• RSS

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anne Marie Schmitt nee Schmitt

The Thursday before Thanksgiving I visited the Family History Center to view film #2083956.

I found my 5th great grandmother Anne Marie Schmitt in the 1791 records of burials for the Roman Catholic Church of Hellimer, Moselle, France. The record (last on the page) was a bit challenging to transcribe and translate because part of the text is written in Latin. (Many thanks to the French and German gentlemen who shared their knowledge of the Latin language.)

Burial record transcription: L’an mille sept cent quatre vingt onze, le neuf août vers les cinq heures du matin décéda subitement Anne Marie Schmitt, âgée de quarante sept ans, épouse de Claude Schmitt, tanneur à Hellimer, son corps fut inhumé le lendemain dans le cimetière de cette paroisse en présence des témoins soussignés avec les cérémonies ordinaires. [signed by the] curé de Grossetanquin [and the] curé de Hellimer.

Burial record translation: On August 9th in the year 1791, about 5 am, suddenly died Anne Marie Schmitt, 47 years old, wife of Claude Schmitt, tanner in Hellimer; her body was buried on the next day in the cemetery of this parish, in the presence of the undersigned witnesses, with the ordinary ceremonies. [signed by the] priests of Grossetanquin and Hellimer and [Anne Marie's husband] Claude Schmitt.

The record does not include Anne Marie's date of birth or her parents' names. At the time of her death, she had at least six children.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ The Name Game

Ready to test your name-knowledge? (Names for Round 5 of The Name Game were inspired by the Geneabloggers who attended FGS 2011, friends and coworkers.)

Step right up and try your luck guessing the country of origin and the meanings of these names:


Give yourself one point for each country guessed correctly and another point for each correct meaning.

Scroll down...

to see...

the answers...

Ackerman, Ackermann, Acreman (German/English) One who plowed the lord's land and tended his plow teams.

Clark, Clarke (English) A clergyman, scholar, scribe or recorder. (British pronunciation of clerk.)

Eastman (English) One who came from the east; descendant of Eastmund or Estmunt (east, protection); one who came from the Baltic countries.

Geiger (German) One who played a violin.

Ingsby (Dan., Sw., Nor.) Dweller at Ingi's farm.

Kline (German) Varient of Klein, q.v.

Klein, Kleine (German) The small man; the nice, neat man.

McEntee (Irish) The son of the scholar.

Ortega, Ortego (Spanish) Dweller at the sign of the grouse; one with the charactoristics of a grouse.

Quist (Swedish) Twig.

Seaver, Sever, Seavers (English) One with a grave and austere demeanor.

Uebele, Uebel (German) Descendant of Oppo or Ubo, pet forms of Audoberht (possession, bright).

Wolcott (English) One who came from Woolscott (Wulfsige's cottage), in Warwickshire.

Youngquist (Swedish) Heather, twig.

Hope you enjoyed Round 5 of The Name Game!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Anniversaries

Happy November anniversary to the following couples in my family tree:

My 4th great-grandparents Matthew CLARKE and Rebecca Margaret RIDENOUR were married on 13 Nov 1818 in Washington County, Maryland. (Wish I knew exact dates of birth for either of them!)

My 3rd great-grandparents Lars PETERSSON and Anna SVENSDOTTER tied the knot on 21 Nov 1856 in Agunnaryd, Kronobergs, Sweden. Their son Carl took the military name Clarin and would later immigrate to Chicago Illinois.

The direct line ancestors with whom I spend much of my time these days; my 2nd great-grandparents Jacob K MUELLER and Elizabeth SCHMITT were married in Chicago on 28 Nov 1874.

Other November brides and grooms include:

Norman A CLARKE and Hester Ann LEFFEL were married 23 Nov 1887 in Springfield, Clark, Ohio. 

John PETERSON and Amanda Sofia Karlsdotter TOLF were married in the 1st Swedish M.E. Church in Chicago, Cook, Illinois 21 Nov 1900. (I wonder why? They both lived in Batavia Illinois, 30 or so miles west of Chicago.)

Lawrence Charles YOUNGBERG and Alma S SANDSTEDT were married 17 Nov 1909 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

John Alfred LUND and Hannah Christina TOLF were married 10 Nov 1910 in Kane County, Illinois.

Amanda Ida MANGELS and Stephen Taylor GILES were married 22 Nov 1910 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

Are any of these people in your family tree too?
Please contact me at [at] gmail [dot] com.
Let's compare notes!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Cousins

Harriet Kathlyn Tolf and cousin Ruth Ogren

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Five Pages of Written Testimony

A thick envelope arrived yesterday from the Cook County (Illinois) Medical Examiner's Office. I carried it from the mailbox to my desk with trembling hands. Gone were thoughts of doing the Genealogy Happy Dance. This is my family. Otto V. Mueller is my great grand-uncle. The documents inside this envelope from Chicago contained five pages of testimony telling how and why he took his own life.

Otto's half-sister Alma and two of Otto's neighbors testified that Otto had behaved differently during the week after his divorce. He was drinking heavily and talking about leaving the city he loved. On the night he died, Otto went home, turned a gas jet on high and blew out the flame. He climbed into bed and lay there waiting for the "illuminating gas" to fill his lungs and end his grief. 

How could he know that 99-1/2 years later a woman he had never met would sit at her desk blinking back tears and grieving for him?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Suicide while temporarily insane

Otto V. Mueller is often on my mind these days. I recently requested copies of the inquest record created after his 1912 suicide. I can't help wondering what caused him to feel such despair that he chose to take his own life.

My path to Otto started with my paternal grandparents Harold Clarke Mueller and Frances Lois Mangels who were married in August of 1930:

The 1930 census was taken shortly before my grandparents' wedding, and Harold was enumerated (on line 84) with his parents and younger brother:

My dad remembered sliding down the load when Harold made deliveries in a coal truck, so the occupation listed in column 25 concerned me at first. When I mentioned to my grand-uncle Charlie that my grandfather had been a truck driver, he said, "Really? I remember him banging gold." Bingo - we have a match!
In the 1920 census Harold, his parents and grandparents lived together. Seeing the Clarkes explains where Harold's middle name originated:

Here's the family in 1910:

...and in 1900:

The list of family members is continued on a second page, including Alfred's sister Alma E. Note her occupation, then take a look at Otto's. Could Alma work in Otto's office? This becomes more evident (and more confusing) when we travel back and forth in time.

Here's the family in 1880. In those days, Mueller was spelled Müller. See how the census taker tried to correct his misspelling? Wish I knew if he was attempting to squeeze in an "e" or trying to add the umlaut.

The census taker's fumble helps explain another indexer's version of Jacob's surname. Jacob's marriage certificate was indexed under Mutler. But the marriage license clerk's attention to detail provided wonderful clues. Jacob's new wife is Mrs. Elizabeth Biedenham (actually Bidenharn, but let's not quibble about details). This helped me find Elizabeth and Otto in 1870.

Otto is consistently listed as Ohio-born. Remember the 1880 census and the 10-year difference between Otto and Alfred? Both facts make more sense after seeing the marriage record above. It suggests Otto isn't Jacob's biological son. An 1870 Ohio census confirms that hypothesis (see line 9):

Learning that Otto was Alfred's half-brother made me wonder if I should  continue to research Otto. I mean, it's not as if he's a direct line ancestor. And heck, he only shares 50% of my DNA. Hmm. But then I do have that manila folder with his name on it...

I'm glad I chose to gather just the basics on Otto, file them and move on; 'cause that's when things got interesting.

I couldn't find Otto in the 1930 or 1920 censuses. He didn't appear with Jacob and Alma in 1910. As it turns out he lived on the same street with his wife and daughter:

I couldn't find Otto and Alvina in the Chicago marriage index. More searching revealed their marriage had taken place on the other side of Lake Michigan in Berrien County Michigan, a quaint location known for elopements. I blinked hard when I read the new Mrs. Mueller's maiden name. Schmitt is Otto's mother's maiden name too. Coincidence? Except there was something familiar about a Schmitt and Kauffman couple in Ohio with a daughter named Alvina. Did Otto marry his first cousin? Time will tell. Here's the marriage record (entry 752):

So where was this family in 1920? I hadn't been able to find Otto. But I did find Alvina and Edith (bottom two lines)...

who live with Alvina's widowed brother (line 1):

Alvina is listed as a widow. But was she? Not according to Otto's sister Alma:

What happened to Otto? Before all the ugliness, things seemed to be going pretty well for this husband, father and successful businessman. Articles referencing him appeared in several newspapers; his participation in an annual cycling race as a member of the Englewood Wheelmen, and public congratulations and admiration after his promotion to city engineer.

Why is Otto's death certificate so um, I don't know, weird? Look at his place of birth, his birth date, even his date of death - on or about the 16th of April. How long did he lay dead in his garage? Alma was the informant; was she distraught? Distant? Estranged? If she lived with Otto and worked at his insurance agency years before, why didn't she know more answers?

She was right on the money regarding her parents' names (especially Elise rather than Elizabeth) and their places of birth. It's quite puzzling.

Which is why I ordered inquest records for this collateral ancestor. I sent a letter to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office requesting Otto's file on October first. A letter from them arrived the 13th saying there are five pages of written testimony. (FIVE PAGES!!) Copy costs are five dollars per page. I mailed a check the 14th. Then I started pacing in front of my mailbox. After two weeks I called the ME's office and spoke with a very nice woman. She said she had indeed received my check. She reminded me the pages had been tri-folded for nearly a hundred years and said they were working to unfold them. Once that is done, they can copy the pages and send them to me.

Honest to goodness, I have dreams about getting these papers! I want to know who testified and what they said. Don't you?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Surname Saturday ~ November Birthdays

Happy November birthday to my sister and my nephew Ben, and to my cousins Russell, Mitchell, and Barbie.

November birthdays in my family tree include:

My 4th great-grandmother Maja Lisa LIDSTROM (16 Nov 1797) and her daughter Gustafva Jubilina TOLF (28 Nov 1830) were born in Svenarum, Jönköping, Sweden.

My 3rd great-grandfather Peter Johan JOHANISSON was born 14 Nov 1836 in Norra Sandsjö, Jonkopings, Sweden. His children, my 2nd great-grandmother Maria Fredrika PETERSDOTTER (22 Nov 1864) and her brother Johan Gustaf PETERSON (15 Nov 1874) were born in Tånnö, Jonkopings, Sweden.

First cousins thrice-removed, Lillian Christine KIRCHHEIMER (19 Nov 1873) and Emil Francis SCHMITT (21 Nov 1875) were born in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio. Lillian's mother and Emil's father were my 2nd great-grandmother's sister and brother respectively.

Birthdays in my Clark/Clarke line include Susan E BERG (13 Nov 1871) and Miriam Edith BLAKE (21 Nov 1920) both of Chicago, Cook, Illinois.
Great-granduncles George James WALTON (28 Nov 1884) and Frederick WALTON (20 Nov 1888) were born in Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio.

First generation American Julia Christine THOMPSON born 10 Nov 1888 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois was my great-grandmother. Her father Peter Thompson immigrated from Norway and her mother (Maria Fredrika PETERSDOTTER listed above) immigrated from Sweden.

Frank Raymond TOLF born 23 Nov 1888 in Batavia, Kane, Illinois and
Howard W TOLF born 10 Nov 1898 in Dixon, Lee, Illinois were cousins; nephews of my 2nd great-grandfather Per August Tolf. Frank's wife Ruth MCFARLAND was born in Indiana 28 Nov 1892. 2nd cousin twice-removed Norman Joseph FRIEND born in Illinois 30 Nov 1914 was a Tolf descendant; his mother's mother was Frida Katrina TOLF.

My great-grandaunt Agnes Magnheld CLARIN (21 Nov 1891) and her half-brother Carl James CLARIN (22 Nov 1898) were both born in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. Their father, Carl Larsson Clarin was a Swedish immigrant.

Do any of my ancestors reside in your family tree too? Please contact me at livinginthepastlane [at] yahoo [dot] com. Let's compare notes!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Genealogy Blog, Not Just for Michigan

When I learned my second great-grandparents, William Penrod Clarke and Mary Ella LITTRELL died in southwest Michigan, I explored the area virtually.

The Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society of Southern Michigan has a great web site, complete with an index of Van Buren County deaths.

The Society's web site has a link to the Van Buren District Library's blog. This is an interesting and informative blog worth a genealogy meandering minute or two, regardless of your connection or lack thereof to Michigan.

If you're a list-lover like me, you'll appreciate their Use of Checklists series.

The Collection Highlight is always interesting, I found this one especially so.

I'm always intrigued by their Nameless Picture of the Day. Here's a picture that was posted in August:
Unknown boy & girl in buggy; cabinet card M1787.
Photographer - Northrup, Bangor

Take a moment or two to explore this not-just-for-Michigan library's blog. Let me know what you think!