Same Person Two Names

This week 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic is the “same name“.  When I first started genealogy back in 1979, I started with my parents and grandparents and asked them a lot of questions.  My father’s name was George, and his father’s name was George, and I was told that his father’s name was George.  Not much was know about my great-grandfather George Manfroid. In the early 1990’s I visited a Family History Center and found a man named Isidor Manfroid that was born in Germany in May 1855.  I didn’t think much about it and kept searching for a George.  Back then you inserted disks into the computer, there was no Internet yet for public use.  Below is a printout from that time period.  I even eventually wrote a note on it that said, “Wondering if this is George.  George born May 1856 in Germany according to the 1900 census.”

Manfroid Isidor (IGI)

Also on the 1900 census, he named one son Isidor and one Felix.  The Isidor in this IGI  printout’s father’s name was Felix Joseph Manfroid.  Manfroid is an uncommon name so there was not many in the index or in the phone books of Germany, France, Belgium and the United States.    As it turned out, finding my great-grandfather Isidor George Manfroid was a search that took me years to solve.  It seemed that sometimes he used Isidor and sometimes he used George, but not together.  Also, my father knew next to nothing about his grandfather.  He knew his name was George, but he didn’t remember him except that he thought he went to his funeral when he was 3 or 4 years old.  My father thought he was born in Germany, and that his grandparents had divorced.  It was with these skimpy facts that I was finally able to find my Great Grandfather. For years I didn’t know if Isidor and George was the same person. I was pretty sure, but could not prove it until I found his marriage record to my great-grandmother where he is listed as G. Isidor Manfroid.

Here is the story of Isidor George Manfroid. or George Isidor Manfroid

Isidor (George) was born on May 22, 1855 in Siegburg, Rhineland, Preussen to Felix Joseph Manfroid and Elisabeth Kelterbach.[1]  Isidor George Manfroid left Germany around 1877 and came to the United States.[2]  George’s occupation was an iron molder.[3] I do not know how George found his job in iron molding, or why he came to the U.S., but  he may have come due to economic conditions in Germany, or to escape being conscripted in the German military service.[4]

It seems that sometimes my great-grandfather went by George, and sometimes by Isidor.  In 1885 Isidor married Sophie Ahrens in Chicago, Illinois.[5]  In 1886 Sophie died.[6]  In 1889 George appears to be living in Cleveland, Ohio.[7]  Cleveland was the home to Mary Fiderius, her parents, and bothers, and sisters.[8]  Mary was the first child born to Peter Fiderius and Christina Oberdoester on July 1, 1870 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.[9]  By 1878 Mary and her family were living in Cleveland, Ohio[10].  In 1889 her father, Peter, worked for the Cleveland Malleable Iron Company as a general labor.[11]  The Cleveland Iron Malleable Company was located at Platt Avenue and East 79th Street[12].  In 1890 George is listed as living on Platt Avenue and his occupation is listed as molder.[13]  I believe that he probably worked for Cleveland Malleable Iron Company too.  It is presumed that George and Mary met because they lived near each other, or her father knew George through work.  George was 14 years older than Mary, and I wonder how Mary’s parents felt about the age difference.  I don’t know George’s religion, but Mary was Catholic.[14] George and Mary were married in 1889 in Cleveland, Ohio,[15] but by December they were living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where their first child, Laura was born.[16]  It appears that Laura did not live long.  She does not appear in the 1900 census.[17]   Around 1892 they moved to Toledo, Ohio, and their son, also named George, was born January 1, 1892 in Toledo.[18]  In 1894 they are back in Cleveland,[19] in 1898 they moved back to Toledo,[20] and in 1900 they move to Chicago.[21] During the 1890’s fthree more children, Christina, Felix Philip, and Isidor are born.[22]  The son Isidor only lived to be two and half years old.[23]   During this time, it is presumed that George probably worked for Cleveland Malleable since they also had plants in Toledo, and Chicago.[24]  It is possible of course that he worked for another company that made iron.  After 1903 they moved again out of Chicago,[25] and I believe they may have moved to one of the Chicago suburbs. In 1901 they had another son, Arthur Anton[26] and another son Theodore was born in 1904.[27]

Sometime between 1904 and 1910 George and Mary divorced.  The exact date and reason for the divorce are not known at this time.  I believe it to be this time period because I assume they were together when the last child was born, but by 1910 the two youngest sons are not living with their mother.  Arthur is in St. Mary’s Training School in Wheeling, Illinois,[28] and Theodore is in St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum (orphanage) in Chicago.[29]  At that time their were no safety nets for single mothers, so I think she temporarily sent them to these places because she could not take care of them. I did not find either George or Mary on the 1910 census. Considering the time and Mary’s religion the only reason for divorce was the man deserting his family.  I do not know if this is the reason for the divorce, it can only be assumed.  I have been unable to find a divorce document to date.

I believe after the divorce, George moved back to Cleveland and became a barber.[30]  He lived there for a while and returned to Maywood, Illinois where he died alone and poor in January 1924.[31]  He died at Cook County Hospital in Chicago of Pancreatic Cancer.[32]  He is buried in a pauper’s grave[33] at Waldheim Cemetery (now Forest Home Cemetery) in Forest Park, Illinois.[34]

I do not know George’s personality, but knowing my father’s and Grandfather’s personality, I picture George as an introvert, and hard-working, but always poor and maybe not very lucky in life.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[1] Birth Record for Isidor Manfroid, 23 May 1855, Siegburg, Rheinland, Pruessen; Duetschland Geburten und Taufen 1558 – 1898, Record 10442, GS Film 1057304.

[2] 1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69

[3] Ibid.

[4] Energy of a Nation:  Immigration Resources, a project of the advocates for human rights;

[5] Marriage License & Certificate for Isidor Manfroid and Sophie Ahrens 29 August 1885; State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago, Certificate # 94849.

[6]Illinois, Marriage and Death Index, 1883 – 1889. Sophia Manfroid 3 August 1886; Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Index, 1883 – 1889.

[7] Cleveland City Directory 1889 – 1890; listing for George Manfroid, 29 Carr; Occupation: Molder.

[8] Cleveland City Directory 1878, 1979, 1880, 1881, 1882,1882, 1884, 1885, 1886,1887, 1889 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908-  1908; listing for Peter Fiderius living in Cleveland, Ohio.

[9] Told to Author’s mother by Mary Fiderius Manfroid Beischer in 1947 and recorded in Author’s baby book.  In Author’s possession at 2916 Martin Drive, Spring Grove, IL.  60081

[10] Cleveland City Directory 1878 –  1908; listing for Peter Fiderius, Leonard Fiderius, Christina Fiderius & Joseph Fiderius

[11] Cleveland City Directory 1889 – Listing for Peter Fiderius, Address: Cleveland Malleable Iron Company.

[12] William Ganson Rose, Cleveland; The Making of a City  (Cleveland & New York: World Publishing Company, 1950), p. 351.

[13] Cleveland City Directory 1890 -01 – Listing for George I. Manfroid, Address: 31 Platt, Occupation: Molder.

[14] Told to Author and Author’s Mother by Mary Fiderius Manfroid Biescher between 1950 – 1960.

[15] Marriage record for G. Isidor Manfroid and Mary Fiderius, State of Ohio, CuyahogaCounty, SS., 5 February 1889.

[16] “Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709 – 1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familyserch/pal:/mm9.1.1/V2JV-3f4: Laura Manfroid, 13 December 1889.

[17] 1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69

[18] Illinois State Board of Health Return of Marriage to County Clerk (DuPageCounty) for George Manfroid (son of G. Isidor Manfroid) and Helen Desens, 22 March 1919.  Birth place of George Manfroid listed at Toledo, Ohio.

[19] Cleveland City Directories 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897 list George Manfroid living at 235 Herald, Cleveland, Ohio.

[20] Toledo City Directories 1898, 1899, 1900 listed George Manfroid as living at 259 Caldonia and 255 Woodford, Toledo, Ohio.

[21].1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Department of Health: City of Chicago: Bureau of Vital Statistics: Undertakers Report of Death for Isidor Manfroid (Son of G. Isidor Manfroid) 12247, 22 March 1901.

[24] William Ganson Rose, Cleveland; The Making of a City  (Cleveland & New York: World Publishing Company, 1950), p. 352.

[25] Chicago City Directories 1901, 1902, 1903 listed George Manfroid as living at 1313 N. 42nd Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

[26] Certificate of Birth for Arthur Anton Manfroid, 5 January 1901, State of Illinois , Department of Public Health, Division of vital Statistics registered no 72637, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

[27]  Texas, Deaths, 1977 – 1986 index and images, FamilySearch (, 1978 Vol 140, Sep, Certificates69501-70000,  Harris County, Image 149 of 579 for Theodore Manfroid 8 August 1978

[28] 1910 United States Census, Wheeling, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624-241, Page 21B, Enumeration District 0132; FHL microfilm 1374254.

[29] 1910 United States Census, Chicago, Ward 21, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624-264. Page 168, Enumeration District 0923; FHL microfilm 13742777.

[30]ClevelandCity Directory 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912.

[31] Death Certificate for George Manfroid, 22 January 1924. State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago; Registration  no. 2041.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Forest Home Cemetery Records, 863 South Des Plaines Avenue, Forest Park, Illinois; Lot 1736, Section IH.  Date of burial: 24 January 1924, 68 years 8 months, 10 days.  No Marker.  Lot owned by State of Illinois.

[34] Ibid.


Father’s Day: A Tribute to My Dad

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My Dad and me

My Dad, George Philip Manfroid, Jr. was born to George Manfroid and Helen Desens on 26 October 1919 in Forest Park, Illinois.  Dad grew up in Forest Park and Elmhurst, Illinois.  He went to York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois.  He had a brother, Donald, 14 years younger than him.  He grew up during the depression and that made a great impression on him.  I remember the stories that my dad told me about the depression.  When I hear about the recent recession compared to the great depression on TV, I cringe because the recent recession is nothing like what my father described to me.  His father lost his business, then they lost their house, and they ate bananas for Sunday dinner.  There were no safety nets like there are today for the unemployed.  Because this made such an impact on my Father he decided that his children would not go without.  He went without lunch for weeks and saved his lunch money to buy me a doll for Christmas.  He made me a doll house with a hand saw (he didn’t have power tools at the time).   He gave me everything he possibly could.  Not only did he give me material things, he gave me his time, attention, advice, and love.  He gave me history lessons at the dinner table.  He loved history, and I learned about history and current events through dinner time discussions.  He had a great sense of humor.  Whenever my brother or I asked if he would buy us the latest toy or gadget, he would say, “Yes on the 42nd of July.”  Just in case they ever changed the calendar the 42nd had to land on the second Tuesday of the week.  In other words we were never going to get it.  He loved  gardening and painting the house.  He was always painting inside or outside.  He loved his baseball and the Cubs.   He was always there for me whenever I needed him.  If I just need to talk or if I needed a shoulder to cry on, he was there.  I loved him very much and I have no doubt about his love for me. 

img075 (2)

Dad walking me down the aisle

When I got married, he walked me down the aisle and gave me away.  He told my husband on our wedding day that if he (my husband) ever did anything to hurt me, he would have to answer to him (my father).  After we were married for several years, my father told some friends of ours that when their daughters grew up he hoped they found someone like my husband.  I picked a good man because I had a good father. 

My Dad worked hard and sometimes worked two jobs to make ends meet.  When I was born my dad was a bus driver.  He drove a bus for a suburban bus company, Leyden Motor Coach.  At first he worked nights and holidays, but as he gained seniority, he was able to work mostly days and had the major holidays off.  Sometimes he would take a charter on his day off.  He especially liked the ones to the ball games.  He would get off work from the bus company about 2:30pm, and go to his second job driving a mini bus for a nursery school, Jack and Jill, in Villa Park, Illinois.   He was with the bus company for 17 years when the company closed down.  My Dad then got a job with Burney Brothers Bakery driving a delivery truck.  He delivered to Jewel grocery stores in Chicago.   He also took overtime delivering wedding cakes on Saturdays.  After 17 years with Burney Brothers, they closed down too.  At 59 years old my father was without a job, no pension, and not old enough for Social Security.  He found a job doing maintenance work at the Wheaton Park District.  He worked there for the next five years.

We lived in an Apartment until 1953 when my parents bought their first house in Lombard (Villa Park was across the street).   We lived in that house until 1963 when they bought another house in Villa Park.   In 1968 they moved to a smaller house in Carol Stream, Illinois due to my father’s health issues.  My father lived in the Carol Stream home until his death.

In 1967, my dad was diagnosed with throat cancer.  He was given radiation treatments for six weeks.  The tumor was in his voice box, and he couldn’t talk very well.  The radiation shrank the tumor so he did get his voice back.  They wanted to remove the voice box to get rid of the cancer altogether, but my father said he would rather die than to be without his voice.  He lived 17 more years without a recurrence.  In late February or early March of 1984, we noticed my dad had slowed down.  He said he wasn’t feeling good, and my mother finally convinced him to see a doctor.  He went to the doctor and was sent him for some tests.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer. A few days later my dad was admitted to the hospital.  I went to see him and he had to cough a lot.  It was deep cough and it seemed that when he coughed he could not get his breath.  It was hard to watch.  My last visit with my father, I noticed he kept staring at me.  I thought to myself that he is studying me in case this is the last time he sees me.  When it was time to go, I said “Good-bye I hope you get better soon.”  He said, “Me too.”  We were holding hands and he did not want to let go and neither did I.  I planned to go back every day, but the next day I came down with a terrible cold that settled in my chest.  I did not go to visit him because I was afraid of giving him my cold.  I thought the last thing he needs is a cold.   The next day my mom called me to say that the doctor called her and told her to get to the hospital he was dying.  I couldn’t go because I had two small children at home.  My mother and brother were there with him at the end. My mom said he kept pulling the tubes out of his arms.  So I think he was ready to die. 

My dad passed away from Cancer on March 15, 1984 at 64 years, 4 months, and 18 days.  I wish I was there with my Dad at the end; however it is a comfort to know that my mother and brother were there for him.  He is loved and dearly missed by his children, grandchildren, family, and friends.  Happy Father’s Day to a great Dad!  If I could tell him one thing it would be this, “Dad, the Cubs finally did it and won the World Series in 2016!” 

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  topic this week Father’s Day

Copyright©2016 Gail Grunst

Going to the Chapel

Gloria and Lou

Lou and Gloria Schultz

“Going to the chapel” is this weeks topic for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this topic was the song  Going to the chapelIf you are too young to remember this song click the link to hear it.  Of course it’s about getting married and June is a wedding month.  Then I scanned my brain trying to think of what ancestor or family wedding I could write about.   I decided to write about, Louis Schultz, my father’s cousin and my Godfather.

lou and gloria's wedding (2)

I’m posting the original newspaper announcement of the wedding, and I transcribed it below because it is hard to read.

Mr. and  Mrs Louis Carl Schultz are now receiving their friends in their new home at 7425 Dixon (Forest Park, IL) after a brief sojourn in Oak Park (IL) following their return the end of April from a wedding journey through the Smokey Mountains, Tennessee, and North Carolina. 

The young couple were united in marriage on Sunday afternoon, April 18 (1948), at St John’s Lutheran Church (Forest Park, IL) with Dr. J. W. Behnkin, President of the Missouri Synod officiating at the services. 

The bride is the former Gloria Magdalene Zuttermeister, daughter of Mr. & Mrs Martin C. Zuttermeister of 216 Des Plaines (Forest Park, IL).  Her husband is the son of Louis Schultz of 416 Marengo (Forest Park, IL).

For her wedding the bride chose a gown of white slipper satin, the peplum and long train falling over the the double net skirt.  The sweetheart neckline was edged with crystal beads, and the pointed sleeves buttoned from wrist to elbow. A tiara of seed pearls held the tulle veil bordered by Chantilly lace, and she carried a bouquet of white gladiolas centered with purple tipped white orchid.  A mother of pearl cross set with rhinestones and set on a white gold chain was her only adornment.

Mrs Paul Mullenbruck, gowned in turquoise marquisette ruffles edging puffed sleeves and neckline served as her matron of honor.  Salmon tinted daisies formed her bouquet and she wore a pearl  necklace.

Dorothy Igler, gowned in orchid marquisette,  and Annette and Lois Zuttermeister attired in lime green and peach maquisettte gowns fashioned with ruffled  neckline and sleeves were the bridesmaids.  Each wore a necklace of pearls and carried a bouquet of white daisies.  Barbara Jean Meentemeyer, the flower girl, was in yellow marquisette, her rose-petal filled white basket in cool contrast. 

The bride’s mother chose a gown of orchid marquisette, styled with full skirt, tiny puffed sleeves and sweetheart necklace.  Her corsage soft pink carnations.

Paul Mullenbruck of Blue Island (IL) served the groom as best man.  Ushers were Joe Ulrich, Jr. of Chicago, Clarence Hingst, and Bill Lemn of Forest Park (IL).

Henry Desens acted as master of ceremonies at the reception attended by some 100 guests held at Eagles Hall, gay with white wedding bells and streamers.  Richard Ramel and John Herold furnished music for the entertainment of the guests.

The bride who, like her husband, is graduate of St. John’s grade and Proviso high schools was entertained before her wedding with showers given by Mrs. Walter Zuttermeister and by Dorothy Igler and former classmates.”[1]

I love the description of the dresses, jewelry, and flowers.  This article is also full of genealogical information. 

Lou was my father’s 1st cousin and my 1st cousin once removed.  Lou was not only my father’s cousin; he was also my Godfather.  My parents visit with Lou and Gloria regularly.  After my parents passed away, I still saw Lou and Gloria a few times a year.  When they camped at the state park near our home, they would stop over and see us.  Sometimes we visited them at their campsite and played cards or board games.  Lou had a good memory and gave me a lot of information on the Desens family.    

Lou and Gloria lived in Forest Park, Hillside, Bloomingdale, and Bartlett, Illinois.[2]  They never had any children.[3]  They loved square dancing, camping and golfing.[4]  Lou studied accounting; however he gave it up due to poor eyesight.[5]  He was a Milk Man for many years, delivering milk to homes.[6]  After that became obsolete, he drove a limo.[7] Gloria died on 12 July 1994,[8] and Lou died on 22 January 2009[9]

I miss Lou and Gloria very much.  Lou was one lucky guy because Gloria was a wonderful woman.  She was so nice and kind-hearted, and I loved her very much!

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[1] Forest Park, Illinois, Forest Park Review, Thursday, June 24, 1948, Pg. 8.

[2] Personal knowledge of Author, Abigail Grunst, 2916 Martin Drive, Spring Grove, IL

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Number: 319-24-7427; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: Before U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[9] U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

They Came from Faraway Places

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Old German Homestead

All my ancestors came to United States in the 1800’s from faraway places.  They came from Germany, France, Belgium, Scotland, England, and Canada.  The first ones to come to the United States came in 1834 from Scotland, but didn’t stay in the US.  They went to Canada and most stayed there except for my Great-Great Grandmother (born in Canada), came to US in 1865.  Her husband came to the US in 1851 from England.  Both the ancestors from Scotland and England came on sailing ships which meant the average trip took 43 days.  There was usually a lack of food, sea sickness, lack of privacy, and the spreading of illnesses.  Once here they had to travel to their final destinations.

In the case of the Scottish Ancestors, they made their way to Nassagaweya, Halton, Ontario.  They arrived in New York on August 12, 1834 so I assume they were traveling to Canada in good weather.  I also assume they traveled by wagon and possibly a boat to cross one of the great lakes.  They had to travel through wilderness to get to Nassagaweya.  In fact, Nassagaweya was the wilderness back in 1834.

The English Ancestors that came here in 1851 came on a sailing ship too.  Steamships were just starting to be used in the 1850’s.  Their ocean voyage experience was probably much the same as the Scottish ancestors. Again, once here they had to travel to their final destinations.  Some settle in Syracuse, New York, but my direct ancestor settled in Ottawa, Illinois.  I don’t know what brought him to Ottawa other than he had a step-brother who owned a farm near Ottawa.  By 1850 there were trains so he might have taken a train at least some of the way to Ottawa, Illinois, and then maybe by wagon, carriage, or boat.  In the 1850’s he would be traveling though wilderness too.  In fact there were Indian wars going on around that time too.

The ancestors from Belgium, France and Germany came in the 1870’s and 1880’s by steam ships so their journeys were shorter 10 to 14 days.  Still it was quite an adventure even then.

Not only do you have to think about the ocean voyage and their trip though the United States or Canada, but in their home country they had to travel to get to the port of departure.  Most did not live near port city.

I admire the courage to travel to a strange country and to leave their home country.  What was the chance they would ever go back to see their families?  Probably never!  Today, France, Belgium, Germany, Scotland, and England don’t seem so faraway because of air travel.  I think we should honor those ancestors who were brave enough to leave their homeland, families, friends, and their way of life behind for a new life in a strange land.

I posted this a couple of years ago and thought is was appropriate for this weeks topic for  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  “so far away”.

Copyright © Gail Grunst

Two Grandfather’s, Two different War Experiences.

Recently I’ve been hearing that Memorial Day is only to honor those who served and died in a war.  Our family is very lucky that no one has died in a war.  Both my grandfather’s served in WWI.  My husband’s brothers served during WWII and my husband served during the Vietnam War, but never was sent to Vietnam.  My Uncle served during the Korean War, but was never sent to Korea.  So you can see we have been fortunate not to lose anyone.  However, I would still like to honor those who served today even though they were not killed in the line duty.  All now except my husband, have passed on.  Thanks to all of you for serving.

Both my grandfather’s served during WWI.  One stayed here in the United States, the other one was sent to France.  I wrote about my grandfather who was sent to France a couple of years ago on this blog.  I am reprinting it today along with my other grandfather’s story too.  Both are not the most exciting stories, but I am still proud of both of them for serving.  When any one enlists or is drafted, they don’t know what the future holds.  They both went without complaint and served their country during war time, not knowing if they would return.  That in it’s self must be scary.  So here are their stories.

Grandpa Kaiser

Grandpa Kaiser Military 2

My Grandpa Kaiser was in the Army during WWI; however he never left the United States.  Even though I knew Grandpa well, I do not know much about his military service.  I heard that he spent most of his time in Georgia.  I have lots of pictures he took during this time.  I have never sent for his military papers.  I was looking to see if I had his enlistment or discharge papers, but all I could find was an “Order of Induction into the Military Service of the United States”.  It doesn’t give much information.  It just says to report to the local board at 1950 Lawrence Ave at 10 AM of the 31st day of August 1918.[1]  By this time the war was almost over.   I did find a couple of cards with his papers.  One is a “Notice of Classification” dated 7/11/1918.  His classification was an “I-A”.[2]

I also found another card “Army Training School Certificate”[3].

The information on the card is as follows:

School: South Div. War Training

Location: 26th and Wabash Ave.

Name: Kaiser, Fredrick Rudolph.

Permanent Address:  233 Winnemac Ave., Chicago, Illinois.

Course: Auto Mechanic

Started Date:  9/1/1918

Finished Date:10/31/1918.

Trade Rating in School Course

A= Apprentice  J=Journeyman   E=Expert

Main:  Auto Mechanic Rating: A

Eng. Assem: A

Auto Elec: A

General Ratings by Three or More Instructors

5=Highest   4=High   3= Middle   2=Low  1=Lowest

Mechanical Ability:  4   3   3

Speed:                         3   3   3

Resourcefulness:       3   4   4

Personal Qualities    4   5   5

I had wondered why Grandpa entered the war so late.  Then I learned that the first registration was June 5, 1917 for men ages 21 – 31.[4]  Grandpa missed having to register by 3 months.  He turned 21 the following September.[5]  The second registration was June 5, 1918 for those men who turned 21 after June 5, 1917.[6]  This is when Grandpa registered.  His WWI draft card is dated June 5, 1918.[7]  This answered my question as to why he was drafted so late.

His draft card said he was working for the Texas Company (Texaco).[8]  Grandpa went back to work at Texaco after leaving the service, and he continued to work for them until 1961 when he retired with 46 years of service.[9]  I wish I knew more about his military service, sometime I will have to send for his records.  In the mean time, I’m proud he served in what ever capacity.  During both of the wars he was teased about his name Kaiser.  So on this Memorial Day, thank you Grandpa for serving our county.

[1]  Order of Induction into Military Service of the United States for Frederick R. Kaiser, Order Number 152, Serial Number 146.  Dated August 31, 1919.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[2] Notice of Classification for F. R. Kaiser, Order No. 152, Serial No. 146,  Dated July 11, 1918.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[3] War Department—Army Training School Certificate for Frederick R. Kaiser.  South Div. War Training, 26th and Wabash Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author

[4] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background.

[5] Baptism Certificate for Friedrick Rudolf Kaiser, baptized June 21, 1899, born September 12, 1896, Ravenswood Evangelical Church, Pensacola and Hoynes Avenues, Chicago, IL; Registry Entry #485.

[6] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background.

[7]“United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, FamilySearch ( .  Fredrick Rudolph Kaiser, 1917- 1918.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Certificate of Retirement from Active Duty with Texaco Inc. for Fred R. Kaiser, 1961 after 46 Years of Loyal Service. Signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Augustus C. Long.

Grandpa Manfroid

My grandfather, George Manfroid, served in France during WWI.  He died when I was eight years old so I never heard about his war experience in France.  All my father ever said was that his father was in France during WWI.  That was it the end of the story.  I did not think much about it until one day when I was reading his enlistment and discharge papers.  I was going to use these papers for a class that I was teaching.  I wanted to show an example of things that you might find in your possession or in the possession of a relative, and how they can be used to help you trace your ancestors.  I had read these papers before but all I really cared about back then was where he was born, date of birth, etc.  But since I knew all that I took a closer look and thought about what they said.  He was inducted on September 19, 1917 in Maywood, Illinois.  His vocation was a millwright, he was 25 years old, blue eyes, light complexion, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and single.  His character was excellent, his service honest and faithful.  He was part of the A.E.F. France, received no wounds, and was entitled to wear the Blue Service Chevron.  He was at Camp Grant, Illinois when discharged on January 19, 1919.[1] [2]

After studying the papers, I was curious as to what A.E.F. stood for and why he received the Blue Service Chevron.   I look up the A.E.F. and found it stood for American Expeditionary Forces,[3] and the Blue Service Chevron was given to soldiers who served overseas less than six months[4]  I Googled my grandfather’s name and found his name in a book titled The Official History of the Eighty-Sixth Division.  He is listed as serving in 311th Trench Mortar Battery.  According to the book he left New York Harbor on September 17, 1918 aboard the Lapland for France.  He spent his time in Vitrey and Chauvirey-le-Chatel.  The 86th division was to be sent to the Lorraine Front on November 14, 1918 with other American Divisions and thirty French Divisions to capture the Metz.  The 86th was to participate in what the supreme war council had planned as the Allies’ mightiest endeavor of the war.  But on November 11, 1918 came the news of the signing of the Armistice.  He returned to the United States on January 9, 1919 aboard the Georgia.[5]

The men prepared for a year to battle on front lines and for some this was a disappointment. I don’t know my grandfather’s feelings because nothing was ever said.  I think about the part fate played here.  If he fought and was killed, I would not be here.  We take for granted our lives and the lives of our ancestors.  But one little twist of fate could change everything.  Even though he never fought on the front lines, I am still proud that he served his country honorably and faithfully during this time.  Thank you Grandpa for your service to this country!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic is Military

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[1] Enlistment Record for George Manfroid, September 19, 1917, Maywood, Illinois, book 44, page 176.  In possession of author.

[2] Honorable Discharge from the United States Army for George Manfroid, January 19, 1919, Camp Grant, Illinois. Book 44, Page 175.  In possession of author.

[5] Little, John G., The Official History of the Eighty-Six Division (Chicago, Illinois, States Publication Society, 1921).

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

Great-Grandma’s German Books

German was the predominate language spoken by my most of my ancestors.  My grandfather, Fred Kaiser, was born in Chicago, Illinois, however his parents were new immigrants when he was born, and they spoke only German in their home.  My grandfather did not learn English until he went to school.  He often talked about how he was behind in school because he did not know English.  He eventually caught up, but it sure made an impression on him.  I have a couple of books that belonged to his mother, Wilhelmina Kaiser nee Springer, that are written in German.  They are a Gesangbuch fur die Evang. Luth. Kirche[1] (hymnal).  It has her first initial and last name on the front cover (see below). 

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Another book from her is a small book of the New Testament[2] in German.  It was published in 1888 the year she emigrated from Germany, but I don’t know if she brought it with her or not.  She did write in it.  On the one page she wrote: “Mrs Wilhelmina Kaiser geborn Springer Dinkelsburl Bayern born 17 December 1869.  Father Karl Mother Margaret Springer.  October 31 1911.”  On the next page she wrote in German “Immigrating to America in July 1888 and arrived 3 August”  Mina Springer Dinkelsburl.” (see below). 

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Some of the words I cannot read.  If anyone reading this post can read it, I would appreciate your input. 

It’s amazing to me that these books have survived over 100 years, and that I have something written in my great-grandmother’s handwriting.  In her own little way, she was trying to let future generations know who she was, where she came from, who her parents were, and when she came to America.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  topic is Language.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


[1] Philadelpia:  Lutheran Publication Society, Gesangbuch fur die evangelish lutherische kirche.  For sale by German Literary Board, Burlington, Iowa.  Copyright 1902 by the by the Hymnal Book Publishing Committee of the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States.

[2] New York: Americansche Bibel-Gesellschaft, Gegrunbet im Jabre 1816, 1888, New Testament.

Mother’s Day 1987



I originally posted this five years ago and I am posting it again today.  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic is Mother.  I have already written about most of the mothers in my family tree.  This is about my own Mother and Mother’s Day 1987.

On Saturday, May 9, 1987, I was in Phoenix, Arizona sitting at the kitchen table discussing with my Uncle and Brother what we were going to next when the doorbell rang, and  I answered  the door.  There stood a man smiling at me with a floral arrangement.  It was the florist delivering flowers for my mother.  I had ordered them the previous Monday for Mother’s day.  I took them to the kitchen with tears running down my cheeks and asked my Uncle and Brother, “What am I going to do with these?”  You see, my mother had just passed away an hour before.  My Uncle said, “Well, you can enjoy them, you are a Mother.”

It had been a horrible three days, and I knew there were more horrible days ahead.  It was funny how fast life could change in less than a week.  Last Monday, I ordered the flowers never knowing my Mom would never see them.  On Wednesday, it was a beautiful day in Illinois.  I was trying to start a home based business.  I was out delivering flyers for my business.  I was enjoying being outside on such a beautiful day and feeling good and excited about my business venture.  That evening, my husband, kids, and I went out to dinner.  When we came home there was a phone message from my brother.  He said, “When you get this message call me.”  I could tell by his voice that something was wrong.  I returned his call and he told me that my mother had collapsed that afternoon, and it was serious.  I didn’t know how serious.  What exactly did he mean by serious.  Serious like she will die, or it’s serious and she has a chance.  I didn’t want to ask.  So I said, “Do you think, I should come down there?”  He said, “Yes please!”  At that point I knew it was bad.  I got off the phone and tried to tell my husband, but the words were hard to get out.  My kids were little.  How do I tell them about their Grandmother?  She had just moved to Phoenix the previous year.  Until she moved, she lived nearby and my kids spent a lot of time at Grandma’s and were very close to her.  I went outside and sat on the front steps, I felt like I was dreaming.  My husband came out and sat next to me.  We talked and cried. There was a lot to be done, and I knew I would not sleep.  I thought about the day she moved.  We were at her house the night before.  I didn’t want her to go.  I sat in her house wishing this night would last forever.  I didn’t want to go home.  I now knew what a broken heart felt like.  I felt like my heart was breaking.  I even thought I might have a heart attack.  I never showed it, and I never said anything to her about it.  I don’t remember the reason I did not go over there the next day when she left for Phoenix.  At first we called each other all the time, but the phone calls were expensive and neither of us had a lot of money.  So we had to cut down on our phone calls.  We went down to visit her for two weeks that summer and she came up for Christmas.  She went back after New Year’s and my oldest son’s birthday.  When it was time for her to board the plane, she started to cry.  I thought then this is the last time I’m going to see you, and I believe she was thinking the same thing.  That was the last time, I saw her alive and well.  The last time I talked to her on the phone was Easter.  I was saving my next phone call for Mother’s Day.  I spent the rest of Wednesday night making plane reservations, washing clothes to take to Phoenix, and making plans for the kids and my husband.  I got on the plane the next morning for Phoenix.  On the plane, people are talking, laughing, and having a good time.  I listened to conversations about vacations.  I wished I was going there for a vacation, and I wished my husband was sitting next to me instead of some stranger.  All I wanted to do was cry, and I was holding it back.  I didn’t want to cry in front of strangers.  I also felt sick to my stomach.  I was hoping I really wouldn’t be sick.  It was the longest four hours of my life.  My brother and Uncle met me at the airport.  They wanted to know if I wanted to go to their house or the hospital.  I said, “Is she going to make it?”  They didn’t know, but said she had not regained consciousness and she was attached up to all kinds of machines.  I then said, “To the hospital.”  I could not believe my eyes when I saw her.  She was pale and she had all kinds of tubes attached to her, I took her hand and talked to her.  I didn’t know if she could hear me or not, but I hoped she could.  Then the doctor came in to talk to us.  He said that she had a brain aneurysm and she was brain dead.  He showed us her chart with a straight flat line.  He said, “She is being kept alive on machines. You will need to make a decision whether to take her off of the machines or not.  She is not going to get better.  If she lives, she will be a vegetable for the rest of her life.  I’ll leave you alone to discuss it.”  All three of knew what had to be done.  We didn’t want to do it, but we had too.  I remember before my mother left for Phoenix she had told me, “If anything happens to me, I do not want to be kept alive on a machine.”  I tried to make light of it because I didn’t want to talk about it.  She said, “’I’m serious.”  So I knew that this is what she would want.  When the doctor came back into the room, we told him to go ahead and remove the machines.  He said, “We will do it slowly, and wean her off the machines.  We will remove one at a time.”  We went back to the hospital later, and her breathing was harder.

Back at her house, I looked around and saw her everywhere I looked.  Her glasses lying out and things she had been in the process of doing when this happened.  I asked my brother and uncle if she complained of headaches or anything and they said, “No”.  That morning she mentioned that she felt like she had a hangover although she didn’t have anything to drink.  She went to sit outside.  The dogs started barking and looking out the window.  My brother looked out to see what they were barking at and saw her lying on the ground with lawn chair tipped over.  He went out there and tried to talk to her and she said, “Where’s my pillow?”  And that was the last thing she said.  They called 911 and she was taken to one hospital, but then air vaced to another hospital that specialized in neurology.

We went back on Friday she was still alive, and her breathing even more labored.  Some friends of my mother and uncle came by the hospital and then invited us over to their house.  It was a pleasant relief.  It helped to take my mind off of my mother dying.   They were telling stories about my mom and about life in Phoenix.  Then on Saturday morning we went to hospital again.  Her breathing now was really hard.  I thought each breath was her last.  Her chest would rise up and then nothing and then after what seemed like minutes, but probably just seconds, she would let the breath out and her chest would sink back down. And then this would repeat.  I held her hand and talked as if she could hear me.  I told her how much I loved her and how much the grandchildren loved her.  How my husband had said she was a great mother-in-law.  I told her she was a great mother and my uncle added “and sister”.  My brother said, “I guess were not going to make it to Vegas”.   My Uncle said, “Next time”.  We decided to leave, go get something to eat and come back later.  So we went to a restaurant and then back to the house.  We were only home a few minutes when the call came that she had passed.  Later that afternoon we went back to the hospital to sign papers and make arrangements for her.  We decided that she had more family and friends in Illinois so we would have her cremated in Phoenix and her ashes sent to the cemetery in Illinois.  We would have a memorial service in Illinois.  I had to get back to Illinois because my husband was taking time off of work to stay home with the kids. I made plane reservations for my brother and me to fly back to Illinois on Monday.  My Uncle came later in the week.  He could fly for free as he was retired from the airlines.  Later in the week we had the memorial service to have our final good-bye to Mom.  It was a horrible Mother’s Day that I will never forget, and I still don’t like Mother’s Day.  I don’t like celebrating it.   I felt like I didn’t have time to mourn her back then.  My brother had no family so I felt bad for him.  I tried not to let my kids see me break down.  I had made all the arrangements so I was busy.  My brother and I were now orphan’s.  My Brother, Uncle and I were the only ones left from our original family.  In the seven years preceding my mother’s death, I lost both my grandparents, and father.  My husband had lost his mother and a brother.  So we were feeling pretty lonely especially on holidays.  Recently, a friend who lost her father asked, “Does it ever get any better?”  The answer is, “sort of”.  I don’t think about it every day, but there are days when I want my mother.  I would love to be able to talk to her.  When I have had problems over the years, I wish I could ask her advice.  I have felt so alone at times.  That’s why I say it “sort of” gets better.  I have moments when I regret that I wasn’t with her at the end holding her hand.  Why did we leave her?  I don’t remember what our thinking was that day.  I feel guilty that we said remove the machines.  I think about the “what ifs”.  What if the doctor was wrong?  What if she wasn’t brain dead?  I know this is wrong to think about the “What ifs” and most of the time I think we did the right thing.  Life does go on and my brother and I often talk about our childhood memories with Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa and our Aunts and Uncles.  We have many good and wonderful memories of them all.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day so once again my thoughts are on that Mother’s Day twenty-six years ago.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you!

Side note:  Since I wrote this five years ago, both my uncle and brother have passed away.  I am now truly an orphan.  I have no one left from my family of origin.  No one left to talk about those childhood memories.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst