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Photo of the Month
February 2010
See Previous Photos     Unknown Faces and Places


One of the great differentiating strengths of Minerd.com is its relentless commitment to conduct original, on-site, proprietary research on a national scale. In August-September 2009, for the 18th year, cousin-researchers Eugene Podraza and Minerd.com founder Mark Miner traveled to a new region to conduct research -- this time to Kansas City and Northwest Missouri, and Eastern Kansas. Here, Eugene pauses to pay respect at the neglected, rural grave of George "William" and Helen (White) Clark at the Joab Holloway Cemetery near Laredo, Grundy County. 

As always, they gathered firsthand documentation about many branches of cousins who were pioneers of this region in the mid 1800s. The 2009 trip included five days in 13 counties, as shown on the map. It produced more than 175 pages of copied material -- now added to the family archive of some 125,000 pages -- and photographs of many old family grave markers and farms. The research involved time-tested procedures of visiting courthouses and libraries to obtain public records (wills, deeds and newspaper obituaries) and exploring cemeteries to find and photograph ancient and fading grave markers. All of these artifacts document the lives distant cousins who left the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia in the early to mid 1800s, never to return, and long forgotten by kin back East.


Red dots mark counties we visited

The 2009 trip also included work on the following clans: 

  • Bates County pioneers John S. and Eliza (Minor) Swearingen -- who migrated there from Pickaway County, OH in the late 1860s. One major discovery was that their grandson, Edward H. McReynolds, served as well-known Special Assistant to the President and Director of Public Relations/Advertising for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in the 1920s and '30s until his downfall from alleged income tax fraud.
  • George "William" and Helen (White) Clark -- she moved as a 19-year-old from Morrow County, OH to Haseville, Linn County, MO in 1869, and upon marriage in 1874 settled on a farm near Laredo, Grundy County, MO. Their daughter published several landmark histories of this branch which have been vital to our understanding. 
  • John Wesley and Christina "Tena" (Younkin) Nedrow -- who left Somerset County, PA with their two young children in 1881 and migrated to Nebraska, moving on to Kansas by 1888, then back to Nebraska by 1891, and finally settling in Maitland, Holt County, MO by 1896. They are named in the notable Holt County history book Gone Home.
  • Civil War veteran Ignatius G. Martin -- who migrated by 1870 from Preston County, WV to Clay County, MO, and thence to Cameron, Clinton County, where he married Martha Lionhart and settled on a farm at the precise intersection of Clinton, DeKalb and Caldwell Counties. 
  • Brothers Solomon Minard Jr. and Civil War veteran Nathan W. Minard who both were pioneers of Caldwell County, MO, having relocated from Knox County, OH. Solomon moved as a 16-year-old in about 1858, from Ohio to Illinois, and thence came in about 1868 to Mirabile, Caldwell County. Nathan, on the other hand, came to Iowa in 1866 and remained there until about 1871, when he and his wife Sarah Jane (Woodruff) Minard pushed further into Caldwell County. 
  • Photographing the 1876 graves of double Medal of Honor winner Thomas Ward Custer and his brother in law James Calhoun at the National Military Cemetery at Fort Leavenworth, KS. The two were among five Custer family members killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn, of whom the most famous of course was Thomas' brother General George Armstrong Custer.
  • Electa Ann (Minard) Walker -- who moved from Ohio to Iowa in about 1869 and into Missouri by 1898, and has disappeared into the misty haze of history.

Earlier years' research trips have been made to 58-plus counties in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. These trips assure that data come from the best possible original sources, rather than purely relying on the work of others. Facts excavated from these paper archaeology "digs" are analyzed and written in People Magazine-like stories and then uploaded to the Minerd.com website. 


Copyright 2009-2010 Mark A. Miner