Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The "Smith" Problem

I've completely given up on the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, but I will keep using this blog as a way of writing about the family history and as a problem solving tool.

I've previously written about Joseph Schmidt here, and his mother Vilma, here.  I've been trying to find more information about the family so that maybe I can track them back to Hungary.

I've been driving myself crazy and feel like I'm running in circles trying to find information on the Schmidts/ Smiths. Instead of a narrative, I'm going to list out the information I have. Maybe I'll find a hole or clue that I missed, or maybe I'll find a direction to start looking. 

I'll start with Joseph Schmidt.

His Death Certificate (1) states:
  • Name: Joseph G. Smith
  • Birthdate: January 21, 1892
  • Birthplace: Austria
  • Death Date: January 10, 1955
  • Father's Name: Unknown
  • Mother's Name: Unknown
  • Informant: Hospital Records
  • Burial: Saint Lucas Cemetery
His Obituary (2) in the Chicago Tribune states: Joseph G. Smith, Jan. 10, of 9621 Dobson avenue, beloved husband of Florence Genotte Smith, loving father of Florence Muth, Rose Donnelly, and the late Harry. Funeral Thursday, 10 a.m., at chapel, Jeffery boulevard at 77th street. Interment St. Lucas' cemetery. South Shore 8-8822

His WWII Draft Registration Card (3) indicates the following information

  • Name: Joseph George Smith
  • Birth Date: 21 Jan 1892
  • Birthplace: Austria-Hungary
  • Residence: Chicago, IL
  • Name and Address of Person who will always know your address: Margaret Buck Lillian Barna
His original Certificate of Naturalization (4), which still is in family possession, contains the following information:
  • Name: Joseph George Smith
  • Address: 15315 Lexington Ave, Harvey, IL
  • Subject of Hungary
  • Naturalization date: 23 March 1922
  • Naturalization place: Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5 ft 5-1/2 inches
  • Name Changed by order of court from Joseph Schmidt
This same information is found on the Naturalization Record Index (5).

 His Petition for Naturalization (6) contains the following information:
  • Name: Joseph Schmidt
  • Address: 15315 Lexington Ave, Harvey, IL
  • Birthdate: 22 Jan 1892
  • Birthplace: Pankota, Austria
  • Emigrated from: Bremen Germany in May 1907
  • Arrival: New York, NY on 11 May 1907
  • Ship: Graf Waldersee
  • Declaration of Intent made: 26 March 1917 in Chicago, IL.
  • Wife: Florence, born 20 July 1898 in Chicago
  • Children: Florence born 2 May 1918, and Rose 26 Sept 1920
His Marriage License (7) to Florence Genotte contains the following information:
  • Name: Joseph G. Smith
  • Age: 25
  • Birth year: abt 1891
  • Marriage Date: 25 Nov 1916
  • Marriage Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
  • Spouse Name: Florence Genotte
  • Spouce Age: 17

The Passenger List for the Graf Waldersee (8), arriving in New York on 11 May 1907 lists the following people in Joseph's family:

Vilma Schmidt, age 33; Josef Schmidt, age 15; Vilma Schmidt, age 11(this would put Vilma's birth year around 1896/1897)
  • Nationality: Hungary
  • Race or People: German
  • Last Residence: Pankota
  • Final Destination: Philadelphia
  • Whether going to join a relative or friend: and if so, what relative or friend, and his name and complete address: br.i.l (brother-in-law?): Johann Feher, Philadelphia, Pa, N. Amerikan St 8
  • Place of Birth: Pankota (for all 3)
The 1910 Census (9) shows that Vilma Schmidt (the mother) married again and had another daughter.  The following information is on the 1910 census:

  • Furez, Joseph, Head, Age 26, Marriage 1; Married 1 years, Birthplace: Hungary, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Mother's birthplace: Hungary, Immigration year: 1904, Naturalized, Speaks English, 
  • Furez, Wilhelmina, Wife, Age 33, Marriage 2; Married 1 years, 3 Children born, 3 children still alive. Birthplace: Hungary Germany, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Germany, Mother's Birthplace: Hungary, Germany. Immigration year: 1907, Speaks English
  • Furez, Margaret, daughter, Age 4/12, Single. Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Mother's Birthplace: Hungary
  • Schmidt, John, stepson, Age: 17, Single, Birthplace: Hungary, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Mother's Birthplace: Hungary, Immigration year: 1908, Alien, Speaks English
  • Schmidt, Wilhelmina, stepdaughter, Age: 15, Single, Birthplace: Hungary, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Mother's Birthplace: Hungary, Immigration year: 1907, Speaks English
The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Marriage Index (10) has the following information about Vilma Schmidt's marriage. (I am waiting for a copy of the actual license).
  • Name: Wilhelmina Schmidt
  • Spouse: Joseph Furesz
  • Marriage Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Marriage Year: 1910
  • Marriage License number: 249305

I have only been able to find Joseph Smith and his wife and children in the 1920 census (11) in Chicago. I have not found his mother nor his sister anywhere. Interestingly here's the information for Joseph and his family:
  • Schmidt, Joseph, Head, Age 26, Year Immigrated; 1896, Naturalized: yes, Birthplace: Hungary, Native Langauge: Magyar, Birthplace of Father: Hungary, Language of Father: German, Birthplace of Mother: Germany, Language of Mother, German
  • Schmidt, Florence, Wife, Age 26, Birthplace: Illinois, Birthplace of father: Illinois, Birthplace of Mother: Illinois.
  • Schmidt, Florence, daughter, Age 1 6/12, Birthplace: Illinois, Birthplace of Father, Hungary, Birthplace of mother: Illinois
In the 1930 Census, I found Joseph Smith and family, AND Vilma (his mother) and Margaret (his half-sister) living in Chicago. 

The entry for Joseph's family (12) states:

  • Smith, Joseph, Head, Age: 38, Married, Age at Marriage: 25, Birthplace, Hungary, Father's Birthplace, Hungary, Mother's Birthplace: Hungary, Language: German, Immigration year: 1905, Naturalized: yes, 
  • Smith, Florence, Wife, Age: 30, Married, Age at Marriage: 17, Birthplace: Illinois, Father's Birthplace, Illinois, Mother's Birthplace: Illinois
  • Smith, Florence, daughter, Age 11, Single, Birthplace: Illinois, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Mother's Birthplace, Illinois
  • Smith, Rose, daughter, Age 9, Single, Birthplace: Illinois, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Mother's Birthplace, Illinois
  • Smith, Harry, son, Age: 6, Single, Birthplace: Illinois, Father's Birthplace: Hungary, Mother's Birthplace, Illinois

The entry for Vilma and Margaret (13) states:
  • Furez, Wilma, head, Age: 56, Widowed, Birthplace: Germany, Father's Birthplace: Germany, Mother's Birthplace: Germany, Language: German, Immigration year: 1910, Naturalized, 
  • Furez, Margaret, daughter, Age: 19, Single, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Father's Birthplace: Germany, Mother's Birthplace, Germany
In 1940, Margaret got married. Her Marriage information (14):
  • Name: Margaret Furez
  • Marriage Date: 28 Aug 1940
  • Spouse: Fred Mark
  • Location: Cook County, IL
  • License: 1651772
The 1940 Census has Wilma living on her own, and shows Joseph's family.

The entry for Wilma (15) states:
  • Furez, Wilma, head, Age, 66, Widowed, Birthplace: Austria Hungary, Naturalized Citizen
The entry for Joseph's family (16) states:
  • Smith, Joseph E, Head, Age: 48, Birthplace: Hungary, Naturalized Citizen
  • Smith, Florence A, wife, Age: 40, Birthplace: Illinois
  • Smith, Rose M, daughter, Age: 19, Birthplace: Illinois
  • Smith, Harry C, son, Age: 16, Birthplace: Illinois
Here is what I do NOT know:

I do NOT know when Wilma Furez died. I have not found any death information for her. No certificates, no obituaries, nothing!

I do NOT know what happened to Wilhelmina Schmidt (the sister).  I have recently been searching through Philadelphia Marriages, and found 3 Wilhelminas.  I'm not certain that any of them are actually her.  I don't have any death information for her either.

I do NOT know when Joseph Furez died.

I do NOT know the whereabouts of Wilma Furez and Margaret between 1910 and 1930.

I do NOT know who this Johann Feher is who is the person that the Schmidt's were supposedly going to live with in Philadelphia.

I do NOT know Wilma Furez's actual birthday NOR any information about her first husband.

I do NOT know anything about Joseph prior to his arrival in New York on the Graf Waldersee other than that he was born in Pankota.

Any suggestions or help that you can give would be awesome. I really have no idea where to look next.


(1) Cook County, Illinois, death certificate no. 50-697 (1955), Joseph G. Smith; Cook County Clerk's Office, Chicago. Cit. Date: 30 Dec 2014.

(2) Obituary 1 -- no title. (1955, Jan 11). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/178826471?accountid=58010 

(3) Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; State Headquarters: Illinois; Microfilm Series: M2097; Microfilm Roll: 273

(4) Certificate of Naturalization Joseph George Smith, No 1478784, Circuit Court of Cook County, IL, March 23, 1922, Contained in Family Documents

(5) National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northen District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840 - 1950 (M1285); Microfilm Serial: 1285: Microfilm Roll: 162 Ancestry.com U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791 - 1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project) [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010

(6) Petition for Naturalization, Petition number 37757, January 25, 1921 Circuit Court of Cook County.

(7)  “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) Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. Year: 1907; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 0890; Line: 2; Page Number: 32 Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. 

(9)  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1390; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0181; FHL microfilm: 1375403

(10) Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

(11)  Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1920; Census Place: Bloom, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_358; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 9; Image: 592

(12) Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Year: 1930; Census Place: Flossmoor, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 414; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 2332; Image: 483.0; FHL microfilm: 2340149

(13) Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 422; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0199; Image: 949.0; FHL microfilm: 2340157

(14) Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

(15) Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T627_932; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 103-344

(16) Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T627_931; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 103-338

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Will the Real Charles Follet Please Stand Up?

As you've most likely noticed, I dropped the ball majorly with the 52 Ancestors thing.  I did get a few done, but life intervened.

While I'm no longer doing the 52 Ancestors challenge, I will keep blogging about genealogy periodically. Perhaps someone reading will see something or notice something that will help me break through some brick walls.

One such "Brick Wall" is a man named Charles Follett.  I've got a fairly well documented life for Charles once he's in the US, but where he came from is the mystery.  Here is what I know:

Charles was born in / around 1859 in either England or Ireland. 

According to a Chicago Voter's Registration list from October 25, 1892, Charles had lived at his place of residence in the city (2031 Prairie Ave, Chicago) for 1/2 a year, the state for 10 years, and the country for 10 years.  This places his arrival in the US around 1882.

Interestingly, Charles declared on the voters registration form that he was a citizen, but he didn't ACTUALLY officially become naturalized until four days later on October 29, 1892 in the Cook County Criminal Courts.

His naturalization records are incomplete as the County and Federal Court archives in Chicago only have his Declaration of Intent and his Final Oath paperwork.  The petition document (which would have arrival dates, family names, etc.) no longer exists according to the archives.

Another interesting quirk in the dates shows that he filed his Declaration of Intent to become a citizen on the 13th of October, 1890. This date is also the same day as his marriage to Norah Sullivan.

I'm not going to focus on Charles's children, as those dates are detailed on Norah's biography linked to above.

Charles died in 1898 of acute pneumonia. His death certificate states that his occupation was a Coachman and that he had been in the US for 16 years. (Again, putting his arrival in the U.S. around 1882.)

I have not been able to find any passenger lists or immigration documents for Charles.

Picture from Flickr of 1898 Chicago
The tl;dr (too long; didn't read) of the above is this:

Charles Follett - born 1859 in England or Ireland
no immigration information.
Came to the US approximately 1882.
Married: 13 Oct 1890 (Chicago)
Registered to Vote: 25 Oct 1892 (Chicago)
Naturalized: 29 Oct 1892 (Chicago)
Occupation: Coachman (Chicago)
Died: 1 Nov 1898 (Chicago)

I thought that I might try and "go around" the sticky wicket of his immigration and try and find Charles in the UK prior to 1882.  So I spent several days searching the UK census records from 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891 for all of the Charles Folletts that I could find.  Why these dates?

Since Charles was born in approximately 1859, the 1861 census would be the first one where he would appear.  The 1871 census would put him at about 11 years old, and the 1881 census would be the last one where he would appear in England or Ireland seeing as how he moved to the U.S. in 1882.  So why search the 1891 census?  So I could trace all the Charles Folletts and rule out the ones who are still in England or Ireland in 1891.

Click here to see my chart (on Google Docs)

The blank "holes" in the chart are where I couldn't find individuals in the census records.  From this, I'm about 90% certain that Charles Follett number 1 in the chart is my guy. His father was a coachman and he worked as a groom. He was born in the right year, and disappeared from the census records at the right time.  His mother's name was Sarah and my Charles named his first daughter Sarah.

My problem is, that I can't connect him to the Charles Follett in the US. I just don't have the immigration documents to "prove" well enough in my mind that this is the right guy. I don't want to "waste" the time researching him further and then find out down the road that he's not the right guy.  My husband (the non-genealogist who doesn't have an interest in doing family history work) seems to think I should claim him as mine, but I'm just not sure.  What do you all think?

Charles Follett is my Great-Great Grandfather on my mother's side.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks # 21 - Julia Ana Schroeder

This is #21 in a Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow over on her blog "No Story Too Small." The challenge is to write 52 blog posts on 52 ancestors throughout 2014

I'm way behind in this challenge, but I'm still continuing on! 


Juliana Schroeder was born 131 years before I was, on August 15, 1848 in Hanover, Germany.  When she was 17 years old, she immigrated to the United States at the tail end of the Civil War, and at some point, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, which had a large German immigrant population.

Sometime between 1865 and 1870, she met and married George Bernard Knoppe, but the actual date hasn't yet been found. Unfortunately, the City records for this time period were lost in a fire.  I know that they were Catholic as they were buried in a Catholic cemetery, but the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has closed its archives and has no plans to re-open them for genealogy research any time soon. So I cannot check their records for any marriages or birth records.

Julia had 11 children total, with only 8 surviving until the 1900 census.  Her first child, Henry A Knoppe, was born in 1870. At the time, Julia, George and Henry were living at 12 Noble Court, Cincinnati, an address which no longer exists. Anna Marie Knoppe was born in 1871.

There was a three year break before Julia's third child, Louis (Ludwig), was born in 1874. Unfortunately, Louis would die at the age of 10 in 1884. By 1874, the Knoppe family had moved to 179 Barr street, Cincinnati.

Son George Bernard Knoppe Jr., was born in 1876 and the family was in a new home at 20 Wilstach Street, Cincinnati (another street that no longer exists). Daughter, Ella Knoppe, was born in 1878. At this time, I can only assume that Ella was a twin as there is another baby who is listed as being born and dying on the same day in 1878. This child was unnamed.

After Ella, another daughter, Mary J. was born in 1880.  Mary was born at 20 Wilstach street, but shortly after her birth, the family moved to a house on "Washington Avenue, north of Warsaw."

The Price Hill Streetcar Incline
Photo 1906
picture from Shorpy
Another set of twins, Benjamin and Bernard were born in 1882. After the twins, the family moved to the Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati. Price Hill was an up-and-coming, middle class neighborhood, and news-paper real estate records show George and Julia purchasing "a small vacant lot" there.  Charles Louis Knoppe was born in 1884 at their new home, 3645 Laclede Ave.

All this time, Julia's husband George had been progressing in his job. George worked for the Cincinnati police department and had been promoted to Lieutenant.  A family set-back occurred when there was a "shake-up" in the Cincinnati Police Force.  According to the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Museum, "During 1886, there was a great upheaval in the Cincinnati Police Department. Literally, on one day, the entire police department was fired; all 400 of them. On the next day, the City hired 300 to replace them. Some were from the 'old' department and some were not. In any case, there is a clear gap in our records with regard to those who were not. And, clearly, Lieutenant Knoppe was not."

George switched professions and became a carpenter. He was apparently able to earn enough to stay in the home on Laclede, as the family lived there until 1903.

Four years after Charles was born, Julia and George's last son, Edward Thomas Knoppe was born in 1888.

The family lived a comfortable middle class existence. When he was old enough, son Henry joined George at the Carpentry business and other children got jobs as they grew up. Some becoming carpenters, others becoming bartenders. The girls worked as receptionists, stenographers, or hair-dressers.

In 1893, tragedy struck with Julia's husband dying suddenly at the age of 48. In 1900, Julia is working as a laundress, and all the other children are working except for young Edward who is "at School."

In 1897, Julia made the newspapers (the Cincinnati Enquirer) in a not-so-usual way. Here is a transcription of the article:

Cincinnati Enquirer, October 8, 1897
CYST TUMOR Of Unusual Dimensions Removed From the Head of Mrs. Knoppe.

One of the largest cyst tumors of the scalp of which there is any record was removed from the head of Mrs. Julia Knoppe of 3645 Laclede avenue, Price Hill, on Wednesday afternoon. The operation was performed by Dr. G. W. Moor, assisted by Dr. Perry Jacobe. The indications are that the work will result successfully. The tumor had been growing for years, because Mrs. Knoppe would not undergo a surgical operation. At last, when the growth attained the size of a large cocoanut, thereby preventing her from making her appearance in public, she decided to have it removed. It grew at the top of the forehead in the center.

I can only assume that she was stubborn about going to the doctor, much like several of her descendants whom I know very well.  I have not found any medical history records about this.

In 1903, Julia sold the house at 3645 Laclede Ave, and moved around the corner to 1025 Sturm Street. They were there for a year before moving around the next corner to 3703 St. Lawrence Avenue.  Julia lived at 3703 St. Lawrence avenue until her death in 1915.  She is buried in Old St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery.

Julia is my great-great grandmother on my father's side.

Friday, July 25, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #20 - Anna Slezinska

This is #20 in a Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow over on her blog "No Story Too Small." The challenge is to write 52 blog posts on 52 ancestors throughout 2014

I'm way behind in this challenge, but I'm still continuing on!

Anna Slezinska was born in Putzig, West Prussia (now Puck, Poland) on the 18th of June, 1853.  I do not know her birth parents' names.

She married Anton Rossman in 1879 and shortly there after, her first daughter, Juliana Rossman, was born.

Anna Slezinska Rossman
Shortly after Juliana's birth, Anton and Anna made a decision to move  their new family to the United States. They boarded the Cumberland, in Hamburg, Germany and headed for Leith (now just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland. From Leith, they traveled to Glasgow, Scotland where they boarded the Circassia for New York.  They left Hamburg, Germany on the 19th of March, 1880, and arrived in New York on the 12 of April, 1880.

 The family then proceeded to Chicago where more children were born to Anna and Anton: Marciana (Maggie) in 1882, Rose in 1885, Frank in 1887, Pauline (Polly) in 1889, Sarafine (Sarah) in 1892, and possibly Elizabeth or Hedwigis in 1894.  I haven't yet been able to completely verify Elizabeth and Hedwigis yet.

Anton, Anna, and family were active in St. Joseph's Catholic Parish in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. In the church records, there are two other Slezinski's; August and Juliana. I suspect that these people are siblings of Anna, however as of yet, I have not found definitive proof.  Anna was the godmother for August's daughter Rosalia, and August was the godfather of one of Anna's grandsons. (Remember this drawing I did trying to figure out relationships earlier?)

As with most married women with children at the time, Anna is described in census records as being "At home."  Anton and Anna owned their building, 4814 Marshfield Ave, but rented out parts of it to between 2 and 4 families at a time.  I don't know how many rooms they kept for themselves, but the building itself in modern times appears to be a 2 flat.


Anna died on the 27th of October, 1919.

Anna is my 3rd great-grandmother on my father's side.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - #19 - Juliana Rossmann

This is #19 in a Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow over on her blog "No Story Too Small." The challenge is to write 52 blog posts on 52 ancestors throughout 2014

I'm way behind in this challenge, but I'm still continuing on! 

Juliana Rossmann was born on the 14th of May, 1879 in Putzig, Westpruessen, Prussia - now called Puck, Poland.  She was the first child of Anton Rossmann and Anna Slezinski. When Juliana was not even one year old, the new family decided to move to the United States. They boarded the Cumberland, in Hamburg, Germany and headed for Leith (now just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland. From Leith, they traveled to Glasgow, Scotland where they boarded the Circassia for New York.  They left Hamburg, Germany on the 19th of March, 1880, and arrived in New York on the 12 of April, 1880.

Once Juliana's family settled in Chicago, she wound up with six more siblings. The family lived at 4812 S. Marshfield Ave. in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. This neighborhood was populated by successive generations of immigrants and was located down-wind of the Union Stockyards and meat-packing plants.

Possible photo of Juliana Rossmann
ca. 1915 - 1920 (ish)
This photo is included in an old family
photo album in a section of photos
of Juliana's grown children on vacation.
As it is not labeled, I cannot be sure that
it really is her, but I'm about 90% certain.
In 1897, when Juliana was eighteen, she married John J. Bettcher in St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Chicago. 11 months later, Juliana and John's first child, Agnes, was born in December 1897. Their second child, Anthony, was born early in 1899, and a third child, Helen, was born in 1900.

By this time, Juliana and John were living just a block away from where her parents lived - still in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, but at 4921 S. Marshfield. Census records show that it wasn't just John and Juliana in the home, her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Bettcher was living there too. In fact, Elizabeth owned the home and on the census records, John and Juliana were renting from her.

The next time we see Juliana and John in any records is the 1910 census. By this time, four more children joined the family: Anna in 1901, Rose in 1904, Polly in 1906, and Albert in 1908. The census indicates that Juliana had a total of 9 children, with 7 still living. Unfortunately, Albert had a twin brother, Adam, who was stillborn and John Bettcher was born in 1902 and died 4 months later in 1903.

Five years later, in 1915, Juliana's husband, John, was found dead in an alley. He had slipped, fallen, and frozen to death on a cold day in February.  Juliana kept on, though. Her oldest children were working in the stockyards or in other factories.

By 1920, Juliana owned 4921 Marshfield outright. In addition to 6 of her children and herself, Juliana had a sister-in-law, a neice, and two borders all living with her on the first floor of the home. She rented out the second floor to two more families.

On the 22nd of February, 1929, Juliana Rossmann Bettcher passed away at the age of 50. She is buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, IL.

Juliana is my great-great-grandmother on my father's side.

Monday, May 05, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - #18 - The Memory in a Scent

This is #18 in a Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow over on her blog "No Story Too Small." The challenge is to write 52 blog posts on 52 ancestors throughout 2014

My last living uncle recently passed away. Our family is in the middle of planning a memorial luncheon for him and I've been tasked with going through scans of old family albums to find pictures to display at the memorial.  As a result, each night I find myself eye to eye with people I loved deeply who are no longer here with us. My grandfathers. My grandmother. My uncles. My aunts. All in stages of their lives that I never knew.

I've started dreaming about these relatives and memories of them are fresh in my mind. My grandfather's hugs and the scratchy feel of the slip-cover on his favorite chair. My aunt letting her crazy dog out the back-door and us racing to get in the front door before he could run around the house and jump on us. An uncle making us "pull the finger." Memories have been floating around me constantly, brushing against my cheek and catching me unawares for weeks now.

Today, while tidying up my dresser and putting those miscellaneous small things away which always accumulate on surfaces, I found a small dusty bottle of perfume in the back of one of the drawers.

Recognizing the bottle, I smiled, untwisted the cap, and sniffed. My body's reaction to the perfume was visceral. A flood of tears came to my eyes and my stomach tied in knots as I remembered. Grandma Rose always wore Emeraude.

That perfume bottle smelled like her hugs. It smelled like the memory of barreling down a twisty, winding road in rural Connecticut, laughing like crazies, at least 25 miles over the speed-limit, in
Grandma Rose and me
search of the funny dips in the road that caused your stomach to jump a little... those incredible things she called "tickle-bellies." It smelled like leaning over her shoulder as she cross-stitched and watching her needle go in and out of the fabric while she talked to my mom about whatever. It smelled like that moment returning home from school to find her little car in our driveway and to know that she was waiting inside. 

I wasn't prepared for the flood of memories and the immediate sense of grief that I had from smelling that perfume. After standing there a moment and basking in the memories, I breathed deeply, twisted the cap back on, and gently placed the little bottle back into the recesses of my dresser.

I love you Grandma Rose, and I miss you. I'll never forget you. Not that I could. Your bottle of Emeraude won't let me.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #17 - John Hoffman

This is #17 in a Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow over on her blog "No Story Too Small." The challenge is to write 52 blog posts on 52 ancestors throughout 2014

*Note - I got behind in my ancestors and so may be publishing more than one a week as I attempt to catch up.

John Hoffman was born on the 23rd of April, 1864 in Newport Kentucky. The first son of Louis Hoffman and Susie Seibert, John was born when his mother was approximately 19 years old and his father was 36 years old. He had at least 7 verified siblings and possibly a few others whom I have not quite yet verified.

St. Stephen's Catholic Church
Newport, Kentucky
In 1880, when John was 15, he was marked in the census as being a "Laborer" along with his 13 year old brother Absolam. It is unknown where they worked, as their father was a farmer.  They could have been laborers on their own farm or hired out to other places.

On September 6, 1887, John married Elizabeth (Emma) Sticklin (Stoecklin) in Campbell County, Kentucky. According to their Marriage License, they were married by a Roman Catholic priest named Jos Menschuann (sp?). I have so far been unable to find which church they were married in.

In 1888, John and Emma's first daughter, Regina was born on June 7th. In 1890, a second daughter was added to their family. Marie (May) was born in Newport, Kentucky on the 27th of May. Both girls were baptized in St. Stephen's Catholic Church in Newport, Kentucky.

In 1891, 3 year old Regina died from diphtheria.


In 1900, John, Emma and May moved from Newport to Cold Springs, Kentucky where John was working as a farmer.

Their daughter May married George Bernard Knoppe on the 26th of January, 1909.

By 1910, Emma and John had returned to Newport where John found work in a Brewery.

Sometime prior to 1910, the Hoffman's had adopted a boy named Louis Butts. My grandmother started to compile a genealogy many years ago and her notes from family stories state:
"John Hoffman had friends named Butts. Butts had a son named Lou. The Butts died of flu during WWI and son Lou was put in St. Josephs Orphanage. John and Elizabeth Hoffman adopted Lou. Lou took the name of Hoffman."
While my grandmother's notes indicate that Lou joined the family after the flu epidemic and WWI, he was living with John and Emma in 1910 and is listed as "son."
John Hoffman with one of his
grandsons in 1926 at Coney Island.
This is the only picture we have of him.

In 1920, John and Emma were living at 229 7th street in Newport, Kentucky. Their daughter, May, and her husband George were living with them.  John was listed as a store-keeper in a saloon that he owned. His prior experience in a Brewery apparently helping him.

The family business was apparently successful enough that John, Emma, May, her husband George and John's first grandson were able to take a trip to Coney Island, New York in 1926.

In 1929, Emma passed away on the 10th of June, after 42 years of marriage.

John continued to live with his daughter May and her family though he apparently did not continue as a saloon-keeper. In the 1930 census, his employment is listed as "General Contractor."

John passed away on the 21st of December, 1936 at the age of 72.  At the time of his death, the family was living at 3428 DeCoursey, in Newport, Kentucky where the family was running a cafe / soda-shop at that address.  He is buried with his wife and other family members in St. Stephen's Cemetery, in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. 


John Hoffman is my 2nd great-grandfather on my father's side.
 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: # 15 and 16 - Daniel Donnelly

This is #15-16 in a Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Amy Johnson Crow over on her blog "No Story Too Small." The challenge is to write 52 blog posts on 52 ancestors throughout 2014

I really should have pre-written a post for last week as when I returned from Russia I was in no state to write a genealogy post. So I'm combining weeks 15 and 16 into one post.

I've chosen to focus on another mystery person; Daniel Donnelly, the husband of Anne O'Neill. Most of what I know about him came from the research I did into her. I actually have to work backwards in his life to try and guess-timate his dates.

I know that Anne O'Neill Donnelly was widowed by the 1901 census and that she lived in County Tyrone, Ireland near to the town of Pomeroy. So Daniel had to have died prior to 1901. Their youngest child, that I know of, was born in 1885, so Daniel had to have been alive at least until 1884. This means that I have death years narrowed to between 1885 and 1901.

I know that Anne O'Neill had indicated on a census record that she had been married for 39 years before he died.  Even if he died early in 1901, that puts the date of their marriage to prior to 1862.  Anne would have been 19 in 1862. Typically the grooms are a little older than the brides but with Anne at 19, the youngest I would expect Daniel to be would be around 18 - (born around 1844) but he could be anywhere up to the age of 30 (born around 1832).

So what do I know about Daniel?  He was a farmer - I know that from my great-grandfather Edward Donnelly's birth certificate. He was born sometime between 1832 and 1844. He married Anne O'Neill sometime around 1862, and he died sometime between 1885 and 1901. 

I know that Edward Donnelly was Catholic. It would be safe to assume that his parents were Catholic as well.  Unfortunately, the Catholic church's records for the parish near Sluggan
are only available in Ireland. I would either have to go there or hire someone to search the records for me.  Until then, I've at least got approximate dates for in case the opportunity arises for me to travel to Ireland.