Brenda's Branches

Growing our branches while searching for our roots!

Our Research

~ Brenda's Paternal Lines ~

MCKINNEY: Grandpa Roy McKinney (1882-1972) oldest son of John Wesley McKinney who was the youngest son of William McKinney born 1804 somewhere in Kentucky, moved to Ripley county, Indiana, then Knox county, Missouri in the early 1840's.

NEWTON: Grandma Florence "Flossie" Newton ( 1903-1977) daughter of Harry Newton born 1772 in Birmingham England immigrated to US via Canada settling in Wisconsin and Michigan

~ Brenda's Maternal Lines ~

SIMOLA: Grandpa Hjalmar Simola (1892-1972) son of Juho Andersson and Justiina Gustafsdotter who immigrated from Ypaja Finland to America on the SS Lusitania landing in New York in 1909

EK: Grandma Edla Ek (1886-1974) daughter of Gustaf Adolf Ek and Maria Vilhelmina Mattsdotter who immigrated from Pernio Finland to America on the SS Victoria landing in Quebec Canada and coming by train to Duluth Minnesota in 1908

~ Steve's Paternal Lines ~

SCHNURER/SCHNURRER: Grandpa Math Schnurer (1877-1957) son of Ignatz Schnurrer and Antonia Litschauer who immigrated from Kleingopfritz Austria to America on the SS Fried. D Gross landing in New York in 1898 before making his way to Morrison county Minnesota.

OTREMBA: Grandma Mary Otremba (1887-1933) daughter of Frank Otremba son of Johann Otremba who immigrated from Germany in 1872 settling in Morrison county Minnesota.

~ Steve's Maternal Lines ~

PETERS/PIETRUSZEWSKI: Grandpa Michael Peters (1889-1962) son of Joseph Pietruszewski who immigrated from Poland on the SS Leipzig arriving in Baltimore Maryland in 1881 and settling in Rock county Wisconsin.

BEALCKUS/JSGANITIES: Grandma Margaret Bealckus (1891-1982) daughter of John and Maryona Bealckus born in Lithuania who immigrated from Lithuania to America on the SS Brandenburg landing in Baltimore Maryland in 1907 and setting in Rock county Wisconsin.


We are in the process of doing updates on the website. It is up, but there are a lot of headstones not linked to their cemeteries. I apologize for the inconvenience and I'm working as fast as I can to fix the issue.

We're so happy you stopped by for a visit. Brenda's Branches is a genealogy website that was created to share the results of our years of research and hopefully connect with other family researchers.

On the following pages, you will learn a bit about our ongoing research into both my family and my husband's family and their collateral ancestors and descendants.

As of the last update, our database includes over 13,800 people and 4663 families.

While all efforts are taken for accuracy, unfortunately we do sometimes make mistakes. So, while you're exploring if you find any mistakes please contact us and we will correct them as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind, my genealogy research is a work in progress and a compilation of many family researcher's efforts which is constantly evolving. I've added sourcing where possible, but in my earlier research I wasn't as diligent in my sources as I have become in later years.

Thank you!

Over the years, many individuals...

have helped me compile the information in this database and I am forever grateful to all of them for their help.

However, there are a few special people who deserve a special "Thank You" for their valuable help and source material.

Ginger Summers, Georgia Moore, Shirley Stapleton, Roy McKinney and Ima Fahrner for sharing their vast knowledge of our McKinney branch of the family with a "new cousin."

Michael McKeown and Jackie Erickson who helped me fill in a most of the blanks in the Newton and Wilson branches.

Simola Walkama and Diane Porter for sharing freely of their life's research into my mother's Ek branch of our tree.

Gerri Garrison for welcoming a "Northern Cousin" so graciously into her family and sharing our Garrison heritage with me. She has passed from this life but will always be remembered with a smile and a warm heart.

Pat Cassedy, Cousin Pat, you are a wonder to me. The photos, documents, and memories you've shared with me have been priceless when working on the Peters and Bealckus branches.

Privacy Policy

To insure the privacy of living individuals, Brendas Branches suppresses the personal data of living individuals from viewing by the general public.

Personal data includes, but is not limited to, birth/marriage dates/locations, photographs, notes, and biographies.

Only the Names of living individuals are shown and no other information.

The Story Tellers:

We Are The Chosen Ones - My feelings are that in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called as it were, by our genes.

Those who have gone before cry out to us. Tell our story! So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us!" How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference, and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. (For we without them cannot be made perfect.)

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.

That, is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

By: Della M. Cummings Wright ~ Rewritten by her granddaughter, Della JoAnn McGinnis Johnson ~ Edited and reworded by: Tom Dunn