The ancestors of my children.

My primary family tree is maintained on  For now I do not intend to duplicate that here.  I have private trees for each grandparent and their relatives.  I also have one public tree with direct ancestors and siblings.  To see that tree go to the Ancestors of the Borkowski Boys of Ballard tree on  If you do not have an account you will have to create one to see my tree.  You do not have to pay any money or subscribe to their service but you do have to have an account.  If you have questions about my research but do not wish to use contact me and we can see if we can work something else out.

This site will be a place for me to post details of specific research breakthroughs or attempts to break through a brick wall.   The information on the site will continue to grow and evolve as I make further discoveries about the various lines of ancestry.  I will also include my story of the events that led me to begin my genealogy research.  It began when I was 50 years old and found out for the first time that the person I had grown up believing to be my father was not.  I am working on a book to tell my story but will include excerpts here.

The lines of my research include ancestry for each Great Grandparent. All rights to photos are reserved.

Ancestors of Alvina Gertrude Mickels and her parents, Joseph George Mickels and Bertha Marie Goeser

This section will include information on my mother, Alvina Gertrude Mickels (1919-2003), including: her father, Joseph George Mickels (1891-1946), and mother, Bertha Marie Goeser (1899-1982), and their family lines from the Rhineland region of Germany, to Fond du Lac County Wisconsin, and then to Shelby County Iowa including both Westphalia and Panama, Iowa.

During my time working for the U.S. Department of Education, I wrote an article on my mother’s military career for a special Veteran’s Day publication.  See page 7 of the linked publication.

I hope to include additional information which shows the various interconnections between the groups of families who followed that same migration including the Mickels, Michels, Goeser, Sonntag, Langenfeld, and Blum families.

I have recently done a book cataloging all of the descendants of my great grandparents, Nicholas Frederick Goeser (1875-1953) and Mary Eva Sonntag (1879-1921).  If you are interested in that publication please contact me.

Ancestors of Vernon Max Smith and Mary Barbara Froeliger

This section will include information on my biological father, Lloyd Hilton Smith (1920-1992), including:  his father, Vernon Max Smith (1880-1960), and the Smith and Ethel lines from Washington County Pennsylvania and Virginia and mother, Mary Barbara Froeliger (1880-1970), and the Froeligers from France and Millers from Ohio.

My Great Great Grandparents were Alexander Smith (1830-1911) and Margaret Jane Stephenson (1829-1857).  Margaret’s great grandfather, my 5th great grandfather, James Stephenson (1740-1813), and his family were neighbors and friends of George Washington in Jefferson county West Virginia.  One of Jame’s brothers, my 5th great uncle, Captain Hugh Stephenson (1737-1776), led one of the first groups of Virginia troops, the Berkeley Riflemen,  to join General Washington in 1775 at Boston at the start of the revolutionary war.

Descendents of Wilhelm Borkowski and Ketel Ketelsen

This section will include information on my step/adoptive father, Ferdinand Otto Borkowski (1905-1995), including: his father, Carl Borkowski (1870-1960), who immigrated from Germany in 1887, and mother, Elizabeth Dorthea Ketelsen (1878-1960), whose parents immigrated from Germany to Clinton, Iowa in 1866.

I hope to include information on Ferd’s relationship with other Borkowski families from the area near Manning and Audubon, Iowa. I hope to include descendent information for Wilhelm H Borkowski (1839-1889) & Auguste Caroline Frankenstein (1842-1916) and Ketel Henry Ketelsen (1830-1911) & Christina Maria Jurgensen (1835-1899).

I have completed a preliminary pedigree ancestry book for the Borkowski’s.  Again contact me if you are interested.

Ancestors of Joseph Schuver and Eleanore Oberbroeckling

This section will include information on my wife’s grandparents on her fathers side including:  Joseph Conrad Schuver (1891-1959) who immigrated from the Moselle area of what is now France to Granville, in Sioux County, Iowa in 1908, and Eleanore Christina Oberbroeckling (1896-1987) whose family immigrated from Germany to Northeast Iowa a generation earlier.

I hope to include a complete information on the Schuver descendents beginning with Joseph’s parents Johann Schuver and Magdalena Mueller.

I have completed pedigree ancestry books for both Joseph Schuver and Eleanore Oberbroeckling.

This section will include information on my wife’s grandfather, Harold Hugo Wessel (1902-1954) going back to his grandfather Bernard Henry Wessel (1838-1894) who immigrated with his mother Anna Catherina Harbecken (1807-1886) and brother Henry Herman Wessel (1833-1914) around 1858 from the Hanover area of Germany to Delaware County Iowa.  Also this will include Harold’s mother, Emma Minna Brockmeyer (1879-1961), and the Brockmeyer family line. I hope to include descendant information for the two Wessel brothers.

I have a completed pedigree ancestry book for Harold Wessel.

This section will include information on my wife’s grandmother, Helen Marie Underhill (1906-1997), including:

Harry Arnold Underhill (1870-1956)  and the Underhill line back from Sanborn in O’Brien County, Iowa, to Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, to New York and Vermont, and leading to the mid 1600’s and Captain John Underhill, who had a role in early American history during King Phillip’s war.  One of the Underhill ancestors, my wife’s 12th great grandfather, was William Brewster (1566-1644) who served as the Elder and spiritual leader of the original pilgrim party on the Mayflower.

Elizabeth Austin Biggs (1874-1951) including the Biggs line back to Berea Ohio and Ireland and the Griffiths from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio.