Saturday, February 20, 2016

What I know about Meinrad FLORENTZ

Meinrad Florentz was a weaver from Ribeauville, France and he was my great, great grandfather. I wonder if that is why my aunt is such a prolific knitter? Is it in the DNA? I have to say there is something about a yarn shop that just draws me in. All the colors and textures. 

Let's get back to the man himself. Meinrad was born on 23 Nov 1850 in Ribeauville, France but by 1872 he was living in the town of Saint Marie Aux Mines, France. On July 8 of that same year he married Maria Josephina Stockey at 10 am. She was a Lutheran and he was a Catholic. Maria's parents were Joseph Stockey and Marie Josephine Kruemort. Joseph was also a weaver and that might have been how Meinrad met his wife if he worked in the same place as Joseph.

I do not know how many children they had together for sure but one was my great grandfather Paul who later immigrated to the United States and lived in West Virginia with his wife Marguerite Pierre Florentz. Meinrad's wife Maria died on 24 July 1888. He went on to live another 46 years and died at the age of 84. I do not know as of yet if he remarried.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What I know about Sophia Dorothea HELBERG

I cannot imagine what it would have been like for a small child of 3 to travel across the ocean to her new home on a twelve week journey. I wonder if she even remembered the trip at all being so young. But journey she did with her parents Cordt Heinrich Helberg and Maria Ann Bruggeman Helberg and her siblings. The story goes that after arriving in America they journeyed by canal west across NY and settled in Napoleon, Ohio.

Her younger sister Maria died on the journey and her father arranged for a burial at the new location in Napoleon. He also helped to found a new congregation, Zion Lutheran Church with the help of Dietrich Badenhop. A group including Mr. Helberg from this congregation helped to form what is today St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Sophia met and married William A. Freytag on 17 Nov. 1865. The Freytag family moved into the area a few years after the Helbergs. The couple had 10 children.

Sophia lived in Napoleon, Ohio her entire life. She would be remembered in later life as having a good sense of humor and sitting in her rocker reading her bible.

Her husband William died on 18 Dec. 1921 at the age of 83 and she would pass on 16 March 1936 at the age of 90. 

I am very lucky to have a copy of Focus on the Freytags by William H  Freytag 1978 which are his memories of this family and have helped in giving me clues on where to find documents for the vital records of its members. If only everyone wrote down their memories of their grandparents and great grandparents we would have a glimpse into what their life must have been like "back in the day".

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What I know about Wealthy Susan CHANDLER

I find it so interesting that my great great grandparents would name one of their children Wealthy. Were they hoping for the best for this baby or their family? If so, that didn't work out.

My grandmother went by her middle name, Susan. She was born, according to her birth record, on Aug 13, 1877. However, her death certificate states her birthday as July 24, 1877. I have to go with the birth record.

Most of the trees out there have her listed as Susan Chandler and I was determined to prove her name was Wealthy. Her birth record only says W. S. Chandler but I found a delayed Birth Certificate for one of her children, Herman Stevens, with her name "Wealthy Susan Chandler" BAM! That was one of those moments where I jumped up and down!

She married my great grandfather, Millard Stephens (the name spelling changed to Stevens somewhere between Millard and my Grandfather Steward and was spelled Stephenson on the record) on October 18, 1898. They had 10 children in their 41 years of marriage. Millard died on September 4, 1939. 

At age 65, five years after her husbands death, she marries Marian Edward Kidd. Now the funny thing here is she marries him again two years later in 1946. There is a story where she takes to her bed at a daughters home for a long period of time after the first marriage but that is just a story. I have not found a divorce record to date but who knows, it may be out there somewhere.

It was not a glamours life for Wealthy Susan Chandler Stevens Kidd but she lived to a ripe old age of  92. I can only imagine the things she saw change during her lifetime and the things she had to endure. I would have been eight years old at the time of her death. I never met her and even if I did I would probably not remember which makes me a little sad. As we would say at Genealogy Happy Hour, "Cheers!" GG Grandma Susan!