Sunday, January 15, 2017

Introduction and 2016 Re-cap

Welcome to my first blog post. My goal is to share my interactions with family and news. So, a good start is to re-cap all that happened in 2016.

I've been delighted recently to see that there are several cousins in the next generation or two that are starting to pursue our family history. I see one of Debbie Cobb's daughters, Cheri Erving's daughter, Ellen's son, and others. I am so excited and thanks to those of you who are taking up the reins. Be sure to share amongst yourselves and feel free to use my research—no sense reinventing the wheel! Contact me anytime with questions.

2016 Olin Family Society International Reunion

In July, the Olin Family Society's 5th International Reunion took place in Ashtabula, Ohio. Ashtabula is significant to us because our ancestor, Henry Olin and his wife, Silence Greene, settled there and are buried there. Lineage: John > John > John > Henry > Henry > Thomas > Willard.

My mother Janet and step-father Jerry and I drove across Wisconsin and took the ferry across from Wisconsin to Michigan. It was a great trip and gave me a chance to snooze on the lido deck! It was a 4-hour crossing and was well organized and comfortable and I would highly recommend it. Very reasonably priced too.

We drove down through Michigan and over to Ashtabula. We had a great time at the reunion getting to know our cousins and I was so happy to have three of Thomas B. Olin's line's represented there. Stephen and Margaret Sandretzky were there, Susan, Debbie, and Susan's son Chris were there representing the Frank Olin family, and of course me and my parents. We had a great time and the first day I was voted in as the OFS president. I was very honored and hope I do a great job. We left the reunion with many others and visited the Olin Family bridge, a couple cemeteries—one with Henry and Silence in it—and also we saw the longest covered bridge. We had lunch with Stephen and Margaret and had such a wonderful time. I have had a strong bond with these two for many years, but it was fun to watch my parents bond with these two wonderful people too. We were all very sad to have to part. Stephen and Margaret are planning on attending the reunion this summer, so please take the opportunity to meet these two cousins.

When we left the reunion we headed up to Mecosta County, Michigan, where more ancestors are buried. We visited the graves of Henry Olin and his wife, Lydia Cory and many others. Willard had two brothers who died very young and were buried there. (John > John > John > Henry > Henry)It was quite the adventure just trying to get back to this private land-locked cemetery. After 4 attempts, my mother and I finally came to a clearing. I had already been there 3 times and my mother once, but it always takes my breath away when I first see it. In the middle of the woods there is a clearing and a huge tree. The sun was streaming down through the branches onto the cemetery. Just gorgeous and peaceful and almost reverential. We went through and looked at all the stones including Henry and Lydia. Many of the stones had fallen down or been stolen, so I'm just thankful that these have survived.

The last leg of our trip was up through the Upper Peninsula and down through Duluth where we had lunch with Cheri Erving Moikubo, Bonnie Schweigert Schram, and my niece and granddaughter of Janet, Andrea Deckert, and her partner Brian.

It was a very pleasant and enjoyable trip. This was probably one of the smaller OFS reunions but rumor has it that the next one will be held in Minnesota. Fortunately, that's 4 1/2 years away because it's quite the undertaking planning something like that. I hope I will be able to call on some of you to help out if we do host it here.


I have started testing DNA from the Charlie Olin family. I see that other family members are also testing. The Olchefske's (Ellen Olin Olchefske Frank family) have been testing as well as the Sandretzky family (John > John > John > Henry > Henry > Thomas >Sadie). If you are interested in being tested, I would be happy to subsidize the cost if it is tied to my account. Contact me if you are interested.

Mary Evangeline Harmison
Bailey and Mildred Bailey
For those of us descended from Charlie and Vivian (Bailey) Olin, I am starting to link up with the Bailey side. The picture on the right we believe to be Vivian's mother, Mae Harmison Bailey. The child is probably Mildred.

I had previously been in touch with two members of the Bailey family, descendants of Bill Bailey's brothers and sister. But just recently I found a family here in Minnesota that is descended from Bill Bailey's mother's side (Hall). This has been very exciting and I'm getting to know one of the cousins, Kim Hollenbeck. She is a little younger than me but we have lots in common. I met her and her extended family last weekend at an Irish Pub in St. Paul. They were celebrating her first-cousin's 50th birthday (he is our cousin too). It was lots of fun and we enjoyed talking about the family.


Ben Hoglund (son of Andrea Olin Hoglund) drove up from Nebraska for a couple of days this last summer. My daughter Gretchen and I took him over to the State Fair. We had fun as he tasted something-on-a-stick and we also met up with Dick Olin (son of Delma) and watched him sing Karaoke. He's really, really good. People applauded wildly when he was done. I captured it on video and uploaded to YouTube if you want to watch. I also took Ben over to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. But we mostly had fun chatting and catching up.

I met with Saliah (Sandretzky) Kako (granddaughter of Sadie Olin Sandretzky) at the State Fair this year also. Her daughter was in the 4-H fashion show. I went to see them last year also for the dog show competition. I always enjoy her company, she has such a lovely family. Saliah has been working on the family history also so we spend a lot of time communicating.
Bob Tillman (son of Shirley Olin Tillman) came up for a visit in July. He came up with his sons and a friend to do some fishing. He has been coming up regularly for a couple years. He enjoys visiting with us but also goes up to Fergus Falls to visit my mother. For a couple years he has been visiting Bonnie (Schweigert) Schram who lost her husband a couple years ago. He came up again for Aunt Mary's funeral.

Cheri (Erving) Moikubo came up twice this year. She spent a couple weeks with Bonnie. She also came back for Aunt Mary's funeral (see below). Cheri's husband, Omayio joined us at the funeral. It was great fun spending time with her. Long overdue!

I am heading down to Texas in mid-February to visit with Andrea and Mike Hoglund  and their daughter Amy and her husband David Jones. Really looking forward to it. Andrea visited us in 2015 and we had a great time.


My daughter Anna Strouse married her partner, Hannah Beth Starr on April 30th in Washington. They had a beautiful wedding at Treehouse Point. Anna and Hannah took the McGillvray family name in honor of our g-grandmother, Ellen Jane McGillivray. Anna has felt a special connection to that line and has even tattooed the family badge on her leg. They both have the surname "MacGillivray-Starr" and Anna also changed her name to "Addison". But she kept her middle name "Catherine" in honor of my sister, Catherine, who we lost to breast cancer in 2013. The wedding in Washington provided us the opportunity to visit with Cheri and Omayio Moikubo. They made a delicious meal for us and we also got to see Aunt Florence (Olin) Erving.
Mary Olin Schweigert died on October 12, 2016. The funeral was held on October 18th. Many relatives were there representing the families of Chuck Olin, Janet Olin Lindberg, Delma Olin, Shirley Olin Tillman, and Florence Olin Erving families. (Sorry if I missed anyone) She was 95 years old. Bonnie did a lovely job arranging the funeral. Our sympathies are with you Bonnie.


Bob Tillman's wife, Barb, had a brain aneurysm this past year. They got her to the hospital in time to do surgery. She is recovering well despite some complications. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Also, Bob's son, Christopher, works in the film industry and was recently featured in a promo shot for an upcoming movie. The promo can only be viewed on Facebook.

2017 Family Reunion

Mark your calendars now! I'm hoping the word is getting out about the 2017 Minnesota Olin Family reunion. It will be held June 25, 2017 at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This was a favorite picnic spot for the Olins. Start searching for pics of your family at Como so we can show them off at the reunion. I have created a web page with more details here: 2017 Reunion website. I expect a large number of people this year due to the fact that it's been awhile. But also, we are expecting extended family members as well as distantly related Olins. If you know of someone in your family that does not have email, I will be creating a flyer soon that you can share with them.

I chose the "Wabun D" picnic shelter which holds 230 people. It has lots of parking, a kids play area (video), restrooms, disk golf, and a wading pool. And of course, the beautiful falls as well as trails that lead down to the Mississippi river. I will be looking for a couple volunteers to act as greeters, video taping and picture taking, as well as runners. At this point I'm thinking potluck, but it may mean that the local family brings more food as those traveling in will not be able to make anything. So, another option is Subway sandwiches or something like that. But more on that later! Check out my 2017 Reunion website for information. DOWNLOAD FLYER to send to your family.

Share this blog with your family members please. Also, feel free to comment below either by giving your opinions, or by sharing special events in your own family. If you would like to be able to create your own blog posts here, let me know. The more the merrier.

1 comment:

  1. It was a pleasure visiting with you Ruth!!! It's becoming a great tradition to see one another at the fair!


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