The Walkers in the 1895 Minnesota State Census

Article by Jan Leonard…thank you Jan!

In the ten year period between the two censuses the three oldest daughters,  Margaret (Aunt Millie). Mary  Emma (Aunt Em) and Jane Ann (Aunt Ann) had all married.  William and Jane (Jeanne) were on the move too; the 1895 enumeration finds them in Moran Township near Browerville in Todd County.  In that time they had three more children, daughters  Kathleen, 10 whose name is misspelled as Catherine, Edith who is  six, and Ruth, four years of age.  Married daughter, Jane Ann (Walker) Upper and her husband are living with them or right next door.  In this record the enumerator made a spectacular “hash” of Aunt Ann’s husband’s name.  Osborn Upper, is listed as Ruper Osborne and thus  Aunt Ann is temporarily Anna Osborne!  This census also asks how long males over 21 years of age have been in the State and in the Enumeration District.  William and son George are recorded as have been in Minnesota for 17 years which corresponds to Olive M. Walker’s birth year 1878.  They had lived in Moran  Township for a year.

1895 Minnesota  State Census – Moran Township, Todd  County, MN

census MN 1 In addition to bringing Eunice Walker to light, these two state censuses taken together have also raised questions about where the Walkers lived between the time they homesteaded in Bluffton Township in Otter Tail County and when they moved to Bemidji, MN  More research is needed.

Source:  Minnesota,  Territorial and State Censuses.    1849-1905 (databases on-line) Provo, UT, USA Operations Inc. 2007

Source:  Year; 1900; Census Place: Bemidji,  Beltrami, Minnesota, Roll 756, Page 11B Enumeration District: 0029; FHL microfilm: 1240756

Source: Year; 1910; Census Place: Bemidji Ward 3, Beltrami, Minnesota; Roll T624_690, Page 6A; Enumeration District: 0272, FHL microfilm: 1374703

Source; Year; 1920; Census Place: Bemidji Ward 4, Beltrami,  Minnesota; Roll: T625_822: Page 2A; Enumeration  District: 26, Image; 1007


Copyright: March 7, 2015,

Janice Leonard, Seattle, Washington

All Rights Reserved

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The Thirteenth Walker Child?

Hi Everyone,

This article was donated by cousin Jan Leonard. Thank you Jan for this interesting post which raises some new questions about the Walker family. I hope all our readers will enjoy  this family mystery.


Those of us researching Walker family history are at least three generations removed from William Alexander Walker and his bride, Jeanne Arbuckle.  We often lament the questions we didn’t ask our parents or grandparents, the unlabeled photographs found in their belongings and the phantom letters we wished they’d left.  Many of us have childhood  memories of or had heard stories about then Walker children; Aunt Ol, Aunt Em, Aunt Cal, Aunt Babe, Uncle Bill, Aunt Ruth and the rest.  We thought there were twelve  Walker children. However the Minnesota State Census enumeration lists Eunice A. Walker, 9 months old, among the Walker siblings living with parents, William and Jane (Jeanne).  This census was completed on May 23, 1885 in Compton, Otter Tail County.  All of the siblings we expected to see listed for this date are enumerated except possibly Kathleen (Aunt Babe).  Kathleen’s year of birth has been documented as either 1883 (the Social Security Death Index) or 1885 (the Minnesota State Death Index).  I was puzzled at finding Eunice because there are family stories or documentary evidence for all the other Walker siblings but none for Eunice.  Because of the uncertainty of Kathleen’s birth year I also wondered if this child somehow might be Kathleen.

1885 Minnesota State Census – Compton, Otter Tail County,  MN


I reviewed all the census data for Kathleen Walker and the weight of the evidence is that she was  born in 1885 so I eliminated the possibility that she was the mysterious Eunice.  If the Walker family is correctly enumerated in the 1885 census is then William and Jeanne had thirteen children (of which we know).

The next surviving census is the 1895 Minnesota State Census and Eunice Walker is not enumerated with the rest of the family.  We can speculate that she died sometime before that date.  A small glimmer of documentary evidence or some additional puzzling information appears on the 1910 Federal Census for William Walker.  “Number of children born” is listed as 13 while “number living” is blank. This entry is a bit strange as the question is generally asked of married or widowed women and is phrased “number of children born to mother” and “number still living.”  In the 1900 census when Jeanne Walker was still alive these two questions are answered as 12 born and 12 still  living. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Copyright Janice Leonard, February, 2015,  All rights reserved.

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Who are We?

Among the items a family leaves behind are often a group of unidentified pictures, right?  I spend a lot of time sitting here scratching my head, looking at faces to see who the person resembles, checking their hair style and clothing to try to figure out when the picture was taken, and on and on.  Creeping frustration sets in, but then I recall all the times I’ve neglected to identify my own family pictures.  Naughty girl!

So without complaint I present four pictures that have no identification and for goodness sake if you know who the people are would you let me know so I can stop agonizing over them? (Just  joking)  Thanks in advance.


scan0004 copy

These lovely young ladies seem to be dressed for a special occasion, probably their First Communion.  Similar pictures in a photo dating book puts this type of dress around 1900-1904.  The two girls at the right strongly resemble another picture titled Mary and Josephine.  Could that be who they are, or could they be daughters of Mary or Josephine or other Samels women?  I’ve no guesses as to who the girl to the left might be.


Unidentified 2

This sweet looking young lady is wearing a kind of sailor blouse.  Could be a school uniform, but this style of garment was popular around 1910 give or take.  Her hair style looks even later.   To me her smile is reminiscent of the Samels family, but that’s just a guess.

********************************************************************************Samels Car copy

This neat picture is a prosperous looking family out enjoying a spin in their new car.  The gentleman in the back row right is Will Samels.  The rest?

********************************************************************************Samels picnic

This happy group seem to be out for a picnic or at least enjoying a nice sunny day.  It’s more modern than some of the other pictures and the children in front are June Taylor and her twin brothers Ernest and  William.  June was born in 1922 and the twins in 1924 so as a guess this picture may have been taken around 1930?

********************************************************************************So there you have it….lovely pictures just looking for identities.


Copyright September, 2013.  Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington

Photographs used with permission of the owners.

All Rights Reserved.

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Samels Family Photo Album

Hello to Samels cousins and interested friends,

I’ve added a gallery slide show of  Samels pictures in  my collection.  Special thanks to my Minnesota cousins, Pat, Loretta and Marie for sharing their Samels family photographs.

Some pictures are a bit fuzzy and I apologize where the rendering isn’t as clear as I’d like.

Copyright September, 2013, Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington

All Rights Reserved

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Frank and Jean Shane, A Love Story

Hello to All,

I’ve recently undertaken a clean-up, re-organize and re-write for my blogs …oh my… it’s taking awhile.  But yesterday I did finish a re-write of my parents story: Frank and Jean Shane, A Love Story and have posted it on Vimeo.  The new version features more pictures and additional data as well (birth dates, etc).

The background music is the work of Philip Boulding and the Magical Strings, located in Olalla Washington.  In addition to writing music, building Irish harps and teaching people to play, Philip and his wife Pam have produced a number of CD’s.  The three tunes included on my presentation are from the “Celtic Mist” 2 CD set.  Here’s a link to Magical Strings website:

To see this 6 1/2 minute “show” click the link!   I hope you enjoy it.

Link to “Frank and Jean Shane, A Love Story:


Copyright October, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington

Photographs are the sole property of Susan Edminster

or are used with permission of the owners.


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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Death of the Shane Brothers

This evening I have a post for you about the Shane brothers….this would be my grandfather Robert Nolan Shane and his brother John.  They died just 12 days apart in 1918 and this article appeared in the Monticello Express, April 18, 1918:

Death of the Shane Brothers

The older Settlers, those who lived in this vicinity, twenty years or more, will remember the Shane family, which lived five miles north of Monticello.  Two of the sons,  Robert N. Shane and John Shane, died within twelve days of each other, last February.  This information we get from W.H. Samels, of Minneapolis who visited the family of Robert N. Shane, one of the deceased, at Portland, Oregon, a short time ago.

Robert N. Shane, who was 55 years of age, died February 18th at Portland.  He was born on the Shane homestead, north of Monticello, and lived there 36 years, when he moved to Minneapolis, about 19 years ago.  After living  in Minneapolis 9 years, he moved to Portland, Oregon, which place was his home for 10 years.  He is survived by his widow, Susie Samels Shane, and one son, Frank L. Shane; also one brother, James Shane, and three sisters, Mary, Nancy and Frances.  His funeral was held at the St. Francis Catholic church, at Portland and interment was made at Mt. Calvary cemetery.

On the 4th of February, twelve days before his death, his brother John Shane died at Portland, at the age of 36 years.  He lived on the  Shane homestead for 21 years, and the rest of his life was spent at Portland.  As we understand it, he was not married but is survived by the brother and the sisters named above.

Note:  According to the death certificates, Robert Shane died of Pernicious Anemia and John of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.


Source:  Monticello Express, April 18, 1918. Digital copy, courtesy of the Monticello Public Library data base.

November 12, 2012, Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, All rights reserved.

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Robert Arbuckle Handwriting Analysis

In the fall of 2009 I heard a presentation on the “Genealogy Gems Podcast” that had to do with handwriting analysis.  The podcast host, Lisa Louise Cooke was interviewing Paula Sassi,  Certified Master Graphologist and I found the presentation very, very intriguing.  After the broadcast I picked out a few of Mr. Ed’s and my more interesting ancestors and asked Paula to do an analysis.  Robert Arbuckle was one of the lucky ancestors to have his signature analyzed.

Here’s Paula’s analysis:

The following handwriting analysis is based upon the signature of …….Robert Arbuckle.  The signature represents the public self image of the writer or how he wants to project himself to the outside world.

Robert Arbuckle’s signature indicates that he was a strong willed, confident individual.  His health may have been deteriorating at the time of this signing,* but he still had the strength and gumption to move forward.  He appears to be a true Scotsman with a somewhat frugal and cantankerous nature.  The height and loop in  his t-cross shows that he had a strong sense of pride and responsibility and also could be quite persistent in his thought process.  If he made up his mind about something, it was probably hard to get him to change.  At the time of this signing, he may have been feeling a bit detached from his family.  Since this document is to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to his homeland, he may have been somewhat torn in his decision.  As with many immigrants, he came looking for a better life, but still felt attached to his roots.  It looks like he signed below the line of writing which can indicate depression and also a tendency to chart his own course.  The signature then rises and shows that he could also “pull himself up by his bootstraps” and continue in a positive manner.

From these indicators, we can infer that he was a confident, hardworking individual who held tightly to his own ideas and beliefs.  He may even have enjoyed music or singing to himself as a way of relieving tension and stress.  He had a streak of rebelliousness in him and a strong sense of responsibility.

* Signed in 1884, Robert would have been about 63 years old.

Note:  Robert Arbuckle’s signature can be seen here:  Robert Arbuckle Naturalization

Note:  In a subsequent email discussion with Paula, I explained that Robert had committed suicide and it was her feeling that he might never have really reconciled himself to life away from Scotland.


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA, 02/17/2012  All Rights Reserved

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Robert Arbuckle Naturalization

Robert Arbuckle and his family emigrated from Scotland to Canada and eventually to Minnesota.  Here’s a copy of his Naturalization Certificate, very special since it carries Robert’s signature.

Naturalization Certificate – Robert Arbuckle


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA 02/17/2012, All Rights Reserved

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