In our recent podcast, Episode #37, we had the pleasure of interviewing author Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Nathan writes our favorite genealogy mystery novels, the Forensic Genealogist series featuring Morton Ferrier.
We had such fun learning how Nathan comes up with ideas and does the research for his books. We go a little insight to his family and the characters in his book. We also learned what is coming up and new in print. If you are interested in learning more about Nathan Dylan Goodwin, here is a link to his website: https://www.nathandylangoodwin.com/. All his books are on our website under Books (of course.)
Join us wherever you get your podcasts!
4 thoughts on “An Interview with author Nathan Dylan Goodwin”
Brace yourselves, this is long one! I don’t have a comment/question pertaining to this episode, but I wanted to share with you my experience researching my Great Grandfather, Lester Wilson. I took a break from genealogy for a while because I had 2 small children and I was frustrated with the cost of trying to gather my evidence. It wasn’t until my mother passed this January that I got back into it. Anyway, on with my story…
My Great Grandfather was married 3 times, I knew this because I had heard stories about his “other” wife, “Neetis Jo,” I even have a picture with her in it. I had always assumed he was married to her before he married my Great Grandmother; I was wrong. Thanks to my local library I found my my great grandparents 1924 marriage license on Ancestry.com. As I was reading it I noticed it said he had no prior marriages. I was shocked, did Grandpa Wilson lie? How could my assumptions possibly be wrong (sarcasm)? I immediately set out to find where she placed in his life. I searched everywhere I cold think. He lived his whole life in Michigan, surely they were married there. NOPE! I looked at surrounding states: Indiana, Ohio (he married his third wife Dorothea in Ohio) etc. NOTHING! Seriously, batting a thousand here. Finally I just did a search on Ancestry for Lester Roy Wilson between 1942 (his divorce) and 1947 (his 3rd marriage, in Ohio). I found him in a 1942 directory for Flint, MI, I heard the angels sing, his name was glowing at me on the computer screen. It was right there, Lester Roy Wilson and wife Joann N. And her name was Joann not Neettis Jo! Oh, Sarah, you and your assumptions…
My hour on the computer was nearly up when I finally found their marriage licence in ARKANSAS!
What-why? Her name was Joan Copeland and she was from Missouri, he was from Michigan. How did they meet? And why Arkansas for their marriage? So, after I found this I found their divorce shortly after. I’m telling you this was an awesome day at my library! On their divorce decree her name is Nedies Wilson (<— see that, Nedies). Her name is recorded a different way for each piece of paper it is on (Joan N., Nedies J., Nedies Joan, Nedies Joann). Now I needed to confirm her maiden name was Copeland. Yeah, that's not going to happen because your know what? She was married before, turns out twice before, and twice after my grandfather.
At the end of this journey I do have a question. Should I continue to pursue more information about her or is this just taking me away from what is important?
Ok, this is far too long, but I was so excited I had to share. I do have another story I would like to share with you about Lester's Uncle-Grandpa (yyyyyyyyep). Well, Great Uncle-Step-Grandpa, he is a fascinating character, I have found much about him in the local papers that ran in Tuscola County, Michigan. But that is a post for another time. — Sarah
Sarah! What an adventure, down the rabbit hole and back I would say. Your story is exactly why genealogy research is so engaging. There is so much about your story that I love. First of all, utilizing the library (we are huge fans of the library especially for genealogy research), second getting all this done in an hour and third using your resources to look far and wide! (also love your writing style)
You ask if you should pursue more on this lady of many names and I would say no as she is not your ancestor. Did they have children together? That would be a reason to pursue her story if they did but otherwise it would be just for your personal interest. Looking forward to hearing about Lester’s Uncle-Grandpa (hmmm).
Thank you so much for your response, Penny. I have done as you suggested. I’m leaving Nedies to rest in the past. Now let me tell you about my Great Grandfather’s Uncle-Grandpa… This is another long one. Apparently, I can really blather on about my family.
OK, grab a pencil and paper, you may need to draw a family map. I tried to explain this with words to my sister and failed. I have already introduced you to my Great Grandfather, Lester Wilson; his parents were Britton Wilson and Bertha Bye, this story involves their parents.
Bertha’s parents names were Michael Bye and Rosina Kuhn, they came to Michigan from Germany in 1879. Ten years later Rosina’s brother, Bernhart Kuhn also came to America.
William Wilson and Mary Jane Seder (Brit’s parents) were married in 1872, this was his second marriage and her first. He was 44 and she was 17 (ew); but we don’t judge, because them’s the times. They seem to have separated sometime before the 1900 census because they were living apart when it was taken. In January 1903 William died.
In August 1904 Mary Jane (Seder) Wilson married Bernhart Kuhn, in October 1904 Mary Jane’s son, Britton Wilson married Bernhart’s niece, Bertha Bye. If you ask me, they should have waited and just had a double wedding, but alas, I am the romantic type (LOL). In November 1908, Lester Roy Wilson was born and Bernhart Kuhn was his Uncle/Grandpa!!!! By 1910 their marriage was pretty rocky and they end up divorcing.
Now let me tell you what I have found in the local papers about this couple. First let me explain, I no longer live in Michigan so I do much of my research online. The Rawson Memorial Library has digitized the Cass City Enterprise and the Cass City Chronicle. If you have research to to in Michigan’s Thumb Area this is a great resource. What I have found so far is from using the search option. Now I am slowly going through each paper trying to get more juicy, juicy nuggets.
The Cass City Chronicle seemed to be the paper of choice for where Bernhart and Mary Jane aired their dirty laundry. It’s delicious. The first story I came across was in May 1907: Bernhart’s dog became aggressive and bit him and two of his neighbors. The dog was shot the next day and it’s brain sent to Ann Arbor to be tested for rabies. Bernhart was very upset over this and protested, he did not believe the dog was rabid. The paper then posted a letter from the Pasteur Institute stating the dog did indeed have rabies. Bernhart traveled to Ann Arbor for the rabies treatment. While there he was quoted in the paper as saying,” Tell my wife to watch our buggy closely, for the vehicle was bitten by the dog and may go mad any minute.” This quote made me snort with laughter, but I also felt sorry for Bernhart because he lost his dog.
The next story I found was from 1910 when his marriage was on rocky ground. The article states: “While Bernhart Kuhn was helping neighbors thresh, someone entered his house, helped himself to provisions and shot his dog.” A week later the Chronicle posted a follow up stating that Mrs. Bernhart Kuhn and son, Andrew Wilson paid the chronicle a visit, “Mr. Wilson objected to the item stating that he did not steal anything from the Kuhn residence, but only removed such articles belonging to his mother as he was authorized to take by commitment papers prepared for that purpose. Of the killing of the dog, they claimed they knew nothing of the deed. The Chronicle had no knowledge of Mr. Wilson’s or his mother’s actions in the matter when the item was published, and did not realize that they were engaged in removing any property. In fact, until their visit at the office, it was thought that the entering of Kuhn’s residence was made by unknown parties. It develops that Kuhn and his better half have disagreed and decided t;o remain apart (for a time at least). Both have been married before. After the removal of some of household goods from the residence by Mrs. Kuhn, her husband came to town and consulted with a local attorney. He claimed the loss of some of his individual property and wanted to have Mrs. Kuhn arrested, but learned that he could not bring it about as long as they were man and wife. His only redress will be to go and get the property again. And should that be undertaken, Mrs. Kuhn could call in the same manner again without being subject to any legal action.” He tried to have her ARRESTED! In that same paper this was printed, “Take Notice: My wife, Mary Jane Kuhn, having left my bed and board without just cause or provocation, I hereby warn the public that I will bot be responsible for any debts contracted by her.” Oh, such DRAMA!!!
I continue to dig through the paper because I must know more about Bernhart’s life. — Sarah
Were out to dinner last night when I received your email and lucky for me the table cloth was paper and I immediately had to draw out the tree to see the connection. Pretty sure the server thought I was nuts. Anywho, what a great story. Also, the fact that Bernhart lost his dog twice! What?! Poor guy. Looks like they really liked to air the family laundry in the paper too, lucky you!