Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

In Search of the Schulte Line, Part 4: Mystery or Soap Opera? You Decide!

(click to enlarge)

Our story so far:
Part 1, in which the Bloodhound Cousins discover the German hometown of our Meyer-Schulte ancestors,
Part 2, in which we perch a fresh bunch of Schulte, Hagedorn, and Friderici ancestors in the distal branches of our Familienbaum, and
Part 3, in which we figure out where the mysterious niece Lizzie Schulte came from, but then she disappears.
Who among us can let sleeping ancestors lie? Probably nobody who's reading this. Certainly not Cheryl and I. Our great great grandfather's niece Lizzie Schulte was in her mid-30s in 1911, the year of the last document we found with her name on it. Did she move back to Germany? Die young? Get married? Cheryl and I speculated a bit, but we were clueless.

Clueless, that is, until we discovered that Cheryl has been sitting on a key piece of our Schulte puzzle for decades. It was exactly what we needed in order to see the whole eye-poppin' picture. Here, read over our shoulder:

Cheryl emailed me:
I had my mother sort out two huge boxes full of my Schulte materials. She worked on it all day. In the end we had 15 piles, one pile for each family group - Joseph & Alvina, Rudolph & Juliane, Elmer & Ella, etc.

Some things I found bear sharing with you, and maybe you will have some ideas on this. I typed 5 family group sheets that all show Josephine [a granddaughter of Joseph Meyer Schulte by his daughter Ida] as the source. On March 18, 1981, Josephine told me that her grandfather Joseph had a brother who had 3 children that she knew of and their names were Elizabeth, known as Lizzie, Mary and Rosa - in that order - Lizzie oldest, then Mary and then Rosa. Elizabeth, Mary and Rosa were all born in Germany. Remember that photo you have of Joseph and a young girl sitting on the porch of an old house? We wondered about that at the time and here is the answer. She was indeed his niece and the daughter of his brother, and also sister to Mary and Rosa. Now WHICH brother of Joseph, I wonder. All those Beckum records we found showed siblings of our Joseph, but which one could be the father of these 3?

Josephine told me that she didn't know if this niece Lizzie ever married. She said that the daughter Rosa married (Josephine didn't know Rosa's husband's name) and had a son named Eric...

[Readers, what's that sound? Is the name Eric ringing any bells for you?]

...and she said that the middle daughter Mary was married to Herman Koenig and they had a son Paul H. Koenig who married your Marceline (Corneilson). Is that right? Was Paul Koenig's mother a Schulte, also??? I just looked back on all your Koenig posts in Before My Time and you DO mention Paul's father as being a Herman Koenig but I don't see any mention of who his mother was. Do you know? Is it possible this information from Jo is correct? That Paul's mother was a Mary Schulte, niece of our Joseph???

And I emailed her back:
Holy cats, Paul's mother, a Schulte!! Well, I have no idea about any of this, I've never heard it before. I have never heard what her name was, nor anything about her being related to the Schultes, but I suppose it's possible. Paul's immigration record says he was from Buer which was where his father lived. I did not find it in my German road atlas, but I did find a Büren which appears to be only about 50 km from Beckum.

Hey, in the Hebert post, there is a census showing Paul's brother Alfons staying with his aunt and uncle, Fred and ELIZABETH Hebert, and Elizabeth was from Germany and maybe she was Lizzie Schulte the niece???? Alfons' mother's sister???? AND in the census with the nephew Alfons staying with them, they have another German nephew staying with them named ERICH Roehrken!!!

Oh, my, you and I together are a genealogical force to be reckoned with!! I bet this is how Paul and Marceline met! They were COUSINS!!
That was the Aha! moment in our Schulte research. Did you see it coming? (My grandmother would have known all this, of course, but my interest in family history, which really burgeoned in 1987 when I discovered how to organize it with genealogy forms, came too late.)

I sent off for Paul's death certificate, and there it was in black & white:

Paul Herman Koenig, son of Herman Koenig and Maria Schulte
(click to enlarge)

From Lizzie's 1909 ship manifest, we learned that her father was Heinrich Schulte. And we did indeed have a Beckum birth record for Heinrich Schulte, our Joseph's brother, both of which you read about in Part 3 of this series.

Readers as eagle-eyed as Cheryl might have discovered another piece of the puzzle (which I so cleverly hid in plain sight!) in Two Mrs. and a Frau. There were actually zwei Frauen of interest in Maria Koenig's 1950 ship manifest. Listed directly above Maria is her sister, Rosina Rorken, also traveling to Detroit. Her destination was surely the home of her son, Erich.

Next, we need to unearth a few things, such as:
  • a Detroit city directory listing for Erich Roehrken at 13939 Rochelle ca. 1950
  • the date of Elizabeth Hebert's death (or where she is buried), so we can order a death certificate which may show that her father was Heinrich Schulte, or...
  • the marriage record (where? when?) of Fred and Elizabeth Hebert, which should also name her parents
  • German churchbooks documenting the marriage of Heinrich Schulte and the births of his three daughters (and possibly others)
Readers who can shed any light on this topic, please use the Comments feature at the bottom of this post to contact me. Include your email address for a personal response. Any comment containing an email address or other personal contact information will not be published to the blog.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

92 Years Ago Today

Peter McArthur & Emma Krintz, married 21 July 1915
(click to enlarge)

Several years ago, before internet research really took off, I stopped in Baker, Montana to see if I could learn anything about my grandpa's sister Emma who homesteaded there almost a century ago.

Emma was married to Peter McArthur July 21, 1915. When I went looking for a copy of her marriage record, the clerk disappeared briefly and soon returned, not with a copy but with the original document in hand, complete with an imprinted gold seal and rubber-stamped document number. The McArthurs had never picked up their certificate after the marriage was recorded. It was given to me!

I felt like I was sneaking out of there with the Hope diamond or something, but Peter and Emma had no children, so I had no obligation to turn the document over to anyone. I couldn't have been more excited or amazed.

I love the benefits of internet genealogy, I really do. But on-site research turns up some great surprises!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

We interrupt this series to bring you the other series . . .

A Sorted Past, Week 2: Two Mrs. and a Frau

Some of you may recall reading late last year about my Uncle Paul Koenig and his brother Alfons, who immigrated from Germany in 1923 and 1929, respectively. (If you missed it and want to catch up, click the "koenig" label at the bottom of this post.)

I don't remember ever meeting Alfons or even hearing anything about him, although in my mind, I can easily imagine my Uncle Paul, who spoke with a slight German accent, saying his name. I didn't know whether Alfons had ever married, but I was curious about him. My first stop in looking for information about him was the Social Security Death Index. There were three Alfons Koenig listings, one of whom last resided in Hamtramck, Michigan. That, I thought, could be my guy.

From there I went to the Advanced Search, entered the surname Koenig along with Hamtramck as the Last Residence, and searched again. This time, two names came up, Alfons and Eleanore. It looked good, but still, I couldn't be sure these were the right Koenigs. I could send for Alfons' death certificate, but at $17 per, Detroit's death certificates are pretty spendy if they turn out to be for somebody else's relatives. I decided to wait for a sign.

It wasn't long in coming. In my ongoing project to sort through boxes of unfiled genealogy stuff, I found this 1950 snapshot labeled, "Eleanore, Paul's mother, Marceline."

3 Koenig wives at 534 Townsend Avenue, Detroit - 1950
(If it weren't for my ruthless cropping, you could read
the house number in the window over Eleanore's head.)

Doesn't Eleanore look just like Joan Crawford?

When I emailed the snapshot to Cheryl, she decided to see if she could find a ship manifest that might tell us Paul's mother's given name and the exact year this picture was taken. We already had an approximate idea, based on the estimated age of a child in another photograph taken during Mrs. Koenig's visit.

And sure enough, Cheryl found the record. At the age of 76, Mrs. Koenig, No. 10 on the manifest below, traveled First Class on the Westerdam, leaving Rotterdam on July 8, 1950, and arriving at the port of New York on July 17. Paul's father Hermann must have died before then, because Maria is listed as single, not married. Her destination was 534 Townsend Avenue in Detroit, home of Paul and Marceline.

Maria Koenig traveled to the United States in July 1950
to visit her sons, Paul and Alfons, who had been living
in Detroit, Michigan for more than two decades.

At 76, the traveling was probably difficult for her, and the language barriers somewhat challenging as well, but Maria must have been very excited to see her sons. I don't know whether she'd seen them since they emigrated from their homeland, or whether she'd met their wives before this trip. We haven't found any additional travel documents for any of them.

I hope she had a wonderful trip!

Paul Koenig and his mother Maria
(click to enlarge)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

In Search of the Schulte Line, Part 3: International Affairs

Joseph Meyer Schulte and his niece, Lizzie Schulte
(click to enlarge)

My grandmother wrote on this photograph, "Grandpa Schulte - Lizzie Schulte, his neice." (Evelyn deliberated over the spelling of niece, as I always do, and went the wrong way with it!) The photo was taken by H.A. Coesfeld of Detroit (rubberstamped on the back of the cardboard mount).

The photo didn't come to me until after Evelyn's death in 1988. My mother wasn't able to tell me anything about this niece, probably because her great grandfather Joseph died in October 1921, a year before she was born. I briefly considered the possibility that Evelyn had made a mistake, and meant to write "Lizzie Schulte, his daughter," but Lizzie the daughter was Evelyn's mother. That certainly doesn't seem like the kind of mistake she would make, even if she was a little forgetful.

I made a very high resolution scan of the photo (720 ppi) to see if I could get a better look at Joseph and his niece, and was surprised with the amount of detail that was available. In the original photo, Lizzie's face is just 1/16" wide, and Joseph's just a tiny bit wider, but still less than 1/8". In the enlargement below, you can clearly see facial expressions, the wrinkles in Joseph's knuckles, and the needlework project that Lizzie is knitting or crocheting. You can also see the house address, 942.

(click to enlarge)

In May 2005, I emailed a copy of this photo to my Schulte cousin Cheryl, with some questions:
To me, this seems to mean that Joseph Meyer Schulte had a brother who had a daughter named Lizzie, and that she was in Detroit at some point in time. Do you have any more info on that? Something that would shed some light on who this Lizzie is? Do you know whether Joseph had a brother? Do you know who might have had a home address with the number 942?
She didn't, and we began our quest to find the German roots of the Schulte family. You've read quite a bit about that already in Part 1 and Part 2.

The Schulte family immigrated in 1872, and to date, we are not aware that they made any return visit to Germany when Joseph's wife Alvina was still alive. We discovered, however, that after her death in 1902, Joseph did travel back to his homeland, several times, in fact.

(click to enlarge any ship manifest in this post)

In 1904, Joseph returned from a trip to Germany. Although his name appears alone on the ship manifest above, he was not traveling alone. His companion was listed on a different page:

As far as we know, this was the niece Elisabeth's first trip to the U.S. We were convinced that these two records belong to our Schultes because of the destination given in Elisabeth's record: Uncle Joseph Schulte, 942 Forest Ave. E. Str., Detroit, Mich. This is the same house address that appears in our photo of Joseph and niece Lizzie.

Cheryl found another manifest for these two traveling companions in 1906, and once again their destination was 942 Forest Avenue E.

(left side of 1909 manifest)

In 1909, Elisabeth apparently traveled alone to Germany and back. In this record of her return, it's noted that she is a non-immigrant alien, and we were very excited to discover the name of her father, Heinrich Schulte, and even his street address in Hamm, Germany.

(right side of 1909 manifest)

We also learned that Joseph had moved to 1220 Bellevue in Detroit, and we found him and Lizzie enumerated there in the 1910 census.

(left side of 1911 manifest)

All this international travel must have been pretty expensive, don't you think? It seems Joseph was determined to spend our inheritance*, so off they went, he and Lizzie, to Germany again in 1911. I won't say this record of their return is better than an inheritance, but Cheryl and I were seriously excited to learn that Lizzie's mother's name was also Elisabeth, that her father had apparently died since her last trip home, and that her mother was living in Münster.

(right side of 1911 manifest)

What's more, we also learned that Lizzie was born in Hamm, and was 5'7" with blond hair and brown eyes.

After the 1911 ship manifest, our little wellspring of niece Lizzie Schulte float documents goes dry. Bone dry. Desert dry. Dial dry (uh-oh, don't go there!). Though we sniffed around, the Bloodhound Cousins Cheryl and TK dug up nothing. We were fishing in a Dead Sea.

Lizzie's father Heinrich was born in Beckum, like his younger siblings including Joseph.

10 March 1841 birth and baptism record of Johann Heinrich Schulte
(click to enlarge)

Heinrich was one of seven children born to Johann Hermann Meÿer Schulte and his wife, Maria Gertrud Hagedorn.

Hermann was more than three decades older than Gertrud. (Their marriage record appears in Part 2.) It's possible she was not his first wife, but I didn't find any other marriage records for him in the Beckum churchbooks.

1855 death record of Herman Schulte, weaver
(click to enlarge)

In addition, a Beckum death record which appears to be his indicated he was survived by six living children, all of whom seem to be accounted for in the Family Group Record below. In this entry, the age appears to be off by two and a half years. Herman would have turned 67 in December 1855. However, I didn't find any other death records in the appropriate timeframe, and Gertrud Hagedorn remarried in 1859.

1859 marriage of Heinrich Altepeter and the widow of weaver Herm. Schulte
(click to enlarge)

Although the marriage record does not show Gertrud's given name, subsequent birth records for the Altepeter children do.


Husband: Johan Hermann MEŸER (also MEŸER SCHULTE)
Born: 14 December 1788 in Herzfeld, Westfalen, Germany
Father: Johan Herman MEŸER
Mother: Maria Clara FRIDERICI
Married: 11 August 1840 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany
Died: 20 May 1855 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany
Burial: 23 May 1855 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany

Wife: Maria Gertrud HAGEDORN
Born: 13 December 1820 in Wadersloh, Westfalen, Germany
Father: unnamed
Mother: Clara Elisabeth HAGEDORN
Second Husband: Heinrich ALTEPETER
Married: 8 February 1859 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany


1 Name: Johann Heinrich SCHULTE
Born: 10 March 1841 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany
[Proposed] Spouse: Elisabeth ---
[Proposed] Died: About 1910 in Westfalen, Germany

2 Name: Joseph (Meyer) SCHULTE
Born: 7 February 1843 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany
Married: About 1866 in Germany
Spouse: Alvina Tobian
Died: 16 October 1921 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
Burial: 18 October 1921 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan

3 Name: Johann Theodor SCHULTE
Born : 10 January 1846 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany

4 Name: Maria Christina SCHULTE
Born: 6 February 1849 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany

5 Name: Louise (Ludewica) SCHULTE
Born: 9 January 1851 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany
Died: 31 January 1851 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany

6 Name: Maria Gertrud SCHULTE
Born: 22 December 1851 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany

7 Name: Franz SCHULTE
Born: 11 December 1853 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany


1 Name: Stephan ALTEPETER
Born: 21 August 1859 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany

2 Name: Anna Elisabeth ALTEPETER
Born: 19 November 1861 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany

3 Name: Johan Heinrich ALTEPETER
Born: 28 October 1865 in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany


But wait! There's more! Coming up in Part 4! Boy, were we surprised! Just wait till you learn what Cheryl found when she sorted through a box of papers!

Do you have any suspicions yet? Any interesting theories or hypotheses? You might. You could. The groundwork has been laid.


*My grandmother used to say that Grandpa Schulte came to this country with fifty cents and died with $100,000, leaving $20,000 to each of his children and $2,000 to each of his grandchildren. He must have been very successful in his various occupations: blacksmith, moneylender, insurance agent, and real estate agent.


Carnival of Genealogy: Surnames

The 28th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy has been posted by Jasia at Creative Gene. The topic Surnames has drawn a great and inspired response. Don't miss it!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In Search of the Schulte Line, Part 2: The Mystery of Meyer-Schulte

1843 birth and baptism record of Joseph Schulte
(click to enlarge)

After Cheryl and I located the German hometown of our common ancestor, Joseph Meyer Schulte (see Part 1 of this series), I ordered the Beckum microfilms from Salt Lake City and created a file in Family Tree Maker from the records I found. This database, Schulte and Others in Beckum, Westfalen, Germany, is available online at Rootsweb (and needs to be updated when I've finished entering the rest of the records I photographed from the Beckum films--someone ought to remind me to do that in, say, October. I should be recovered from this year's 'moving' experience by then).

Our great great grandfather's birth and christening were recorded in the Catholic churchbooks of Beckum. We had already known Joseph's birth date, which appeared on his death certificate. With that information, we had found the birth record indexed in the IGI, which also gave us Joseph's parents' names, so we were prepared for most of what we found in the churchbook entry. We were very interested, though, in the way Joseph's father was listed:

Joh. Herm. Schulte
Weber vulgo Meier-Schulte

This entry shows that Joseph's father, Johann Hermann Schulte was a weaver [Weber] who was commonly known as [vulgo] Meier-Schulte. In the records of Joseph's siblings, their father's name was listed with or without the vulgo notation as Johann Hermann Meier Schulte, Meyer Schulte, or Meÿer Schulte (which I misread as Meijer Schulte because, handwritten, it looks the same).

Neither Cheryl nor I had run across anything like this in our previous German research. We pitched ideas back and forth, one after another, trying to guess how this anomaly might have come about.

Marriage record of Johann Hermann Schulte and Maria Gertrud Hagedorn
(click to enlarge)

The plot thickened when we got a look at the 11 August 1840 marriage record of our Joseph's parents.

Zimmermann Herm. Schulte
geb Meyer in Herzfeld

In the groom's column, Johann Hermann Schulte again had the vulgo Meyer Schulte notation. And in the column identifying the father of the groom, the carpenter [Zimmermann] Hermann Schulte was said to have been born [geb., i.e. geboren] Meyer in Herzfeld.

Now we're getting somewhere, I thought, and hastened to order the Herzfeld microfilm.

On this map of Kreis Beckum, the arrow points to Herzfeld.
Beckum Stadt and Wadersloh are highlighted. You might as well
notice Hamm also, west of the arrow. It won't hurt you to
know where it is when we get to Part 3 of this series.
(click to enlarge)

The bride, Maria Gertrud Hagedorn, was identified as the illegitimate daughter of Elisabeth Hagedorn of Wadersloh (spelled Watersloh in this record), so I ordered the Wadersloh microfilm too, which, as it turned out, provided some key information.

December 1820 birth (13th) and christening (14th) record
of Maria Gertrud Hagedorn - Wadersloh, Germany
(click to enlarge)

When you look at the enlarged view of this record, you will see that light notations have been added to several of the entries in this churchbook, including the one for Maria Gertrud Hagedorn, Joseph Meyer Schulte's mother.

[?] Beckum
11 8 1840 mit
[J Herm?] Schulte get. Herzfeld, 14.12.1788

To the best of my interpretive abilities, this light notation indicates that Maria Gertrud was married in Beckum on 11 August 1840 to Johann Hermann Schulte, who was christened [getauft] in Herzfeld on 14 December 1788. We have already seen the marriage record (above), and we'll get to that Herzfeld christening record in a moment, but before we leave this document, we might as well have a quick look at the other notation.

Elisabeth Hagedorn, Maria Gertrud's mother
[getauft?] 22 7 1798

Although this notation is very hard to read, a search for Elisabeth's christening record did turn up this entry for a Clara Elisabeth Hagedorn on 22 July 1798.

(click to enlarge)

Now, about that Herzfeld christening record. I was excited to have found the date cross-referenced in the Wadersloh churchbook, and when I got to the Herzfeld microfilm, I went straight to the record.

1788 christening record of Johan Hermann Meÿer
Herzfeld, Germany

(click to enlarge)

As expected, the record was dated 14 December 1788. The surname Schulte, however, does not appear in the record, as was written in the Wadersloh notation. Johan Hermann's father was listed as Johan Herman Meÿer, not Schulte.

His mother was listed as Clara Friderici, [illegible] Meÿer. I don't know what the illegible word is. I considered Weduwe (widow), although that doesn't look quite right with that high-rising letter toward the end of the word. And if it were widow, what might the meaning be? That the baby's father Johan Herman had died sometime during her pregnancy? That Johan Herman was perhaps a second husband and, say, brother or cousin of Clara's first husband?

27 November 1778 marriage record of
Hermann Meÿer and Clara Friderici
(click to enlarge)

Hermann and Clara were married in 1778. Even if she were a widow when she married Hermann, it seems unlikely that she would still be identified as such ten years later in the birth record of a child fathered by Hermann.

21 December 1755 christening record of Maria Clara Friderici
(click to enlarge)

Clara was born in December 1755, which means she was just 23 when she married Herman. It's certainly possible that she was a widow at that time, but seems unlikely. In addition, I did not find any prior marriage record to support that theory.
12 November 2007 Update: Many thanks to Georg Friederici, who contacted me to let me know that the illegible word which I thought might be Weduwe is actually condicta. I checked a couple of Latin genealogical word lists and didn't find it, but a Latin-to-English translation engine gave me "to agree, fix, settle, make arrangements." In this instance, I think it just means that Clara Friderici was Mrs. Meÿer. Thank you, Georg!
The other theory, that Herman died during the time Clara was pregnant with Johan Hermann, lost credibility when I found another christening record.

December 1795 birth (12th) and christening (29th) record
of Johann Bernard Meyer
(click to enlarge)
I like this record because it supports the idea that Clara and Maria Clara Friderici are one and the same person. But now we have another interesting twist in the Meyer-Schulte surname mystery.

Carl Schulte, natus

The Latin word natus means born. Exactly what is the meaning of this notation, Carl Schulte, natus? Let's add another document to the heap before we proceed. Oops, I mean, let's add another child to this family...

10 December 1791 christening record of Friderica Juliana... Schulte?
(click to enlarge)

Between the birth of Johann Hermann and Johann Bernard, a daughter, Friderica Juliana. But what is her surname?

The parents are listed as Carl Schulte and Clara Friderici in this record. So, what is this guy's name, anyhow? Let's bring on his christening record and see what we can find out from that.

24 March 1750 christening record of Joan Herman Meÿer
(click to enlarge)

I didn't find a record for anyone named Carl Schulte. I did find Joan Herman Meÿer, born in the appropriate timeframe to be our guy. (As a point of interest, notice that the July 20th christening of Clara Friderici's sister is listed on this same page.) I believe this is our guy, which means, holy cow, there's a Balthasar in my tree!

Yes, I know, I'll get over it. But what about Carl Schulte?? Got any more documents? Well, yes, I do...

1823 birth and christening record of Anna Gertrudis Meÿer
(don't bother clicking, the important parts are below!)

How does Anna Gertrudis Meÿer fit into our picture? I don't know! And right now, we are more interested in Carl Schulte, remember? So have a look at Anna's father:

Christoph Meÿer genannt Carl Schulte

The German word genannt means named, called, or alias. Who is Christoph Meÿer and why is he called Carl Schulte? I don't know! But his daughter's godfather was...

Joh. Herm. Carlschulte!
People, don't ask me! I don't know!

Larry O. Jensen's A Genealogical Handbook of German Research (available free online, in downloadable PDF format) explains patronymics and occupational naming practices (p. 39) as well as farm and locality naming practices (p.41). After reading these two chapters--in the old hard-copy edition I've depended upon for years as my guide to German handwriting--I'm encouraged that I may yet find an answer to the Meyer-Schulte question.

You probably thought this was going to be like a cheap mystery novel where all the loose ends are tied up on the last page. It's not. It's more like the cliffhanger season finale of some weekly prime-time drama on TV, albeit without the guns and car chases. Next season, well, we may or may not resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Part 3 of this series is coming right up. Think of it as a spin-off...


The Meyer Schulte Appendix

With gratitude to Randy at Genea-Musings for the hook-up, I visited Ancestry's free Family Facts page to look up name meanings relevant to this story. The results were, shall we say, fairly conclusive?
  • MEYER - German and Dutch: from Middle High German meier, a status name for a steward, bailiff, or overseer, which later came to be used also to denote a tenant farmer, which is normally the sense in the many compound surnames formed with this term as a second element. Originally it denoted a village headman (ultimately from Latin maior ‘greater’, ‘superior’).
  • SCHULTE - North German and Dutch: status name from Middle Low German schulthete, Middle Dutch schulte ‘village headman’. Compare Schultz, Schultheis.
  • SCHULTEIS - German (Schultheiss) and Dutch: status name from Middle High German schultheize ‘village headman’. The term originally denoted a man responsible for collecting dues and paying them to the lord of the manor. See also Schultz 1.
  • SCHULTZ - German: status name for a village headman, from a contracted form of Middle High German schultheize. The term originally denoted a man responsible for collecting dues and paying them to the lord of the manor; it is a compound of sculd(a) ‘debt’, ‘due’ + a derivative of heiz(z)an ‘to command’. The surname is also established in Scandinavia.
  • CARL - 1. Variant spelling of Dutch, German, and Scandinavian Karl. 2. English: from the Anglo-Scandinavian personal name Karl(i), ultimately from Germanic karl ‘man’, ‘freeman’. See also Charles. 3. English: status name for a bondman or villein, from the vocabulary word karl, carl, which had various different meanings at various times: originally ‘man’, then ‘ordinary man’, ‘peasant’, and in Middle English specialized in the senses ‘free peasant’, ‘bondman’, ‘villein’, and ‘rough, churlish individual’.
  • KARL - German, Dutch, Scandinavian, and eastern and southern Slavic: from the personal name Karl, from a common Germanic word, Old High German karl ‘man’, ‘husband’, ‘freeman’. The popularity of this name and its cognates in central and northern Europe was greatly enhanced by its status as a royal and imperial name; in particular it was bestowed in honor of the Frankish emperor Charlemagne (in Latin, Carolus Magnus).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In Search of the Schulte Line, Part 1: Synergism in Research

This is a story about what happens when you share your research with an open hand.

Once upon a time--in fact it was April of 1989, about two years after I'd discovered the forms called Family Group Sheets and Pedigree Charts which set my fill-in-the-blanks mentality ablaze--I received a letter from a cousin I'd never met. (Odd, since we were just a month apart in age, and both grew up in the suburbs east of Detroit, and her grandfather was my mother's godfather... but I digress.)

You probably already know I'm talking about Cheryl (Two Sides of the Ocean). She'd already done considerable work on the line we had in common, that of Joseph Meyer Schulte, but had hit the brick wall in Germany. We corresponded a bit and shared what we knew, but both had other lines to work on which were more readily traced, so our contact, along with the Schulte research, languished until 2005.

My mother died in April of that year. Cheryl read her obituary and managed to track down my email address and re-establish contact with me. A lot had happened in the world of genealogy in the interim, and if that's not an understatement, I don't know what is. Probably everyone has a story to tell about how the advent of online research opened new doors for them.

In the intervening years, neither of us had learned any more about the German roots of the Schulte family. The only clue we had about their place of origin was something Cheryl found, the Masonic records of Joseph's son Rudolph, which gave his birthplace as Backen, Germany. However, there seemed to be no such place. As we traded emails on the subject, it occurred to Cheryl to ask a German cousin she'd met while researching another of her lines whether he knew anything of Backen.

She emailed Gerhard Kolberg and he soon replied:
I found two little towns near Muenster with names who are alike with [Backen]. These towns are "Borken" and "Beckum". Especially Borken is alike Backen if you write it with the old German letters called Suetterlin. This letters the most people used in the time till 1935.
With Gerhard's suggestion, Cheryl went to the Family History Library Catalog online and did a place search for Borkum. She emailed me with what she found:
...there are way too many records for Borken to break down as to where to start. Want to take a look? Let’s see if I can lead you there...

...then go to “place name” and type in “Borken” and then in the box below type in “Germany” and see how many records there are. We can try only the sites that say Borken, Westfalen, etc but still that would be reels and reels to order and scan. OK, I am going to take half of them and order them and start in on Monday looking – you can take the other half, ok? Ha!! Seriously, I wish we had a smidgen more information to help us feel comfortable in figuring out if this could be a possibility. What are your thoughts?

It looks like there are also Mormon-microfilmed records on the other similar sounding village of Beckum in Munster, Westphalen.
In an inspired moment that surprises even me, I thought to try looking up Joseph Meyer Schulte in the IGI to see whether the microfilms Cheryl mentioned might have been indexed. I found this:
6. JOSEPH SCHULTE - International Genealogical Index / GE
Gender: Male Christening: 09 FEB 1843 Sankt Stephan Katholisch, Beckum Stadt, Westfalen, Preussen
Although the father's name in this listing didn't match our expectations (Joseph's death certificate gives his father's name as Julius Schulte), both Cheryl and I were excited to find someone with the right name and birthdate in a place that sounded an awful lot like Backen. We shot emails back and forth that night at an alarming rate! More study of the IGI listings turned up additional Schulte entries and Hagedorn entries too.

Still, we wondered how to be sure this Joseph was our ancestor. I downloaded a GEDCOM of all the listings I thought were relevant, and wrote an email telling Cheryl how to do the same. As a last-minute thought, I added, "Hey, when you're going through the IGI again, notice if there are any Meyers or Myers... I didn't notice any, but I wasn't really looking." Since Joseph and many of his descendants had Meyer as a middle name, I thought if we could find people named Meyer in the same town, we couldn't possibly be on the wrong track.

Soon, Cheryl emailed me back:
WE DID IT!!!!! (I AM 99 99/100% SURE)

Your suggestion to look for Meyers or Myers did the trick. I have spent the last hour TRYING to download and my xxxxxxx pop up blocker is preventing me from doing so. I have turned it off and on – oh forget it for now, I am too excited and I printed out the records instead of downloading.

I went back thru the list as you suggested and looked for Meyers and guess what I found…..

4 records of children born to Johann Herman MEIER Schulte and Maria Gertrud Hagedorn – can you believe it. The children have the name MEIER in their surname and in one case hyphenated with Schulte. Now we have 6 children – 5 siblings for OUR Joseph (and, YES) I am more than ever convinced these are OUR family.
  • Joseph Schulte born 7 Feb 1843 son of Joh. Herm. Schulte and Maria Gertrud Hagedorn
  • Johann Theodor Schulte born 10 Jan 1846 son of Johann Hermann Schulte and Maria Gertrud Hagedorn
  • Maria Christina Meier Schulte born 6 Feb 1849 daughter of Johann Hermann Meier Schulte and Maria Gertrud Hagedorn
  • Louise Meyer Schulte born 9 Jan 1851 daughter of Johann Hermann Meyer Schulte and Maria Gertrud Hagedorn
  • Maria Gertrud Meyer Schulte born 22 Dec 1851 daughter of Johann Hermann Meyer Schulte and Maria Gertud (sp) Hagedorn (two babies in 1 year!)
  • Franz Meyer-Schulte (hyphenated) born 11 Dec 1853 son of Johan Hermann Meyer-Schulte and Maria Gertrud Hagedorn
With the three of us bringing our bits of knowledge and experience to the table, and with the gift of microfilming and indexing done by others, we not only enjoyed an exciting breakthrough in our research, but now had a new question, too:

Meyer-Schulte? What's that about?

In Part 2, we'll have a look at the microfilmed records and see what we can find out.

Below: Cheryl's first letter to me, 1989
(click to enlarge)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Sorted Past, Week 1: Commencement Program

In my last post, I promised you another fun document I found while sorting through a box of unfiled papers. I was referring to this one, a program from the First Annual Commencement of the Model High School. It was held June 15, 1906.

The location of the Model School was not given anywhere on the program, but it did say the Commencement was held in the Normal Chapel.

Milton E. Kerr, my grandfather's older brother, was one of the graduates. He had just turned 15 a month before graduation. At the Commencement, he delivered a recitation on Christian citizenship.

(click on these images to enlarge them for reading)

The thirteen members of the Model High School Class of 1906 were:
  • Harriet Mae McQuistion
  • Helen Griffith
  • Sylvia Eleanor Cooper
  • Martha Eva McCoy
  • Frank Dickson Campbell
  • John Henry Bingham
  • Milton Efner Kerr
  • Jessie Elizabeth Kissick
  • Gertrude Maude Lindsey
  • Jean Irene Moorhead
  • Thomas Dewitt Reed
  • Mary Jane Rodgers
  • Bessie Ida Clark
Also listed on the program were Arthur C. Fleshman, Principal, and Wm. M Stewart, Assistant.

Milton Efner Kerr ca. 1906
(click to enlarge)

Milton Efner Kerr was the son of Kate (Katharine) Pettis Kerr. His father, also named Milton E. Kerr, had died in 1895 when Milton was four years old. In 1902 Kate went to work as a teacher at Slippery Rock Normal School in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

I believe the Model School pictured above, located in Slippery Rock, is the one from which Milton graduated.

Prior to rediscovering this commencement program, I had thought Milton and Rosmer attended school in Mercer. For some time after their father's death, they lived in Mercer with their mother and maternal grandmother, in a home adjacent to that of their paternal grandparents. I didn't know whether Kate was commuting to work in Slippery Rock every day or whether she had moved there, and I don't recall ever hearing that Milton and Rosmer had lived in Slippery Rock. Consideration of the new information on this commencement program led me to take another look at the unidentified photo below.

(click to enlarge)

The only thing written on the back of the photo is "This is where we live, upstairs." There's not a clue as to the location of this house, but I've always thought it was from Rosmer's side of the family. Now I am convinced of that. I compared the handwriting with the few samples I have of Kate Pettis Kerr's handwriting. The letters s and t are particularly telling. Kate tended to high-cross the letter t, and she often finished the letter s with a tail similar to that of a Q. I feel certain the handwriting on this photo is hers.

I suspect this house stood in Slippery Rock a hundred years ago. Maybe it's still standing. My hope is that someone from Slippery Rock will recognize the house and let me know so I can rule out these other possibilities:
  • Winona MN
  • Chicago IL
  • Omaha NE
  • Mercer PA
  • Detroit MI
In any case, I now think both Kate and her children lived in Slippery Rock during the years she taught at the Normal School there. She may have sent this photo to her mother, Kate Efner Pettis who, in the summer of 1903, went to Union, Oregon, where her half-brother Billy Efner lived. (I believe she remained in Union until 1908.)


I plan to post the most interesting items from my sorting project each week on Sunday for the duration of the sorting project.

What about you? Have you rediscovered anything interesting while sorting?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Case for Sorting Those Unfiled Genealogy Papers

(click to enlarge)

The other day I was looking through a box (one of a few, sorry to say!) for a document I thought I had when I came upon this one, a printed announcement of the marriage of Milton E. Kerr and Kate E. Pettis. The place of the marriage is unclear, but I suspect it happened in Omaha.

How appropriate it would have been to include it in an earlier post, The Short-Lived Marriages of Milton Efner Kerr! But I hadn't yet entered the data from it into my Family Tree Maker file, and I'd completely forgotten it existed. There's something to be said for that--I'm sure I was equally thrilled both times I "found" it, and who doesn't enjoy a good genealogical thrill? But really, if the thrill of finding were followed by the laborious entering of data and the appropriate filing of documents, maybe the pleasant satisfaction of order would replace the time-sucking frustration of not being able to lay hands on that which you know you have... somewhere!

Therefore, I hereby designate the month of July to be Tidy Your Documents Month, and I invite anyone with a box or folder full of odd genealogical bits and pieces to join the fun. I plan to:
  • sort through that stuff and find out what goods I've got on which ancestors
  • enter any data or research notes in Family Tree Maker (anything too time-consuming or otherwise inclined to thwart this sorting project will be added to a To-Do list instead)
  • scan any documents or photos
  • put each item in the appropriate surname binder or folder
  • and finally, catalog items pertaining to each direct ancestor (also any others who are of particular interest to me).
Years ago, I optimistically created an Inventory Form that I intended to fill out and keep at the front of each binder or folder to catalog things as I added them. I didn't intend it to be a summary of information, just a checklist of what I already have. I've modified the original somewhat to make a separate page for each individual, with room for a little more info about each document (what form it takes, where to look for it, etc.). This is what it would look like, filled out:

(click to enlarge)

My printer made a mess of that, but you get the idea. And hey, you don't get extra points for finding any spelling errors that may have occurred when I began to feel guilty about spending so much time cataloging an inventory for someone in my Hypothetical line.

Anyway, if you think you'd find my Document Inventory form useful, you're welcome to try it out. A blank copy, better than the one my printer messed up, appears below. Click on it to get the enlarged view, then right-click on that and select Save As [see Update below]. You should be able to print this on regular 8.5 x 11" paper, and I expect there will be room on the left to 3-hole punch it for your binder. When you add something to the binder, note it on the inventory. If the item is filed elsewhere under someone else to whom it also applies (for example, a census filed under the individual's parents), just add a note on the inventory indicating that you have it and where it's filed.
I tried six other ways to present this form but I lack the skills and/or the software, so this is a 200 dpi .jpg image. I don't have my printer hooked up yet and can't test it out to be sure it prints the way I'd like it to. If anyone tries it and finds it sorely lacking, please let me know and I'll remove it.

By the way, the marriage announcement is in the Kerr binder now, along with another fun document I found in the same box. We'll get to that another time.


Update: Cheryl emailed me to say she'd tried printing my Inventory form but it came out a tiny image in the middle of the page. I emailed her back, betting her a check for a gazillion dollars that she had right-clicked on the image above without enlarging first, but she said that was not the case, and to prove it, she tried again with the same result. Therefore I now owe her a check for a gazillion dollars. She also said if she right-clicked and chose Copy Image, and then pasted it into a Word document, it printed just fine.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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