Monday, December 3, 2012

Useful Resource - North Dakota Records

I thought I'd write quick about a resource I just discovered, one that could be useful for any others doing any research in North Dakota.

I've been searching for more information on my Irish families, because so far they've been a pretty solid brick wall. I've been tracking down the siblings of my ancestor, Mary Ann Walsh Hurst, in hopes of finding more back from them all as far as parents' names, etc. Mary Ann's sister Anna married Thomas F. Ryan. They lived in the Arlington/Lodi area of Wisconsin but their son Vincent Ryan became a Bishop out in North Dakota. I had located the burial location of Anna and Thomas as well as there daughters, but did not have an exact birth or death date for Anna. This could help me confirm her parents' names, particularly the maiden name of her (and Mary Ann's) mother.

Recently I made a trip to St. Patrick's Cemetery where the Ryans are buried. Sadly their gravestones provided no more insight into Anna's dates. I called the church today and the secretary I reached was extremely helpful and willing to look through the old books. She found Anna's funeral information from the church. This gave me an exact death date, and helped me understand why I couldn't find Anna's death record in Wisconsin: She had died in Fargo, North Dakota.

I set to google searching for ways to find a death record from North Dakota, as I'd never really tried to in that state before. This is the resource I found and would like to share with you.

The North Dakota State University Libraries Archives:

They appear to have, or link to, a variety of useful online databases for anyone you might be looking for in North Dakota. Most valuable to me, they link to an online searchable Public Death Index. The search function is relatively user-friendly, and it also goes back pretty far. Most exciting for me was that it provided me an exact date of birth for Anna. I plugged her death information in and she came up right away, with an exact birth date and everything.

From there, like most Dept Vital Rec indexes, it provided a link to order your own copy of the death record.  Figuring it would be expensive, I clicked the link just for kicks, to see how expensive it would be. Wisconsin is $25 and most states are around that if not more expensive. To my shock the price to order a copy of a death record from North Dakota was only $5! I thought it might be a trick. No. This is extremely valuable and affordable if you're looking for records in North Dakota.

Just thought I would share. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brandmueller / Brandmiller Update

I've been doing a great deal of work on the Brandmueller / Brandmiller family the past few weeks. Towards the end of October I received the research I had paid for in Germany regarding the Brandmueller, Hoenninger, Neidhardt Petsch/Rudelts, and others. You can see this data here:

 This provided me with a great deal of useful information, extending my Brandmueller line back through the 1700s. I received slightly more expanded information about the Neidhardt family, and the other related families back through the 1700s as well. It is apparent that there is much more work that can be done with these families. Hopefully I can afford that someday!

Closer to home I decided to start digging more into the Brandmueller / Brandmiller relatives I knew had immigrated from Germany. I knew the names and birth years of the children of my ancestor's (Georg Brandmueller) brother Michael, but had not really gone into much detail to find anything out about their lives, much less what Michael's wife's maiden name even was.

To begin this process, I went back to basics. I started exploring the Maryland State Archives website and re-found out that there are various parish records scanned and placed online. I believe I had found this site before but hadn't been able to figure out the username and password to access the data. WELL. This was extremely good for me (although time-consuming).

This is possibly the best resource available for the Baltimore area, since vital records weren't required by the city or state itself until much later than the time period I am interested in. Parish records, however, recorded nearly everyone. I had previously paid for death record information on the Brandmueller family from St. Mary's Seminary who holds parish records for St. Alphonsus, the church the family belonged to.

Well, the State Archives have the marriage books scanned in for St. Alphonsus. The lady who had done the research for me at the Seminary Archives had told me she had not found a marriage record for my ancestors, Georg Brandmueller and Johanna Hoenninger. This hadn't made too much sense, as they had arrived on the same ship but under their own last names (not married yet) but by a year and a half later they had had their first child. But I figured, eh, Baltimore was a big city, lots of different churches, maybe they got married at a different church I wasn't able to track down yet.

Looking through the St. Alphonsus marriages I discovered that the Archivist hadn't looked very carefully. I found their marriage, and that of Georg's brother Michael to his wife Katherine MARTIN. I spent a great deal of time scouring these records for any mention of any other Brandmueller or Hoenninger families. Through this, I was able to find a sister of Georg and Michael's. Her name was Margaretha and she married Martin Meckel. This was exciting. How many Brandmueller descendants were there??

The marriage records were extensive so I was able to look through for the marriages of some of the children of those mentioned above. I mostly only found information on Michael and Katherine's children, since obviously Georg's line moved to Wisconsin before getting married.

Anyway, from other information I started looking into other churches in the vicinity that may provide more information for me. Various other churches have had their Baptismal, Confirmation, Marriage, Death, and Interment records scanned and placed online. Not as many as I would like, but enough to fill in Some of the gaps in my information.

One of the most exciting gaps was that I found one more child who was born to Georg and Johanna Brandmueller, who I had not known about, because she was NOT in the records from St. Alphonsus, and thus hadn't been found when I paid the Seminary Archives. I stumbled across the Baptismal records for Holy Cross church in Baltimore. In it I found reference of a baptism for a Justine Brandmueller, born to Georg Brandmueller and Johanna Hoenninger, in September of 1864.

This led to some questions, as I had received death records from St. Alphonsus for Georg's mother, and his wife, Johanna. Johanna was supposed to have died 3 Feb 1864, several months before Justine was born.

 But everything on this document that I was seeing with my own eyes matched up. The parents names, the birthplaces, everything. So, I went back to Johanna's death record. I realized that they had cropped down to just the line which contained information on my ancestor, and that virtually all information on the actual date of death was handwritten by the archivist. Thus, I figured the error must have been a case of the lady writing down the wrong year. I wrote them a letter and she confirmed that yes, actually, she had died 3 Feb  1865, it was an error because the page was split between two years, the end of 1864 and the beginning of 1865. I was glad to find an easy solution to what could have been a complicated problem, but I was also reminded of why it is so important to me to do my own research in person whenever possible...

In any event I spent hours and hours scouring records. I'm sure I missed some things but I came across a great deal of other things allowing me to flesh out the families of Michael Brandmueller and Margaretha Meckel. I found that the Brandmuellers that remained in Baltimore strictly used Brandmiller in records. I also began digging to find obituaries so that I might determine where these families were buried. By finding that the Brandmiller family was buried in New Cathedral cemetery, I was able to contact the cemetery directly to find out information on the plots they are buried in.

Interestingly, it appears that they transferred Michael's remains to this cemetery from their original location. He died in 1879 and was buried in what was then St. Alphonsus cemetery. However, at some point that cemetery needed to be removed so they transferred most remains to Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery. I had figured that his remains were transferred along with Anne Neidhardt Brandmueller (his mother) and his sister-in-law Johanna Brandmueller. Now I wonder - were they transferred to Most Holy Redeemer? To another cemetery? Did they remain and get bulldozed? I tend to think they were namelessly transferred or left to be bulldozed, because direct family wasn't necessarily there to take care of them.

So, overall, I've found out all death dates for the children of Katherine and Michael Brandmiller. I was hoping by expanding this information I would find more on my direct ancestors, but that search continues. I hope someday I can figure out where Georg Brandmueller disappeared between 1870 and 1880.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A little bit of everything - One BIG update

I apologize for the long time since writing. I've had a lot going on in my personal life, such as graduating from UW-Madison and beginning graduate studies at the University of Georgia. Between my time at school I had the entire spring and summer off. I used that time for a great deal of genealogical research.

I have put a lot of effort into fleshing out many of my family lines. Many of them were skeletons and some on my dad's side didn't have much detail. I've spent quite a deal of time finding out more info on each of these.

 In particular I took the large and ever growing Stark family by the horns. You my remember that on my grandpa's side, I had two different Stark lines, one on his mother's side and one on his father's side. I had long suspected that the two giant lines were related, given that they were from the same area around Oak Creek, etc. I just had lacked an ability to connect them.

Then I heard from a researcher who had been investigating the families for quite some time. He was able to help me connect the two lines. My furthest back ancestor in one line, Mathias (b. 1826) shared the same father as my ancestor in the other line, John (b. 1810), Peter Stark (1785-1835).John was the son of Peter and his first wife, Elizabeth Thiel. She died in 1813. Mathias was the son of Peter and his second wife Anna Muellen (yes, as far as can be told on records it is MuelleN not MuelleR).

It was extremely exciting to make that breakthrough. I additionally found out more information on Johann's son John Henry Stark. My initial research hadn't turned up much info because he disappeared from the Milwaukee area and I wasn't able to distinctly link him in other areas. Also with the help of PJ Starck I was able to find out that he in fact moved to the Madison area. While I was still living in Madison, I was able to locate his and his wives' graves as well as some of his children. Interestingly his daughter Helena married William Schulkamp, brother of Gerhard Schulkamp who was married to a Diebold on my mother's side. It is funny to see these connections that exist now years after the fact.

During our annual cemetery trip up north during April/May of this year, we stopped at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Appleton. Digging more into the Mathias Stark family I had discovered that there were more Starks and other related families buried there than I had initially thought. We did a somewhat thorough once-over of the main older sections of the cemetery and found quite a few Starks and related names.

This helped illuminate the differences in Nickolas Stark (son of Johann b. 1810) and his line, from the descendants of Mathias Stark (b. 1826) who also moved to the Appleton area at the same time. It also brought to light a list of "unknowns;" people who were buried in Stark plots that I wasn't able to identify initially, and people who have the surname Stark and don't seem to fit into the known lines that I have researched. So, over the past few months I have been slowly working on this list as well.

Even MORE on the Starks (is you head spinning yet?) : I recently was contacted by a woman who received an OLD photo album from a descendant of Appalonia Starck Hauerwas (through Elizabeth Hauerwas Dreger), daughter of Johann Stark (b. 1810) and Helena Mick. The descendant wanted to see if anyone could help identify the people in them. I don't know much about the family so not much progress has been made yet. If anyone reading this is interested in seeing the photos, please do contact me and I would be happy to show you some of what I have received thus far.


As for other work....

I was contacted earlier this year by a descendant of Lula Sarah Beaulieu, daughter of Sarah E. Mayville and Martin Luther Beaulieu. This was extremely awesome. I have spent so much time trying to track down all of their kids, and it has been nearly impossible due to the amount of variance of the spelling of "Beaulieu." Well, did Abby have a story for me. In the 1910 census for Sarah and Luther, included with their children is listed a "daughter" named Hilda who was born around 1906.

I'd never thought anything of it, really, but Abby informed me that Hilda was not actually their daughter, but their granddaughter. It turns out Lula Sarah Beaulieu had eloped with the son of a wealthy family in the Wrightstown area (they were involved in the steel industry or some other similar trade). This family was one whom Sarah Mayville Beaulieu worked for in their house. The families discovered this and forbade the marriage, essentially forcing them to annul it. However, it was a little too late - Lula was pregnant with a daughter, Hilda.

The name of Lula's lover is not known because the family had his name stricken from any known family documents and from Hilda's birth record. Her family never told her who her father was. Lula went on to marry two other men and have a couple more daughters. Now Abby is facing the task of tracking down who this man was. It will take a lot of work but I believe it is possible if we can find out where they eloped to and all that jazz. It seems unlikely that annulment papers would have the names erased of the individuals involved, so that may be a good place to start as well. It'll be interesting to see how this develops. I am hoping that by finding out more about this line I can find out more about Sarah Mayville. I would like to finally find her and Martin's final resting place.


I made a breakthrough in one of my many mysteries involving the McConnell family. The 1870 census for Alexander McConnell living in Jefferson, WI, had a mystery little girl listed after other family, "Flora Bourne" but there was no detail on who she was or what her relationship to Alex was. In the 1880 census for Alex's household, again in Jefferson, she was listed simply as Flora McConnell. Ever since first seeing those census records I had wondered who this Flora Bourne was and why she was living with the family.

Then I stumbled on something while searching for one of the McConnells. A family tree I ran across stated that Alex's daughter Margaret had been married. Something I never knew before. When I looked through Rock River Cemetery several years ago I had found a stone for Margaret, just stating her name as Margaret McConnell, and having died 7 Oct 1866. What the tree I found suggested was that she had married Chardon Bourne on 5 Aug 1865 while she and her family were living in the vicinity of Winona, Minnesota, during the mid-1860's. Further, the couple had a daughter, Flora Bourne, who was born 14 Jul 1866, several months before Margaret died.

This was exciting. But I had to make sure this was correct, first. Was it plausible that the Margaret McConnell married to Chardon was the Margaret McConnell of my family? In the 1865 Minnesota State Census, the Bournes and McConnells are practically neighbors. That is a plus sign. Looking into more documents and records (a newspaper article from 1908 states "Chardon Bourne, who has lived here in Witoka for over fifty years, writes a Witoka resident, is going to Merrill, Wis., to visit a daughter or as he puts it, 'to see his baby whom he has not seen since she was five months old, and who is now the mother of ten children.'"

This seems to add up with the time period here. If Flora was born in July and Margaret died in October, with her parents soon after taking over raising the child back in Jefferson, WI, then the time period would mesh as about 3-5 months of age of his daughter when he had last seen her.

Other records, such as Flora's marriage record and children's birth records seem to add up. I'd like to get ahold of Flora's death record to make 100% sure, so I probably will check it next time I'm back home in Madison. Amazing what mysteries can be solved after a few years of persistence.


I have been spending increasing amounts of time on Most recently I completed a photo/transcription of St Mary of the Lake cemetery out in Westport, WI ( I have quite a few relatives buried there and found a few more through the process of the transcription. It is always nice to have a little more info that might help in making a breakthrough. This Irish line is going to be a tough one to break.


I've also spent a lot of time working on finding the burial location of Corbet Tarbell as well as his wives and all of his children. I made a lot of progress with the help of several researchers in the Londonderry and Chester, VT areas. Corbet and his second wife Nancy are buried in Riverside Cemetery in Londonderry, but I have been unable to find the burial location of his first wife, my ancestor, Amy Thompson Tarbell. I am still searching and hoping to find more information. I've also had trouble finding the burial locations of the three known children Corbet had with Nancy.


Similarly I made a goal of finding the burial places of all of Betsey Davis and Hiram Greeley 's known children. I finally did succeed in that, and through this research I have been able to flesh out my family lines a little further. Also with the Greeleys I spoke to a descendant of Leah Greeley Mills, which was really nice. She had kept in contact with my great-grandparents for her life, despite living out west, so it was nice to reconnect to that line after all these years.


I recently paid a researcher in Germany to hopefully provide more information on the Brandmueller, Hoeninger, and related families in Bavaria. I am looking forward to seeing what will turn up on this second round.


I have also renewed efforts to locate the birth record of Simon Walter. Church records in Wisconsin indicate he was born in Neubeuren by Weisenbach. So far the Archivs I have spoken to have not been able to locate such a place. I have been referred from place to place and hope to soon find someone who can help me figure out this mystery.


Back in June I made contact with an Annen descendant who sent me a few pictures. One of them is believed to contain Peter Annen, my immigrant ancestor in that line, who I had never seen a picture of before! This was great!

Well, I think my work has been pretty well updated now. I have of course been doing many other, smaller things on the side, as well as started a project involving Resurrection Cemetery in Madison. I'll leave it at this, for now, though!!