I was raised in the rural Neillsville area in southern Clark County. As a boy I developed a strong interest in family and local history and in high school I took three years of German language classes due to my interest in my ancestry. At the time of my birth my father worked at the iron mine near Black River Falls and he and my mother also farmed. A few years later my father changed to being a full-time independent logger. I helped him in the woods as a teenager, learning a good work ethic, and as a young man I also worked in some factories. I went to technical college and earned an Associate Degree in Computer Programming. For a short time I lived in Oregon and later lived in Utah for one year, where I learned from and worked for a professional German Genealogist. After living in Utah I returned to the Neillsville area and worked for nearly 22 years at the Pamida / Shopko Hometown in Neillsville up until the last day it was open: the 23rd of June 2019. My hire date with the USPS was the 22nd of June 2019 and after going through training in Wausau I worked for about eight months as a clerk at the Dorchester Post Office before recently transferring to the Willard Post Office where I also work as a clerk. In 2006 I married Susan, who was raised in the Village of Withee. Susan's mother's Finnish ancestry inspired me to develop a very strong interest in Finnish culture, genealogy and history. We visited Finland in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016 (the first two times visiting Berlin, Germany and the area north of there, including the Village of Strubensee). In Finland we visited the places where Susan's mother's ancestors were from and spent time with distant cousins. We also visited several historical sites. We have also enjoyed having our friends from Finland come to visit us here in Wisconsin. Otherwise, we have enjoyed visiting places where Finnish immigrants settled such as the U.P. of Michigan, North-Eastern Minnesota and places in Wisconsin ranging from Oulu area to Almena to Redgranite. I enjoy going to thrift stores to look for interesting books (especially anything Finnish-related) and have also enjoyed visiting cemeteries to read gravestone inscriptions since I was a boy. I have an insatiable urge to research and figure out connections and true history which is often far more complicated than one would expect. I believe we are all connected somehow and DNA testing has only reinforced that. I am descended from German, English, Irish and Czech immigrants, but by DNA I am also remotely related to people from Sweden and Finland.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.