the bones of one of the legs and according to his statement after his arrest , made to Sheriff Robertson, scattered them throughout the woods and over his hey meadow.
Last October John Zidmair died and Martin Zidmair was said to have remarked that one of the witnesses was gone and the other would soon go. This remark was communicated by the hearer to Weidenbauer and in fear that Zidmair would murder him he came to the city and told the whole story to the authorities.
Mrs. Weidenbauer testified that about a year prior to the murder of Reider, and while she was cooking for him, Zidmair came to her and exhibited a bottle which he told her contained strychnine and asked her to put it in Reider’s coffee. She refused to do so.

The Defense

The Anaconda Standard, 15 Jul 1903, Wed, Page 2ThThe Anaconda Standard, 17 Apr 1903, Fri, Page 1e defense was that Reider had betrayed Zidmair’s daughter, and the daughter herself testified to that fact this afternoon.
In rebuttal the state produced a letter written by her to Harry Lamb, in which she stated that he knew that he was the father of her unborn child, but that if he would say nothing about it she would cause him no trouble, as she intended to accuse Reider of the offense, having him arrested and get his property interests in the sawmill. The letter was fully identified as having been written and signed by the girl.
Mrs. Berkhermer also testified that Miss Zidmair, now Mrs. Hanson of Bozerhan, had stated to her that her father was putting her (Miss Zidmair) up to swear the child onto Reider.
Zidmair testified in his own behalf, admitting the killing but asserting that Reider had made a motion to strike him with an axe and that he had shot in self-defense. He denied having fired a second shot, but the state put in evidence to show that Zidmair had said to Held at the jail during the noon recess that he, Held, had told nothing but the truth on the stand. Held testified positively that after he went back with Zidmair to where Reider lay, after having been shot the first time, Zidmair shot him again as he lay helpless and dying in the snow.
The testimony is all in tonight. The court’s instructions will be given and the argument will take place tomorrow. Meanwhile the jurors are in charge of a bailiff and are not allowed to separate.


The San Francisco Call – Friday, July 17, 1903

Verdict Carries Death Penalty

Martin Zidmair Stands in the Shadow of the Gallows

Helena, Mont. July 16 – Martin Zidmair is again in the shadow of the gallows. The Jury which heard the evidence in his case returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree at Livingston today. Zidmair showed no emotion when the Clerk of Court read the verdict. To all appearances he was not interested in the outcome. The trial just ended was the second in which Zidmair was defendant.
He was charged with having shot and killed George Reider in April, 1901. He was convicted of murder in the first degree on his first trial and sentenced to be hanged. He was later granted a new trial on errors of the lower court. It is understood that his counsel will move for a new trial and that an appeal will then be taken if an order denying the new trial will be made.
The case has attracted a great deal of attention, principally because of the defense set up. Murderer and victim came to Montana from Bohemia 12 years ago and were prosperous neighboring ranchers. Zidmair asserted that Reider had ruined his daughter, the disgrace of which caused his wife to commit suicide. When he reproached Reider for his alleged misconduct he asserts that Reider attacked him an ax . And he then shot him in self-defense. The victim’s body was buried on the spot and no report made of the crime for a year, which evidently had great weight with the jury.

Interview with Zidmair

Date: 1903-08-08;
Paper: Anaconda Standard

Martin Zidmair, the Condemned, Tells Most Interesting Story Man under Sentence of Death at Livingston

Man Under Sentence of Death at Livingston Chafes Under the Accusation that He Was Concerned in the Murder of a Gamekeeper
in His Native Country, Bavaria, Before He Came to the United States

Says He is Not Sorry That He Killed Reider

Livingston Aug. 7 – Martin Zidmair, under sentence of death for the murder of George Reider, chafes under what he considers a accusation, namely, that before he came to this country, he killed a gamewarden named Thomas Luidl in Bavaria. Ever since the accusation was given publicity he has been restive. A few days ago he began to write a denial of the story in German. When he had it compiled he sent for the Standard correspondent and translated the story into English. The correspondent sat on the edge of Zidmair’s cot, with a checkerboard for a table, and took down the statement word for word as the condemned man made it. Zidmair spoke in broken English and at times had considerable difficulty in expressing himself, but with a little assistance he managed to say all he had to say in the space of an hour and a half.
Much of the statement is irrevelant and consists largely of abuse of those who testified against him on his trial. Publication of such charges would do Zidmair no good, and are perhaps libelous. They are therefore omitted. With these exceptions his statement follows:
The Killing of Luidl
“I want to put something from the high Bavarian Alp lands in the paper. My Bavarian friends know lots to say about me. Since I was in jail I guess they think I got no chance to read the newspaper or to write. Thomas Luidil, the game warden who was shot and killed by two hunters that Americans call poachers , lived in the high Bavarian Alps near my father’s Alp. He was shot on Dec. 29, 1883. What we owned was a little game reserve.
My family was well aquainted with Luidil. He was the best friend of our family. He stopped almost daily in our Alp cabin. We have spent of the best halves of the nights in his company by the campfire, singing the good Yodel songs, which I can prove by my sisters. Nobody was more sorry than we when we heard he was dead.
Two Men’s Names Mentioned
“One of the Bavarians I know, who came to this country last year, and to my place, told me several times the names of the two men who killed Luidil. One of them, to keep himself in the old country, cast suspicion on me. That Virgil Rank was present when Luidil was killed I do not believe.
We were often together and told over hunting stories a hundred times, and he never said a word about that.
I did not know Weidenbauer or Reider in the old country at all. I left the old country in 1884 on account of my two little girls and their mother, to find them a home in this country. I saw my little children and their mother the last day before I left, and paid for the support of the children until I could send for them. Me and their mother were not married then. I had a passport from the court of my country, which I can show up right now, and prove by my three sisters and brothers who live in Park County.
Why He Left Home
“I was a natural hunter in the old country, where every hunter sooner or later meets his bad luck and gets caught as a poacher by the warden, and that was why I left the old country.
“I came to this country Oct.5, 1884, to Mankato, Minnesota and lived there about three years. Then I came to Livingston, and my wife and children then came here to join me. They came direct from the old country, and me and my wife were married here. We bought a ranch up on Deep Creek , 10 miles south of Livingston and we lived there for three years. The family was soon more by one son. Then I sold the ranch to my brother, and settled over in Trail Creek basin, 24 miles southwest from Livingston with my wife and three little children.
A Pioneer of his Section
“The country was wild and rough and there was road to the place. The next neighbour was 4 miles away. I made two and three-quarters miles of road and put in 17 bridges, little and big, all by my own work and expense. I cleared 40 acres of land and fixed up a nice ranch. All the folks had to work hard to build a good home. We were not very lucky on the ranch, but we were happy and satisfied just the same till the woman went sick and then everything went wrong.
“Where is now my home and where am I on account of my country people? I was myself to blame. The first greenhorn that came on my place I should have taken a club and beat him out of the house, instead of giving them meals, show them a piece of land and do them all kinds of favors. Then I would have my home now and all kinds of money.
The Death of His Wife
“I am not sorry that I killed Reider when I think of my woman. She killed herself on account of Reider. My boy is a half cripple since Reider whipped him. That last day, in the morning , when my woman killed herself , about 9 o’clock, I found her in her bedroom sitting on the bed reading the prayer book and Reider’s baby lying near her. She got up and said: “’You never will kill Reider. He will kill you and then who will take care of me and the children?’”
“That evening at 7 o’clock she killed herself. After that REider wrote a letter to the old country , to my woman’s sister, that I had shot and killed my woman. My enemies also told that story that my woman once called for a doctor and that I gave her a revolver and said to her, ‘Kill yourself’. I wonder what another man would do if anyone should say something like that about him?
“That last two years before I killed Reider I lost 27 head of stock, horses, hogs, cattle and dogs. I could prove that agood many of them were killed by Reider. When I complained, the authorities said to me, ‘protect yourself’, and I did protect myself, my home and my folks. I don’t know whether I did right or wrong. I have been a citizen of the United States for a long time, and none of them are citizens yet. I am very well satisfied in jail. The officers are very good to me and so are the other prisoners. I get everything I want and it is pretty near the best time I have had since living in Park County. All the rest of the time it has been hard work and trouble. I hope my folks have better luck than me and my woman had. I never saw the inside of a jail before this, and was never fined a dollar in my life.
Something about Reider
Reider was a farmer in the old country and was worth about 150,000 marks in property and money. He had no children and his woman left him because of his attention to other women. He lost pretty near everything he had on account of court trouble and the burning of his buildings. His mother is alive yet in Bavaria. She gave him everything she had, and one of her friends is taking care of her now. That is what my brother told him. He knew Reider well in the old country. Reider told me that he only had a little farm in the old country, that he was not married and that his parents were dead.
“What makes Weidenbauer give away this Reider story? He claimed he was afraid that I would kill him. He never was afraid of me and he had no need to be. He knew well enough I would never kill him. He was working for the reward, for he said shortly before that somebody could make $200 to find Reider.
When he concluded what he had to say for publication, Zidmair remarked that before he was hanged he hoped to see some of those countrymen who had testified against him, in jail.
He exhibited not the least bit of depression and told the correspondent that he had no hope that the supreme court would reverse the district court in refusing him another trial. In appearance his is rather short and of spare build. His features are rather sharp, and he wears a bristling mustache, in which the grey is beginning to show. In one cheek he has a repulsive looking scar and a profile view of his physiognomy leaves a bad impression.
The general opinion is now is that there will be no appeal to the supreme court , although the matter is not yet definitely settled. Application will probably made to the governor for a commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment, but that is a forlorn hope.
The sheriff is preparing to send out invitations to the execution. The scaffold on which Dodson and MacArthur were hanged in Powell County will probably be used.

The Anaconda Standard, 17 Jul 1903, Fri, Page 2Cheated tThe Anaconda Standard, 30 Aug 1903, Sun, Page 2he Gallows.
BUTTE, Mont. Sept 3, 1903

Martin Zidmair, who was to be hanged tomorrow morning for the murder of George Reider, on Trail Creek, two years ago, was found dead in his cell here this morning, says a Livingston, Mont, dispatch to the Intermountaln. He is thought to have been deranged. Zidmair killed Reider, a lifelong friend, for ruining his daughter, and then, secreted the body. Zidmair’s wife killed herself over the girl’s disgrace. All parties concerned were Bavarians.

The Minneapolis Journal, 5 Sep 1903, Sat


I found all the newspaper articles at Genealogy Bank Newspaper Archive

According to the 1900 US Census did Martin Zidmair’s parents – Marin (in different sources also spelled as Martin, Marion) and Anna immigrate to the USA in 1887 – as did his brother Casper. I did find Casper and his wife Annie (Zehetmeyer) on a passenger list of S.S. Main of Bremen, which landed in the Port of Baltimore on 31 Mar 1887 – his parents were not on that list.
I did find their gravestones at






My Mother’s Dishes

DSC03074When my mother was still alive, she handed me her set of “good dishes”.
They were moving across the country, and she did not want to pack them all up.
Her reasoning:” Since you are going to
inherit them anyway, you might as well
keep them now.”
I placed all those dishes in a top kitchen cupboard, where they collected dust and grime (like all things do in top kitchen cupboards). I barely used them, either
I forgot I had them, or when the
opportunity arose to use them,
I did not feel like washing them first.
DSC03077These dishes were not a family heirloom, passed down from a previous generation. My mother started collecting these dishes when I was young, not expensive like “Royal Dalton”, but simply bought at the local department store while we were living in Germany. The design is not of hand painted roses, but a lovely country scene depicting a castle on a high cliff, overlooking a river or valley. The color is difficult to describe, not sure if it is grey, green, or something in between.
For us kids it was great, because we always knew what to buy for birthdays, Mother’s Days and anniversaries, . We were all able to afford a cup and saucer, for the bigger items we pooled our money together to buy the soup tureen, the tea pot, coffee pot, and the large serving platter.
This set even includes the shallow German tea cups. We lived in Ostfriesland, so we drank Friesian Tea, which was a piece of art in itself. First you placed a Kluntje (crystallized sugar rocks) in the cup with special tongs. You then poured over the strong brewed tea enjoying the crackling you heard as the tea hit the Kluntje.
When the cup was half full, using a special spoon, you poured double (heavy) cream around the inside edge of the cup creating clouds in the tea.
Even though you have a small spoon on the side of your saucer, you do not stir the tea.
Then you began to drink. The idea is that with your first mouthful you experience the creaminess at the top of the cup; then you have a bitter, refreshing mouthful; and you finish with a sweet hit from the tea containing the sugar crystal which has by now largely dissolved. Then you start all over again. It’s considered bad form to have anything less than three cups . Your host will continue to fill your cup until you place that little spoon from your saucer into to your teacup to signify you’ve had enough.
Back to my dishes.
DSC03073When many years later I purchased a china cabinet with our new dining set, these dishes were washed and proudly displayed for everyone to see. Once a year I would put them through a china cycle in the dishwasher, so they were clean and shiny.
Did I use them more often? Not really, I don’t really know why. Maybe the fear of breaking them? Maybe I was not comfortable using them?
Since Julie and I started “Seasoned Saturdays” together, my mother’s dishes have become a tool to bless others, to make others feel special. How does it make you feel, when your host brings out the best for you?
Some cups have aquired a few chips, however, that certainly does not prevent me from using them.
I will pass these dishes down to my kids (if there are any left, that is), and I hope they will use them to bless others.
Use the tools you have been given – talents, gifts and even material things to bless others. Don’t hide them away in a cupboard where they collect dust, use them.

Another Mystery Solved

I have my whole family tree uploaded at It is a great place to do research, find family stories, but also to get into contact with family members.
I was recently contacted by a fellow researcher who had information about my maternal grandmother and her family.
She turned out to be my second cousin (our mothers were first cousins) – what a great find.She send me a picture of my great-grandparents. It is always great to put some faces with the names, and I definitely recognized my grandmother in one the pictures. So thank you Anneke Westerhuis-Jager.

	Betovergrootouders Sjoukje Halbertsma en Jan Hoekstra tijdens hun 45 jarig huwelijk zie achterkant moet in 1939

In my box of “Unknowns” I had another picture in which I only recognized my Beppe, but all other people in the picture were unknown to me. So I send Anneke a picture, and she told me that she had the same picture, and she knew the names of mostly everyone in the picture.

Huwelijk Gabe Postma en Jitske Heins in 1943

1. Baukje Hoekstra, your grandmother
2. Jantje Bakker married to Martinus Hoekstra
3. Martinus Hoekstra (Youngest brother of your grandmother)
4. Froukje Hoekstra (sister of your grandmother
5. Jan Heins
6. Griet van der Woud(e) married to Taeke Hoekstra
7. Teake Hoekstra (brother of your grandmother)
8. Jitske Heins
9. Gabe Postma

Start your own family tree !

A Family of Silversmiths

  While doing research on the branches of my family tree, some times I come across a little bit of “treasure”. Not a real treasure, but some interesting information or sometimes even a picture. Recently I was doing some searching on a Klaas Jansen Heixan (my mothers great – great- great – great – great -great grandfather) and came upon the following:

This particular branch of the family tree were Silversmiths. Klaas Jansen Heixan was born on August 11, 1678 in Dokkum, Friesland, and like his father also became a silversmith. Every silversmith in those days had his own sign, or seal, to mark his work. (I found his sign, the KH monogram, at Meestertekens van Friese goud- en zilversmeden, werkzaam in de periode van ca. 1700 tot 1812 (Masterseals from Friesian gold- and silversmiths that were working between 1700 to1812 – but this link is no longer active) Not only did I find his ‘signature’, a sign that he placed on every piece of silverware he created, I also found a picture of a piece he made. At the following site, Botma Genealogy I found the family crest of a family Botma, at the bottom of a seal, which is part of a pipe stamper and other helpful tools. The initials G.G.B, are that of the owner. Upon closer inspection you can see the silver mark of the maker. On this website you can read the following: “Gezien het zilvermerk is het werktuig gemaakt door de Dokkumer Klaas Heixan. Deze stond ingeschreven in het gildeboek van 1704 tot 1738′. So, to think that one of my ancestors (even though it was long ago), created this piece from silver, somewhere in the 1700’s. It is like finding a little piece of my history. When looking for my ancestors, sometimes I rely on the research some others have done on that same branch. Just ‘google’ the name you are looking for and add a bit of information while you are surfing, like; ‘Heixan, Klaas ,silversmith ‘ that is how I found this picture and some more information to help me on my search. Do not forget to credit the site where you got your information.
To read that this family of silversmiths are part of my family tree is really cool,
but to actually find a picture of something they created is even cooler.
The world wide web is an amazing source of information – after “googling” some more I found another piece of
piece of Klaas Heixan’s workmanship –
silverspoon-klaas-heixan1A DUTCH SILVER SPOON, KLAAS HEIXAN, (DOKKUM), BETWEEN 1704-1738
Description – oval rat-tail bowl, engraved with monogram LR/MS within a shield suspending from a log of wood, lobed moulded handle terminating in a figure, maker´s mark only

Klaas Heixan was my 7th great-grandfather



Sierlepel met De Wijsheid – by Klaas Justus KraSierlepel met De Wijsheid Top – by Klaas Justus Krants ca. 1750. Silversmith Mark of Klaas Justus Krantznts ca. 1750

Sierlepel met De Wijsheid - by Klaas Justus Krants ca. 1750Klaas Heixan’s son in law, Claas Justus Krantz (my 6th great-grandfather)
who married Dieuwke Klases Heixan in Dokkum on Jan 4th, 1739, was also a silversmith. He was born Feb. 25th, 1712 in Dokkum, and later worked from there.
Below is an example of his work, a spoon created in abt. 1750.
Klaas and Dieuwke had 5 children, son Joost (1744), who died before the of age 2, another son Joost (1746) who also died in infancy, a daughter Dirkje (1748), daughter Janke(1750) and another son Joost (Justus) in 1753, who was my 5th great-grandfather.

Images taken from Meestertekens van Friese goud- en zilversmeden, werkzaam in de periode van ca. 1700 tot 1812 (link no longer active)
Their main site is Zilverstudie

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