At the Library

I’ve have worked in libraries for many years and have used the library for my research.  Way back before the Internet, I interlibrary loaned microfilm from the Illinois State Library.  I ordered Federal Censuses and newspapers for obituaries.  Back then it was a two-step process to find someone on the census.  First I had to order microfilm of the Soundex (an index of surnames coded by how they sound) to find the roll of microfilm with the actual census.  To use the Soundex, I first had to find the code for the surname I was researching.  The code consists of one letter and three numbers.  The letter is usually the first letter of the surname.  If you were searching Smith the first letter of the code would be “S”.  Here is a table to help figure out the Soundex code for the surname.

  • 1 = B, F, P and V
  • 2 = C, G, J, K, Q, S, X and Z
  • 3 = D and T
  • 4 = L
  • 5 = M and N
  • 6 = R
  • Remove these letters: A, E, I, O, U, Y, W, H

The first surname I researched on the 1900 census was Manfroid.  The code for Manfroid is M-516.  I knew they lived in Chicago, Illinois in 1900. I looked in a book in the library for the number of the microfilm for the 1900 Soundex for Illinois that had the code M516.  I then order that roll and waited for it to come.  When it finally arrived, I would search that roll of microfilm to find my ancestors.  When I found them I was given an enumeration district number and some other basic information.  

Here is the Soundex card found on the microfilm reel.

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First of all the surname is misspelled but I was able to identify that this is the family I wanted because of the children’s names and ages.  Georgie was my grandfather and I knew his name and birth date and I also knew the names of his brothers and sister.  Notice the E.D. 293 that is the enumeration district and I needed that number to order my next roll of film.  I would then go to another book which listed all the rolls of microfilm for the 1900 Illinois Federal Census.  It identified the roll of microfilm to order by the enumeration district.  I would then order that roll and when it came in, I once again had to search that roll to find the actual census that listed my ancestors.  However, it was a little easier than searching the Soundex.  Notice on the card that it gives the vol., sheet number, and line number that my ancestors appear on.  I would then make a copy of the census.  But it would not all fit nice and tidy on an 8 ½ X 11 sheet of paper.  I would make several copies and paste them all together.  It was black like the Soundex card and hard to read.  Once I could get a nice clean copy on Ancestry.com, I threw out the old microfilm one.  I kept the soundex card copy because they are obsolete when using online versions of the census, however because I knew it was spelled wrong, I found it that way.  I sometimes think we could be missing records that are there but are indexed by how the census taker spelled them.  Doing it the old way it was possible to find them with the names spelled wrong.  I did this over and over for the entire censuses and for all the surnames in my family tree. 

That was my first experience using the library for my genealogy.  Since then I have used Allen County in Fort Wayne, Indiana and found my grandparents marriage record, Toledo Public library, in Toledo, Ohio; Elmhurst Public Library in Elmhurst, Illinois; Wisconsin State Archives Library in Madison, Wisconsin; Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Arlington Heights, Illinois; Cook Memorial Library in Libertyville, Illinois; McHenry Library in McHenry, Illinois; Reddick Library in Ottawa, Illinois; Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah,.  I also have contacted many libraries by phone or email to ask if they have newspapers, obituaries, and other information.  They have done searches for me and sent me the results at no charge. 

I go to library websites where my ancestors lived and sometimes I am able to search their databases.  Cleveland Public has obituaries and death records online.  Forest Park Public Library in Forest Park, Illinois has their local newspapers digitized and I have been able to access them from home.  I may be prejudice because I have worked in libraries for over 30 years, but they are wealth of information and I find librarians very helpful.   

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  week topic “At the Library”

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

 

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Unusual Name

I seem to have several unusual surnames in my family tree.  One of them is Fiderius.  It was my great-grandmother’s maiden name.  The other day I did a search to find how many Fiderius I could find in Ancestry.com. It was hard to tell because there were a lot of repeats, but not very many.   Most of the people I could identify in my family tree.  However I did come across one person that I had not previously known about.  Her name is Josephine Fiderius and she is my great-grandmother’s sister. It seems the family kept her existence a secret.

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An aerial view of the Cleveland State Hospital complex, ca. 1951. Cleveland Press Collection, CSU Archives.

Josephine Fiderius was born 24 July 1880 in Cleveland, Ohio to Peter Fiderius and Christina Oberdoester.[1]  Josephine joined her two older sisters, Mary[2]  and Theresa[3] at home.  Later two brothers, Leonard[4] and Joseph,[5] joined the family. In 1900 Josephine marries Carolus Friedmann[6] (Carolus is Latin for Charles).[7]  He went by Charles in most records.  In 1910 Josephine and Charles are living in Stark, Ohio with their 3 children Gertrude 7, Leroy 5, Lucille 2.[8]  On Charles’ WWI draft card, he lists his wife as Emma,[9] and in 1920 he is living in living in Trainer, Delaware, Pennsylvania, with wife Emma (40) born in New York and their children Ellen age 19, Gertrude 17, Leroy 15, Lucille, 12, and a son Frances 1 3/12.[10] What happened to Josephine?   I thought maybe Josephine died because the children were living with Charles, and who is Ellen?  I assume that Ellen must be Emma’s daughter, but she has the surname Friedmann.[11] A search on Josephine Friedmann finds her living with her mother, Christina Fiderius, her brother Leonard, and his wife Louise in 1920.[12]  So Josephine did not die.  It appears that sometime between 1910 and 1918 they separate and maybe divorce.  I say maybe divorce because Josephine lists herself as married on the 1920 Census.[13]  By 1930 Josephine is now living in the Cleveland State Hospital for the insane.[14]  She is still there in 1940.[15] What was it like for Josephine to be in this place?  “By 1900 the hospital had cared for over 1,000 patients. At this time it began to treat mainly poorer patients, including an increasing number admitted by the courts, further adding to patient numbers. Although Cleveland State Hospital kept pace with progress in medicine, conditions continued to decline in the 1920s and 1930s because of overcrowding and irregular state support. In 1946 investigations by the CLEVELAND PRESS and the newly formed Cleveland Mental Health Assn. revealed brutality and criminal neglect, and often squalid conditions.” [16]  Poor Josephine, it seems most of the time she spent in this place the conditions were very bad. I lose Charles, Emma and children after 1920.  What happened to Josephine that she lost her children and ended up in a mental hospital?  I think the family kept Josephine a secret or just did not talk about her.  My great-grandmother Mary, never told anyone about her sister Josephine.  A few years ago I heard from a cousin in Ohio, and he listed my great-grandmother Mary, and her sister Theresa, brothers Leonard and Joseph.  He did not mention Josephine and I doubt that he even knew she existed.  Josephine passed away on 3 August 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio.[17] Cause of death is Carcinoma of head and Pancreas with metastases multiple.[18]  Her death certificate lists her husband as Charles, and there is a question mark under “single, widowed, married, divorced” and a question mark under “alive”.[19]  The informant is her brother Leonard Fiderius.[20]  I would think that he should know if she was married, divorced or widowed from Charles.  It is an interesting story with a lot of unanswered questions that I hope to find the answers to one day.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 3 Unusual Name

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

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[1] “Ohio County Births 1841 – 2003” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRKL-ZGM?CC+1932106&wc=Q6QM-SBZ%3A227593401%2c233089201 : 22 December 2016) Cuyahoga > birth registers 1879-1880 > image 191 of 247 county courthouses, Ohio.

[2] Death Certificate for Mary Beischer nee Fiderius, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, State file number 058869, Registration District 16.24, Registration Number 1173, December 26, 1962, Oak Park, Cook, Illinois.

[3] Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.

[4] Ancestry.com. Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.  Original data:  “Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2011. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

[5] “Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X6PJ-P4F : 11 February 2018), Fiderins, 07 Dec 1889; citing Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, reference p309; FHL microfilm 877,904.

[6] Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 47; Page: 282; Year Range: 1898 May – 1902 Nov.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data:  Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810–1973. Microfilm publication, 137 rolls. Reels 1-110. Cuyahoga, Ohio.

[7] Carolus Latin for Charles https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolus

[8] Year: 1910; Census Place: Canton Ward 5, Stark, Ohio; Roll: T624_1231; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0178; FHL microfilm: 1375244. Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.

[9] Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Delaware; Roll: 1877948; Draft Board: 4.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.  Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

[10] Year: 1920; Census Place: Trainer, Delaware, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1563; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 172.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Original data: 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

[11] Ibid.

[12] Year: 1920; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 16, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T625_1368; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 340.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data: 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.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Year: 1930; Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 0296; FHL microfilm: 2341505.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[15] Year: 1940; Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03218; Page: 21B; Enumeration District: 92-390.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[16] https://case.edu/ech/articles/c/cleveland-state-hospital

[17] Certificate of death, Ohio, Columbus, Department of Health, registration number 286, primary registration number 8118, State file number 48729, registrar’s number 6628.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

In search of Henrietta

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52Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic this week is Challenge

One of my biggest challenges has been trying to find my 2nd great-grandmother, Heneretti.  My great-grandfather, Carl Desen’s, death certificate listed his parents as John Desens and Heneretti Gressiers.[1]  I found John living in Clark County Wisconsin around 1900.[2]  He owned a farm and was killed by his neighbor in 1907.[3]  His son, Herman Desens owned the farm next to John, and Herman was accidently killed by a gunshot wound to the chest in 1901.[4]  The United Church of Christ East Cemetery Index lists Herman’s parents as John Desens and Henrietta.[5] I do not find Heneretti with them in Clark County Wisconsin.  My assumption is that she died prior to John buying the farm since she cannot be found in Wisconsin.   I do not know where John lived before buying the farm in Wisconsin,  however,   I assume it to be Illinois, since all his children lived in Illinois.  I searched different spellings of first and surnames that I could think of such as Henrietta, Henrietti, Heneretti, Henriette, Gressier, Gressiers, Gressens, and many more variations.   All the searches resulted in a dead-end.  Sometimes I feel I am getting close only to find out that it is someone else with the same name or similar name.  I found a Henrietta Desens living in Michigan married to a John Desens and they had a son Carl.  When I first saw this I thought it was my great-grandfather’s parents, but the Carl Desens in Michigan had a different birth date then my great-grandfather.  Once I found my 2nd great-grandfather, John, in Wisconsin, I knew that the John and Henrietta living in Michigan were not my 2nd great- grandparents.  I have wondered if Heneretti was a middle name that she used, and records have her first name. But without more information about Heneretti, it is like looking for a needle in haystack.  I will continue to search for Heneretti and hoping one day to finally break this brick wall.

Copyright © Gail Grunst 2019

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[1] Standard Certificate of Death, State of Illinois, Cook County, Forest Park, Registration Dist. 3104, Registered no. 1050. Health Department Record, City of Chicago.

[2] Grantor Index Book, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900.  Filed at Clark County Courthouse, Recorder of Deeds, 517 Court Street, Room 303, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456. 

[3] Neillsville times(Neillsville, Clark County, Wis) July 11, 1907.

[4] Wisconsin, Clark, Greenwood, Greenwood Gleaner, 25 October 1901.

[5] United Church of Christ East Cemetery Index(formerly the German Immanuel Evangelical & Reformed Church) Warner Township, Clark County, WI, Compiled by Stan and Janet Schwarze.

 

First Son: Albert

 

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The 316th Field Artillery 81st division boarding a train at Knotty Ash Depot to Southhampton, Liverpool, England August 14 1918.  From: httpdigital.ncdcr.govcdmrefcollectionp15012coll10id1564

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  week 1 of 2019 the topic is “first”.  

Albert Grunst, Jr. was the first son born to Albert Grunst and Anna Schmerling.[1]  Albert was born on 5 August, 1892 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.[2]  Albert joined his older sister Alma at home and by 1900 two more siblings, Lillian and Walter, were added to the family.[3]  In 1901 the last sibling, Elmer, was born.[4]

Sometime between 1900 and 1910 the family moved from Chicago, Illinois to the suburb of Cicero, Illinois.[5]  In 1910 Albert’s occupation is a key fitter for a piano company.[6]   Twenty-two year old Albert married twenty-two year old Adeline Olsen on 12 February 1913.[7]  The age on Albert’s marriage certificate seems to be different from his birth certificate.  It lists his birth year as 1891 yet his birth certificate says 1892. I believe his birth certificate to be right.  Albert’s WWI draft card lists that he married and his address is 21 E. Van Buren St., Chicago, Illinois, however that address is crossed out and 3046 S. 48th Court, Cicero, Illinois is written in as his address.[8]   He is working as painter for a Harry Bloom in Chicago.[9]  Albert’s physical characteristics are listed as medium height, slender build, grey-blue eyes, and dark brown hair, and he is not bald.[10]  

On 5 August 1918 Albert left the Port of New York on the ship Aquitania with his fellow troops of Battery E 316th field Artillery 81st Division.[11]  “The 81st Infantry Division “Wildcats” was organized as a National Division of the United States Army in August 1917 during World War I at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. The division was originally organized with a small cadre of Regular Army officers, while the soldiers were predominantly Selective Service men drawn from the southeastern United States. After organizing and finishing training, the 81st Division deployed to Europe, arriving on the Western Front in August 1918. Elements of the 81st Division first saw limited action by defending the St. Dié sector in September and early October. After relief of mission, the 81st Division was attached to the American First Army in preparation for the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In the last days of World War I, the 81st Division attacked a portion of the German Army‘s defensive line on 9 November 1918, and remained engaged in combat operations until the Armistice with Germany at 1100 hours on 11 November 1918. After the cessation of hostilities, the 81st Division remained in France until May 1919; after which the division was shipped back to the United States and inactivated on 11 June 1919.”[12]  By the account of this article, it looks like Albert may have seen some action.  Albert departed Brest, France on 28 May 1919 aboard the Minnesota, and arrived back in the United States on 9 June 1919.[13] 

In 1920 Albert is living with his parents, brothers and sister in Cicero, Illinois, and his marital status is listed as single.[14]  He is working as a house painter in 1920.[15]  I can’t seem to find out what happened to Adeline.  In 1942 Albert is living in Chicago, Illinois and works for Wiebolts Dry Goods Co. at Milwaukee and Paulina in Chicago.[16]  Albert passed away on 26 April 1952 at 59 years, 8 months, and 21 days.[17]  He is buried in Bethania Cemetery with his mother, father, and brother.[18]  I can find no evidence that Albert remarried or had any children.

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

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[1] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.  Original data:  “Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878–1922.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Illinois. Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878–1922. Illinois Department of Public Health. Division of Vital Records, Springfield.  “Illinois. Cook County Birth Registers, 1871–1915.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. Illinois. Cook County Birth Registers, 1871–1915. Illinois Department of Public Health. Division of Vital Records, Springfield.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 10, Cook, Illinois; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0288; FHL microfilm: 1240256.  Source Information
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.  Original data: 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.
[4] Year: 1910; Census Place: Cicero, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_238; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 1539; FHL microfilm: 1374251
Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data:  “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health records. “Marriage Records, 1871–present.” Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
[8] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1452380; Draft Board: 01.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.  Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 377.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
[12] From Wikipedia Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/81st_Infantry_Division_(United_States)
[13] The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 204.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
[14] Year: 1920; Census Place: Cicero, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_359; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 54.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 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. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).
[15] Ibid.
[16] The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2097.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.  Original data:  United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration.
[17] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.  Original data: Cook County Clerk. Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records. Cook County Clerk’s Office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008.
[18] Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

Resolution 2019

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic for week 52 is “resolution”.   Well, 2018 is coming to a close and I have completed this challenge.  I have enjoyed writing about one of my ancestors or my husband’s ancestors each week.  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks will continue for another year.  I haven’t made up my mind whether I will participate or not yet.  I feel like I have run out of ancestors to write about.  At least the ones I know enough about to form a story.  But on the other hand, my husband has a bunch of them that I haven’t searched yet so maybe there will be some interesting stories from his side.  However, my resolution for 2019 is to work more on my husband’s side and to continue this blog. 

The last few months have especially challenging because on October 14th my husband and I were in a bad automobile accident.  I only had some bruises,  but the side he was sitting on was hit hard and he has been in and out of the hospital and rehab places since then.  Right now he is in a rehab, and I think on the road to recovery.  I have thought this before and he has relapsed.  So I am hoping this time he makes a full recovery.  It has been hard to find the time to write and has been especially hard during the holidays.  Hoping for a better 2019!

Wishing you peace, love, and laughter in the New Year!

Gail

Nice Uncle Ralph

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  topic this week is “Nice”.  The first person that came to mind was my grandmother’s brother Ralph.  Uncle Ralph died when I was 16 years old so I got to know him.  I loved him and thought he was the nicest person I had ever known.  I still think that.  I wrote about him a couple of years ago and decided to repost it.  Here is his story.

ralph-bowers

Uncle Ralph

Ralph C. Bowers was born 18 June 1897 to Eva Reinhardt and Robert Bowers in Chicago, Illinois[1].  He was my grandmother’s brother and my great uncle.  I remember Uncle Ralph as kind and reserved with a great sense of humor.  I can still hear his laugh even after all these years without him.

I was told by grandma that when he was young he contacted TB and was in a sanitarium for a while.  He had a hard time keeping jobs until he got a job at R. R. Donnelly in Chicago working the night shift.  The night shift was what he needed.  Apparently, he was not a morning person and the night shift worked for him.  For as long as I knew Uncle Ralph he worked at Donnelly.

Uncle Ralph married for the first time to Helen Treppa when he was forty six years old.[2]  He and his wife (Aunt Helen) would come to my Grandmother’s house for holidays and some Sundays in between the holidays.  Sometimes they would come to my parent’s house too.  I always liked going to their house in Chicago.  Sometimes we would just decide at the last moment to go visit Uncle Ralph and Aunt Helen.  We would go there unexpected and always got a warm welcome.  Aunt Helen would put out a spread of lunch meats and breads.  It always amazed me that she had all this food on hand.  It never failed they had plenty of food for unexpected company.

We would sit around the kitchen table and there was always great conversation.  Even though I was young, I loved to listen to the adults talk.  I always found it interesting.  Of course I always enjoyed the food too.  Their house was very warm and welcoming.  Aunt Helen’s sister, Martha (Marty) lived with them.  I loved Aunt Helen and Marty as well as Uncle Ralph.  Because Ralph and Helen married so late in life, they never had any children.

My mother loved her Uncle Ralph very much and after he passed away, she would say that he was her guardian angel looking after her.

Uncle Ralph passed away on 5 January 1964 from a stroke[3] and was buried on 7 January 1964 in the Elmwood Cemetery in River Grove, Cook County, Illinois[4]

If he knew I was writing about him, I can hear him say, “Oh, for the love of Mike.”

Copyright©2016 Gail Grunst

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[1] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County:  Cook; Roll 1613573; Draft board: 53

Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. {database on-line}.  Provo, UT, USA; Ancestry.com  Operation  Inc, 2005.  Original Data:  United States, Selective Service System World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cares, 1917-1918.  Washington,  D. C. :  National Archives and Record  Administration.  M1509, 4,582 rolls.  Imaged from Family  History  Library Microfilm.

[2] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 [database on-line].  Provo, Ut, USA: Ancestry.ocm  Operations Inc, 2008.  Original data:  Cook County Clerk, comp. Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records.  Cook County Clerk’s office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008.

[3] From  his sister Helen Bowers Kaiser’s datebook.

[4] Ancestry.com U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600’s – Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012.  Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave.  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

Naughty Great Grandpa

I’m still running a week behind with my post for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  Last weeks topic was naughty.  I think I have already written about a few ancestors that were naughty and could not think of a new one to write about.  So I decided to repost one about my great grandfather Rudolph Kaiser.  Some letters were found when cleaning out my grandparents home years ago.  I finally had one transcribed.  Read the story below.

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If you read my last post on Letters from Germany, you will know that I have some letters written in German addressed to my great-grandfather, Rudolph Kaiser.  From the little we could deduce from them, it appeared he had another family in Germany.

Since writing my last post on Rudolf Kaiser, I have done some searching on his Children in Germany.

I researched on Ancestry.com and came up with the following:

  • Rudolf Otto Pielenz (Rudolf Kaiser’s son) born 18 February 1890; Mother: Anna Auguste Emilie Pielenz*
  • Ida Bertha Pielenz (Rudolf Kaiser’s daughter) born 19 December 1891; Mother: Anna Auguste Emilie Pielenz*
  • Rudolf Otto Pielenz Married 7 April 1917 to Pauline Wilhelmine Helene Schauer; son of Anna Pielinz and Werner*
  • Anna Pielenz married Friedrich Carl Wagner 24 February 1894.* Anna Pielenz and Friedrich Carl Wagner’s children are as follows:
    • Anna Louise Auguste Wagner born 16 September 1894.*
    • Emma Bertha Wagner born 15 November 1895.*
    • Otto Robert Wagner born 27 July 1898.*

After finding this information, I went back to the letters written in German.  I was able to pick out the dates 18 February 1890 and 19 December 1891. I was also able to pick out the name Warner.   So I was sure that I had the right people.

I wondered why Rudolph would leave a wife and children in Germany, start another life here with a different wife and children.  It appears they were never married as she did not give the children his last name.  Then I thought maybe his intentions were to save some money and send for them.  But before he could save enough money, she moved on and got married.  She married two years before Rudolph got married here in the United States.  Maybe he wasn’t the scoundrel after all.  Then my curiosity got the best of me, and I had the first of the four letters transcribed.  As you will see as you read the letter, she is very upset with Rudolf Kaiser.  Here is the letter from 30 October 1910 transcribed

Berlin, dated 30.10.10

Dear Mr Kaiser!!!-?

Finally, after many, many years I have succeeded in finding out your address. You, dear Sir, will know that the result in 1890 of our relationship was a boy, and then, as a good-bye ! – a step which was so difficult – also a little girl. – And Anna Pielenz is deserted by the most beloved I once possessed, with two children, fatherless, alone. I have carved out an existence with my children in need of a father, and now that they are both grown, it is always the same lament: Where is our father…

My boy, as you know, has his father’s name, i.e. Rudolf Pielenz, born on 18 February 1890. My character and Your face, which was my consolation. Now he is big and a soldier. He is serving in Allenstein and has grown into a handsome young man. But now he is interested and searching for his father, who has treated him so ignominiously, so completely without interest. And the little girl has grown into a young lady. Born on 19 December 1891, her name is Ida and she also had no idea of her fatherless birth. But now

that they are both grown they will probably be in touch very soon and will greet their father by way of a letter, (because), when the boy was 5 years old and the girl 4, I was forced to get married because I could no longer afford the maintenance for the 2 children. It was just too hard for me, so I married without love and had to be content with my lot, because my love belonged only to one person ? , to whom, after all, I gave everything, and to my children. I have been on my own again for years now, and, as I say, I am content, because resentment and hatred grew more

noticeable all the time; because, you’ll know what I mean ?, a marriage without love is like a soup without salt and thus I am on my own with my children, living with my youngest sister. I hope you have not completely forgotten me and that [your] 14 years were happier than mine were. I really only moped around continuously. Maybe you think back occasionally to times past when happiness was still sweet.

Respectfully,

Anna Vägner nee Pielenz

Berlin, S.O. 33

Skalitzerstr. 54a

Both children send their greetings

This opens up more questions than it answers.  How did she find him?  How does one find someone across an ocean in 1910?  I started to think how I would go about it.  Now we turn to the Internet or maybe private detectives.  I don’t think she had the means to hire a private detective.  But she probably knew what ship he traveled on, maybe he told her what city he planned to settle in.  She may have known his friends and family in Germany.  So maybe she found him through them.  It sounds like she never got over him.  I also notice that while she tells him of her unhappy marriage, she does not mention the children that were born of that marriage.  She says she hopes he has been happy the past 14 years.  It took me awhile to figure out where the 14 came from.  From 1890 or 1891 to 1910 is 19 or 20 years not 14.  In 1910 Rudolph was married 14 years.  She even knew how long he had been married.

I do not know who is right or wrong and there are always two sides to a story.  Her side is documented with letters, his side is silent.  There are no letters from him, no stories handed down, and so we do not have his side.  When I thought about her contacting his family in Germany, I wondered what happened to his mother and father.  I have their names and that is it.  When they were born or died remains a mystery.  I never heard my grandfather talk about his grandparents.  I don’t even think he knew their names.  When I started doing the family tree, he was still alive and never gave me that information.  I don’t know if he knew about his half-brother and half-sister.  If any of their descendants are around today, I would love to meet them.  I’m sorry that Anna Pielenz was so hurt.  I hope she forgave him and moved on for her sake.  As with all family secrets, they make for a good story, but I think about how sad it was for those children and their mother.  On the other hand if he stayed with them, I would not be here.  While I feel sad for them, I’m glad he had my grandfather.  Rudolph did something good; he raised a good and decent man in my grandfather.  My grandparents were married 58 years, my grandfather served in the United States Army during WWI, and worked at the same place for 45 years.  He owned a home and raised a son and daughter who were also good and decent people, and life goes on in me, my children, and grandchildren.  Maybe somewhere in the world there are sons, daughters, and  grandchildren of Anna Pielenz and Rudolf Kaiser’s relationship.

*Information from Berlin Germany Birth and Marriage Records at Ancestry.com.

Copyright ©2016 Gail Grunst