Letter’s from Germany to Rudolph Kaiser

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Rudolph Kaiser was born to Franz Keiser and Emily Klatt in Lobsen, Posen, Prussia on 5 April 1865.[1] Emily had twin sons Theodor Julius and Albert Gustav Keiser born 29 June 1862.[2] [3] They only lived two months and few days.  Theodor died 7 September 1862[4] and Albert followed two days later on 9 September 1862.[5]  A year later, Emilie gave birth to a baby girl, Emma Auguste Keyser, born 6 September 1863.[6]  Unfortunately, Emma only lived to be little over 3 years old.  Emma died 10 October 1866[7] when Rudolph was 18 months old.  If there were other children it is not known at this time.

Rudolph came to the United States when he was 26 years old.[8]  He boarded the Ship Lahn in Bremen and landed at Castle Garden, New York on 30 April 1891.[9]  On the same boat is an Anton Springer.[10]  Could this be a brother of Wilhelmina Springer (Rudolph’s future wife)?  So far I haven’t been able to find proof.  In March of 1896 Rudolph married Wilhelmina Springer in Aurora Illinois.[11]  At the time of their marriage both Rudolph and Wilhelmina resided in Chicago, Illinois.[12]  Rudolph’s occupation is listed as brush maker.[13]  John Einsiedel and Babette Steinhauser are witnesses.[14]  I remembered my mother referring to an Aunt Barbara who lived in Aurora and that she was her grandmother’s sister.  I thought that Babette was probably Barbara (Wilhelmina’s sister). I checked it out, and found a marriage record of a Babette Springer to Joseph Steinhauser.[15]  I think John Einsiedel is a cousin to Great-Grandpa Kaiser, but not sure.  I searched Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org and could not find a family connection.  Of course this does not mean that there isn’t one.

Wilhelmina Springer was born on 17 December 1869 to Carl Springer and Margarete Burkhardt in Dinkelsburh.[16]  She arrived in New York aboard the Ship Lahn from Bremen on 3 August 1888.[17]   In September of 1896 a son Fredrick was born to Rudolph and Wilhelmina.[18]  In 1899 another son, Hugo, is born.[19]  Rudolph and Wilhelmina resided in Chicago, Illinois at 180 Mohawk,[20] and 2333 Winnemac,[21] and 4154 Irving Ave.[22] Hugo died during the Influenza epidemic in 1919.[23] [24] In January 1901 Rudolph declared his intention to become a citizen.[25]  On the 17th of September 1906 Rudolph became a citizen of the United States of America.[26]  Wilhelmina automatically became a citizen at the same time as Rudolph because she was his wife.[27]

I have some letters that were written in German address to my great-grandfather, Rudolph.[28]  They were found in my grandparent’s house when my mother and I were cleaning it out, after both my grandparents went to a nursing home.  My mother had a neighbor who was from Germany read them.  Apparently, they were written by children of Rudolph’s that he had in Germany.  They were not transcribed word for word, but the theme of the letters is that the daughter and son want to come to America and are wondering if their father would sponsor them.  They know he has wife and children here and do not want co cause him trouble.  The boy wrote letters from the service and wondered why he never answered them.  The neighbor that read them for my mother said, “It could be a scam, that when people wanted to come to America they would do this.”  But I tend to believe these are Rudolf’s children.  For one thing the letters are dated 1910, 1914, 1918, and 1920.  That is a long time to try to scam someone.  The time line works out too. They were born 1890 or earlier.  There is a letter from the Consulate of Switzerland in Chicago, Illinois dated August 25, 1920.  The Letter states, “We have been requested to get in touch with one Mr. Rudolf Kaiser, born April 5, 1865 at Lobson, province Posen, Germany.  Kindly acknowledge receipt of this letter at your earliest convenience, and should you be identical with this gentleman, we would ask you to call at this consulate or let us know your present address.  (our office hours are from 10 – 3, Saturdays 10 to 1 o’clock).” [29] The names of the children are Gertude Pielenz and Rudolph Pielenz.  The letter from the Switzerland consulate has the name Mrs. Ida Wiesen nee Pielinz written at the bottom. So apparently the children never took their father’s last name.  It doesn’t sound like Rudolph married their mother if they did not take his last name.   I also don’t think they would contact the Switzerland consulate if this was a scam.  There were never any family stories or rumors about this.  So I do not know if my grandfather knew about it or not.  My grandmother said that Rudolph Kaiser was a kind man; however his wife was mean and treated Rudolph badly.    I thought my grandmother just didn’t like her Mother-in-law.  Now I wonder if Wilhelmina found out that he had another family in Germany, and if that is why she wasn’t very nice to Rudolph.   If this is true, why would he leave his family in Germany and never send for them or write to them?  This is what bothers me.  I would love to know the story behind this but will probably never know.

Rudolph died on 6 January 1933 of Prostate Cancer.[30] Wilhelmina died on 6 July 1953 from Chronic Myocarditis and Arteriosclerosis.[31] Both are buried at Eden’s Cemetery in Schiller Park, Illinois.[32]

Note:  The name Rudolph is spelled Rudolf or Rudolph in places.  I tried to spell it like it was spelled in documents.  I have always spelled it Rudolph when referring to him.  Kaiser was spelled three ways Keiser, Keyser, and Kaiser.  Again I tried to spell it how it is spelled in documents.  Here in America he used Kaiser and his descendants used Kaiser

Copyright © 2016 Gail Grunst

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[1] Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NDSP-9XP :, Rudolf Otto Keiser, 18 Apr 1865; citing ; FHL microfilm 245,514, 245,515, 245,517.

[2] Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NDSL-18D : Emilie Ernstine Klatt in entry for Theodor Julius Keiser, 29 Jun 1862; citing ; FHL microfilm 245,514, 245,515, 245,517.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NDSL-18Z :, Theodor Julius Keiser, 29 Jun 1862; citing ; FHL microfilm 245,514, 245,515, 245,517.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NR18-8YY : Emma Auguste Keyser, 06 Sep 1863; citing ; FHL microfilm 245,514, 245,515, 245,517.

[7] Ibid.

[8] United States Germans to America Index, 1850-1897, Database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDQD-PG6 : Rudolf Keiser, 30 Apr 1891; citing Germans to America Passenger Data file, 1850-1897, Ship Lahn, departed from Bremen & Southampton, arrived in New York, New York, New York, United States, NAID identifier 1746067, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

[9] United States Germans to America Index, 1850-1897, database,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KD7R-XWR : accessed 1 June 2016), Anton Springer, 30 Apr 1891; citing Germans to America Passenger Data file, 1850-1897, Ship Lahn, departed from Bremen & Southampton, arrived in New York, New York, New York, United States, NAID identifier 1746067, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

[10] Illinois, Kane County, Marriage License and Return no 10271, Kaiser-Springer 1896, County Clerk’s Office, Geneva.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Illinois State Archives, “Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763 – 1900,” database, Illinois Statewide Marriage Index (http://www.ilsos.gov/isavital/marriagesrch.jsp): accessed 1 June 2016, entry for Babette Springer, 3 October 1895,  Kane County, License no. 00010043.

[15] Illinois, Kane County, Marriage License and Return no 10271, Kaiser-Springer 1896, County Clerk’s Office, Geneva.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVSL-4BFV : accessed 1 June 2016), Minna Springer, 1888; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm .

[18] Illinois, Cook County, Return of a Birth No. 9055, Rudolph Frederick Kaiser, 12 September 1896, Vital Statistics Department, County Clerk’s Office, Chicago.

[19] United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917 – 1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records AdministrationM1509, 4,582 rolls, Image from Family History Library microfilm.

[20] United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

[21] Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C

[22] Illinois, Cook County, Standard Certificate of Death no. 605, Rudolph Kaiser, 6 January 1933, County Clerk’s Office, Chicago.

[23] Illinois, Cook County, Standard Certificate of Death no.11951, Hugo Kaiser, 11 April 1919., County Clerk’s Office, Chicago

[24] Influenza Encyclopedia (http://www.influenzaarchive.org/) Produced by the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, “The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918 -1919.”

[25] Illinois, Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago, Naturalization Record 1906, LDS 1024-633 Vols. 100-102, Rudolph Kaiser, Roll 102, Page37.

[26] Ibid.

[27] National Archives Website (http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1998/summer/women-and-naturalization-1.html) Prologue Magazine, Summer 1998, Vol. 30, No. 2, Smith, Marion L., Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married . . .” Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940.

[28] Letters written in German to Rudolf Kaiser from Rudolf Pieling, Gertude Pieling, and Ida Wiesen  nee pieling, dated 1910, 1914, 1918, and 1920.  Letters are in the possession of Abigail Grunst, Rudolph Kaiser’s great-granddaughter.

[29] Illinois, Chicago; Consulate of Switzerland in charge of German Interests; dated 22 August 1920, Journal no. 5318/20.  Letter in possession of Abigail Grunst, Rudolph Kaiser’s great-granddaughter.

[30] Illinois, Cook County, Standard Certificate of Death no. 605, Rudolph Kaiser, 6 January 1933, County Clerk’s Office, Chicago.

[31] Illinois, Cook County, Medical Certificate of Death No. 49, Wilhelmina Kaiser, 6 July 1953, Forest Park, German Old Peoples Home.

[32] Eden’s Cemetery, 9851 Irving Park Road, Schiller Park, Illinois, Kaiser Lot 139, Section 7.  Personal knowledge by Author Abigail Grunst.  Visited the cemetery and graves many times.

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About Gail Grunst Genealogy

Gail has been researching her own family since 1979. Her research has taken her back to 1800 Belgium and 1800 England. Gail has worked in a library for the last 20 years and has answered genealogy questions for patrons and helped patrons with their research. In addition to her degree in Library Media Technology, Gail has a two degree in Basic American Genealogy Research from the National Genealogy Society. She has done volunteer work for various Genealogy Societies. Gail teaches several Classes in Genealogy for the Round Lake Area Library, and would be happy to conduct a class for your organization. If interested in a class or if you would like a one-on-one consultation, please contact Gail. Please enjoy Gail's family History Blog

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