Friday, March 13, 2015

Erickson family characteristic

Erickson brothers
Obviously I've been around Ericksons all my life, but it wasn't until a few years ago, when at an Erickson reunion, that I first noticed a family characteristic. As I looked around the room at the various uncles, first cousins, second cousins once removed, and so on, I realized all of the men had similar foreheads - high, broad and slightly square, sometimes with a slight vertical crease above the nose. Now there is probably some of it in the females of the family, but thankfully I don’t think it is as noticeable. It works for the men, but I’m not sure it would look as great on the fairer sex.

I soon realized it wasn't just an “Erickson forehead.” In looking at a picture of my great-great grandpa, Erik Person, and his brother Nels Utterberg, I saw they too had similar foreheads. (Erik, or Erick, is where "Erickson" comes from.) To test my theory, I looked through some pictures that an Utterberg cousin, Terri, had shared with me. (Visit her blog here!)  As I didn't know the people in her pictures, I tried to identify my distant relatives by looking at their foreheads. I was able to pick out most of the blood relatives.
Brothers Nels Utterberg and Erik Person

Have you noticed any characteristics passed through the generations in your family?

Daniel Erickson family

Friday, March 6, 2015

Merle Ransom and her Cinderella moment

Most, if not all, of my posts have been about my direct ancestors, but today I came across some newspaper articles that were too good not to share.

The star of the story is Merle Ransom, daughter of James Harley “Tod” Ransom and Daisy Van Note. Merle and I share a common ancestor in Samuel Ransom (1795-1863). Samuel is my 4x great grandfather and Merle’s great-grandfather, making Merle and I 2nd cousins, 3 times removed. A bit distant, but still family.

In August 1916, 18-year-old Merle and a “merry party” were going for a boat ride. As Merle was stepping from the pier (possibly in Clear Lake, near Mason City, Iowa where she lived) she fell in the water. She quickly resurfaced, uninjured. The local paper reports:
When she was again on Terra Firma she discovered that one shoe was missing, but whether she, like Cinderella, will find fortune through her shoe, is unknown. Certainly it is gone for they have hunted the spot over but have found no trace of the missing foot covering. If any see a lovely mermaid disporting herself on the sands with one dainty pump about her person please report the same to Miss Ransom as she would be very grateful.
Shortly after, the paper was happy to report:
Miss Merle Ransom has recovered the shoe which she lost last week when she overbalanced and fell into the lake. The fair “Cinderella” did not, however, find the shoe herself. The dainty foot covering was discovered half buried in the sand several feet from where it was lost by the kindly “Prince” from next door.
Sadly the water-logged shoe was a bit bent out of shape and unwearable.

Sources: Mason City Globe Gazette, Daily August 10, 1916; Mason City Globe Gazette, Weekly August 10, 1916, from