Wow I do get too carried away with real life sometimes. I was just noticing that my tree is about to hit 17,000 individuals, and that I had not updated this blog for some time. Of course I am still here and still working on my genealogy.
So far this year I have done quite a lot of research within two distinct areas. First, I worked on some Dane County families. It turns out my Diebold and Annen lines, combined with the Starck line which moved to Madison from the Milwaukee area, all have an extremely interesting interrelationship within Dane County. Once I got started on some of my Grass family line, who were then related to Essers, Fischenicks, Statz, and Wermuths and all sorts of others throughout Dane County. It was pretty amazing to realize just how close some of these people are related, even if they may not have known it at the time.
I also learned more about the Carpenter line which comes from the Grass family. Maria Katharina Grass married Johannes Carpenter and one of their sons, Lawrence, had owned much of the land which is now occupied by Madison West High School. Through newspaper articles I found that they sold most of the land for the school in the mid-1920s. Pretty neat little history lesson, and some of the articles I found contained photos. Lawrence is buried on the point of Resurrection cemetery which is nearest to Madison West. I wonder if they planned it that way.
My second big project lately is the main topic of this post, that of Orenhofen records. Towards the beginning of this year I decided to start filling in my Starck/Stark family tree more. I got the idea in my head that perhaps I might write a genealogy book on the family some day, so I wanted to work on finding as much information as I could on the Starck family.
One gap that I quickly identified was the family of Johann Stark (and his wife Mary Barbara Oppmann), who was the son of Matthias Stark and Margaretha Schmitz. I did not have much on his family, children or other descendants. I began working on the line and found they had moved to Rozellville/ Day township, Marathon county, Wisconsin. Online, I found the husband of one of Johann's descendants through his son Mathias Leon Stark. This cousin was able to provide me with a spreadsheet containing data from the Sister Barbara Stark genealogy. This was AMAZING! Ever since I had begun researching the Starck family, I had seen many references to the Sister Barbara Stark genealogy, but no one ever had the full genealogy online or otherwise if I contacted them. Sister Barbara completed this genealogy back in the early 1960s. It was really awesome to finally get ahold of some of this data, and the other great information he was willing to share.
The one amazing detail that gave a completely new perspective to my work was the information Sister Barbara had included on siblings of Margaret Schmitz, wife of Mathias Stark. She had included names and married names for the siblings, although not much more detail was included. This set me to work. One of the names was a Katharina Schmitz who had married a John Massino and moved to Madison, Wisconsin. It was easy for me to quickly locate her death record and information on her children, some of whom has lived their lives in Madison and others who had moved to Minnesota.
Another sister was Magdalena Schmitz, who had married a Theodor Heid and lived in Appleton. Here was the first inkling that this thing was much bigger than I had imagined, and that if I kept going it would really never stop. Theodor came from a town named Preist which is right near where Magdalena was born, in Orenhofen. One of their daughters married an Anthony Oppmann who was the brother to Mary Barbara Oppman (married to Johann Stark above).
Christian Schmitz was the brother to these sisters mentioned above. It turns out he ended up in Marathon Co. as had Johann Stark and the Oppmanns, and as it will be seen, another family (Kiefers).
At almost the same time I met, online, a descendant of Nicholas Stark and his second wife, Katherine Kiefer. Nicholas was the son of Johann Starck and Helena Mick. Before I met this cousin, I hadn't had much of anything for this second marriage. I had most of the information filled in for Nick's first marriage to Agnes Hagemann (whose father is my ancestor on another line) and had even found where Agnes was buried, in a parish in the Black Creek area of Outagamie County. Nick's descendant helped me fill in more gaps and also was able to send me some wonderful photos of his family and of his ancestors the Starks. Every time I find a new Stark picture it makes me really happy to see another face to put to a name I've spent so much time studying.
Anyway, the more of these branches I saw the closer the floodgates came to bursting. Across three main families I saw a big pattern emerging. I was working to prove that the siblings mentioned for Margaretha Schmitz were actually related. I was looking into the married-in families of Oppmann and Kiefer because it seemed the more I looked the more they seemed to keep marrying each other, and kept living near one another on various census records. The main pattern I was finding was: Orenhofen -->> Milwaukee/Oak Creek, Wisconsin -->> Appleton/Fox River Valley, Wisconsin -->> Marathon County, Wisconsin
Some offshoots moved to Marshfield and Madison, and a few of the younger generations ended up in Milwaukee or Chicago. But overall, those families were tightly associated with moves from one locale to the next.
I found that the Heids are buried next to the Starks in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Appleton. Also there is an Anton Schoenhofen who is apparently the son of one of the Micks.
This fascinated me, and I wondered- so, are there others? I sought to prove more relationships of people seen in the census, as well as close some holes in my genealogy. Such as, were my two women Mick ancestors related? I had always imagined that they were but had not been able to prove it. I also wanted to know if others from Orenhofen had immigrated and followed along with my ancestors' path through Wisconsin.
As part of this search I looked into the records for St. Edwards in Black Creek/Mackville/Center Township (where Agnes Hagemann Starck was buried) as I assumed the family [ies??] at some point had belonged. First I stumbled upon the cemetery itself, quite by accident, and found her grave as well as some possible relatives (that I have not proven yet, but including such names as Heid, Schmitz, etc.). I then visited the Green Bay Diocese and searched their microfilms of the church records themselves, for both St. Edward and for St. Joseph's in Appleton. I found many references to the different clans themselves, including, surprisingly, the Waldvogel family which would have been Agnes Hagemann Starck's step mother's parents (Konrad Waldvogel and Anna Maria Keller), who apparently were also part of the Milwaukee/Oak Creek, Wisconsin -->> Appleton/Fox River Valley, Wisconsin -->> Marathon County, Wisconsin migration (the Waldvogels and Hagemans were NOT from Trier, however)
The church records were useful in highlighting key parts of my research but I was still missing data that I was interested in.
Next was to look back in Germany. I knew the families were Catholic so I did some searching and found the Trier Bistumsarchiv which contains Catholic records for the Trier region of Germany, which is where Orenhofen and nearby towns are located. I found that the price was quite reasonable, about €15 or $20 for five records. They were able to confirm the siblings' names and birth dates which I had for Margaretha Schmitz, and they also helped me prove that my ancestors Catharina Mick (married Matthias Schmitz) and Helena Mick (Johann Stark) were in fact sisters. This was really amazing to finally find proof for!
Around this same time I had a great stroke of luck and was contacted by a distant relation who had found some of my work on find-a-grave. He is related through the Junk family on my mother's side, and lives in Germany. We discussed our related family and he also offered to help if there was anything I was curious about in Trier, as he has several resources available to him for that region. This was an extremely generous and kind offer on his part. Through the resources and Familienbuchs he has which are based on parish registers and other local data, he has helped me flesh out my Starck, Schmitz and Mick lines, and so much more! From the information he has sent me I have found more branches that emigrated to the United States (particularly to Wisconsin). Thanks to his gracious efforts, I now have solid lines back to the 18th and in some cases, 17th century Germany! It helped to show me that the Starcks and even some of the Schmitzes were involved in pipe baking/making since far before they came to the Milwaukee area and established their clay pipe making business there.
An interesting note on some information I found through this research: It turns out I have two Schmitz lines originating in the Orenhofen area. My main Schmitzes discussed above, and then also a Schmitz line through the Mick line. Father of my ancestors Catharina and Helena Mick was Johann Peter Mick, who was married to a Susanne Schmitz. Susanne's line is not as well drawn out in the records as most of the other Schmitzes from the area, so I do not know as much about her. However, her mother was Maria Magdalene Mischo, who was born 6 Nov 1740 in Schleidweiler (near Orenhofen). Her parents appear to have married in a very small village nearby called Muelchen or Multgen.
There was not much information in the Schleidweiler records regarding the Mischos so I turned to another resource I have for this area, Thomas Pick's work which is online (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pick). There I found a town of Multgen referenced and some records with the last name of Michau. I wondered if this might be the same general name as Mischo, and realized it did indeed sound a bit French. My German cousin was able to find reference to this town. It was founded by a group of ironworkers who around 1635 had been forced to leave their hometown of Mulgen in the Wallonia region of Belgium. They were mostly French-ancestried and were forced to leave because of a falling-out with their king (I have yet to find more on what or why this would be). I just found out this last bit of information so am still in the process of looking into the whole story, but it is very interesting, and the first hint of any Belgian ancestry for me. I do have French ancestors, but these are the first that I know of who lived in Belgium.