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John Van Essen (#47136297)
 member for 6 years, 3 months, 4 days
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Bio and Links
Bio Photo I've been retired since 1996 and doing my family genealogy since 1997. See the Genealogy link on my home page, below, for all you'd ever want to know about my ancestors.

I'm a native of Brainerd, MN, and spend the warmer six months of the year in the Brainerd Lakes area.

I am the webmaster for the Evergreen Cemetery Association of Brainerd, MN, which operates Evergreen cemetery in Brainerd and Memorial Gardens cemetery north of Brainerd. The Association website (see either of the above two links) has a "Directory of the Dead" which lists all known burials in both cemeteries.

Evergreen is a special place for me. I have thirteen direct ancestors buried there, going back to my Swedish 3rd-great-grandmother, Christina Petersdotter Ryden, who came to Brainerd from Sweden in 1877 to be with her daughter's family and who died here in 1883.

The following memorials have transcriptions of interesting stories with lots of names about the early days (pre-1900) of Brainerd:

Nick Heller (Founding of Old-Timers Club)
C. D. Johnson (Brainerd 50th anniv. speech)
Werner Hemstead ("As I Remember")
Judge George Holland (His Generous Will)


I have been a photo request volunteer for Evergreen since 2010. Any photograph of a grave or monument that I have uploaded can be used for private use. For public use, permission is hereby granted provided credit is given - something like "Photo taken by John Van Essen, Find-a-Grave photo volunteer".

If you find that a photo taken by me or someone else is of poor quality (dirty marker or bad lighting), feel free to submit a photo request with an info note describing the problem to be remedied.

The man who feels no sentiment of veneration for the memory of his forefathers; who has no natural regard for his ancestors of his kindred; is himself unworthy of kindred regard or remembrance. Daniel Webster

It isn't the date on either end that counts
But how they used their dash
For that dash between the dates
Represents the time they spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved them know
What that little line is worth

- On the headstone for William Elliott Dudley

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Messages left for John Van Essen (315)[Leave Message]
Janet Reasoner
RE: Frederick Lasher photo request
Thank you very much for your photo of Frederick Lasher. I appreciate what you do and hope it isn't too much trouble to photograph his wife and son. I removed the cemetery picture so you could add the bench.

For the last few years I have been working on adding the Lasher family to Find A Grave. This year I have started requesting photo's and so far it has resulted in finding many missing and unknown spouses and children. I also agree with you about missing people with the note, but part of the problem is that Find A Grave only allows you 20 photo requests a week. So this winter I plan to go through my requests and add the spouses.
Added by Janet Reasoner on Sep 05, 2015 7:22 AM
Karen Lively
Peterson saga
Hey John,

I met you at the last Genealogy meeting. Thank you for giving the update on Evergreen Cemetery. Just for the heck of it, I looked up a great, great uncle there and lo & behold, there was a link to his mother - my 2X great grandmother who we had no idea was even in the US. My mother was totally surprised. Through that site, we now have contact with cousins in Oregon who may help us to unravel a suspected "scandal". Thanks again.

Karen Lively
Added by Karen Lively on Aug 30, 2015 8:30 PM
Brainerd death/burial
Hey I was refered to you by Tim Bongs, and I was wondering if you know where Charles Wilson (8/1876-1/7/1910) is buried at, he died in Brainerd, MN, by the way, and he was my 2nd cousin 3x removed's wife's first husband.

Thank you,
Dustin Schrull
Added by Dstmnstr on Aug 30, 2015 8:11 AM
W. Loy Frisk Simmons
Albert Miller
Thank you so very much for the photo of his stone!
Added by W. Loy Frisk Simmons on Aug 28, 2015 4:58 PM
Mary A. Cleland Dixon
John, thank you so much for the great shot of Mary's headstone. Much appreciated!
Added by alphavisions on Aug 28, 2015 2:24 PM
Gendron, Bahma, Aubin photos
So MANY thanks for the photos of their headstones; I sincerely appreciate your help!

Added by Jared on Aug 28, 2015 5:13 AM
Marlene Forsman B.
Edwin LeMire
Thank you for taking the photo of Edwin/Edward Lemire's gravesite. I and the rest of the family appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Added by Marlene Forsman B. on Aug 27, 2015 2:55 PM
Jessica Adza
Thank you again!
Thank you so much again, John, for taking more photos of my family!! For the recent photos for Lydia Gildart - - it's greatly appreciated!! :)
Added by Jessica Adza on Aug 20, 2015 7:36 AM
A. Nelson
Thanks for the photos, John, hope the mosquitos weren't too bad!
Added by A. Nelson on Aug 18, 2015 3:45 PM
Mattason Headstones
Thank you very much for responding and taking the pictures of Carrie Fabriz Mattason and her husband Levi Mattason.
It had to be a little difficult since his headstone had Barney on it. I didn't know that much about them, but in all the info I had I nevr found a reference to Barney.
Carrie was the sister of my great grandfather, William Charles Rudolph Fabriz.
Again thank you very much.
Caryn Fabriz Holdburg
Added by Caryn on Aug 18, 2015 7:24 AM
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