Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Niehaus Reunion, Then and Now

Niehaus Reunion, About 1955, Probably at Longacre Park in Indianapolis.
     This past Sunday, September 10, was our annual Niehaus Reunion day.  A favorite cousin (second cousin actually), Gib Hickman, remarked to me that we surely must hold some kind of record for continuous family reunions.  I would agree.  By all the records I am aware of this is the 78th Niehaus Family Reunion.  I believe these events stand as a salute to the foundation provided by the 11 brothers and sisters who were children of Joseph and Gertrude Niehaus who made the journey from Germany to Indianapolis in 1886. 
     I hope that the tradition continues down through many more generations.  We don’t organize too many games or take counts of the attendees (maybe we should).  But we have all kinds of friendly conversation and good food and a family heritage quilt raffle that's outstanding. There’s always a nice mix of reminiscing about those who used to be with us and sharing updates on our latest moves or the kids activities.  Of course you also will hear some Colts or other NFL chatter in the mix.  And, of course, we all  stuff ourselves with the pot luck ingredients that include more fried chicken, special casseroles and salads and delicious desserts than any family can stand. 
      And now....I really want to make note of something special that happened to me at this reunion.  My cousin, Dianna Pugh, sorted through her family album recently and turned up a Niehaus Reunion photo from approximately 1955. She decided to bring a copy to me.  I’m so happy to have this.   Pictured above sharing some treasured family time are the five Niehaus brothers and sisters alive at the time of the 1955 family reunion.  They are seated facing the camera, left to right: Lena Niehaus Kleinsmith, Annie Niehaus Donahue, Minnie Niehaus Kirn, Joe Niehaus and John Niehaus (my grandfather).  I would guess this is taken at Longacre Park on the south side of Indianapolis.  I'd be interested to know what others in the family can say about the photo.
     This is a rare photo in my collection and I appreciate Dianna thinking of me, especially to take the time to bring a copy for me.  I know these sisters and brothers would be happy to know that 62 years later we’re carrying on their family tradition.
      Below are photos of a few of the John Niehaus (man on right in above photo) descendants celebrating their family heritage in 2017.  First photo below: Evelyn Ellis Simmerman is in the middle of some of the fun members of her clan.  Evelyn’s one of John Niehaus’s granddaughters.  She’s flanked by (left to right) Brenda Henigan, her daughter; Kim Mannix, her daughter-in-law; Kevin Mannix, her son and a granddaughter whose name I’m sorry to report I’ve forgotten at this time.  She’a a good sport and a friendly great great granddaughter of John's. (I promise I'll remember your name in the middle of the night!)

Evelyn Ellis Simmerman's Family, 2017 Niehaus Reunion

     Below are members of my own family representing us well at the reunion.  Here’s my husband, Jerry Hurley, my sister, Marti (Niehaus) Fleetwood, John Niehaus’s granddaughter and my daughter, Krissy Underwood, John’s great granddaughter.  What a great photographer took this one.

Nancy Niehaus Hurley"s Family: Jerry Hurley, Marti Fleetwood, Krissy Underwood, 2017 Niehaus Reunion
     Thanks from me to everyone of my relatives who made a point to be a part of the 2017 Niehaus Reunion.  You'll find lots of fun photos, including the beautiful heritage quilt created by Marti, if you click here:  Niehaus Reunion Page

     I appreciate your visit to Indiana Ties.  If you have family history to share, feel free to leave me a message and I’ll be sure to include your story or photos here. 
     Come back soon,
     Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Saving Memories of the 2017 Weber Kuhn Family Reunion in Indy

        On August 26, 2017, members of our Weber Kuhn Family saved a day to enjoy each other’s company once again.  We gathered at the Sarah Bolton Park in Beech Grove, Indiana,  to say hi and catch up on the happenings in our lives.
It was an outstanding afternoon of conversation, good food and laughter.  I’m posting a few of the photos here and there’s a link below to the reunion page where more great memories are residing.
     We were all very pleased that a member of our Weber clan attended for the first time this year, Carole Ditlinger Greer.  Her mother, Edith Weber Ditlinger, was a sister of Harry Lawrence Weber and grew up with their ten other siblings on Alabama Street in Indianapolis.
     Carole was kind enough to bring many old family photos to share. Below I’m posting a photo of Carole (on right) with Janet (Weber) Jenkins (cousins).  Below also  is a photo of Carole’s mother, Edith, as a young girl that was among the beautiful selection of family photos that Carole shared.  We all enjoyed getting to know her better and hope she’ll choose to keep attending the reunion.   The history table was even more popular this year as a result of the extra photos that Janet and Carole shared with us all.   Take a look at the cousins soaking up images and stories of their ancestors in the albums.
Janet Weber Jenkins and Carole Ditlinger Greer at 2017 Weber Kuhn Reunion. Great fun getting acquainted.         Edith Marie Weber, born 25 March 1896, Indianapolis, IN
History Table 2017

     Another example of the good times we have at our family reunions is visiting with Aunt Peg and Aunt Ruth.  They are so upbeat and always keep us inspired.  Below they are enjoying a dessert on this beautiful summer afternoon in Indy. 
     Quilting is a strong tradition in this Weber family.  Peg’s sister Dolly assisted her daughter-in-law, Pat Holzer,  in learning to quilt.  In the next photo below Pat is displaying one of her creations she brought to the reunion to share.  She will be passing along as well the quilting treasures that Dolly left in safekeeping with Pat to be given to her grandchildren as they marry.  How beautiful to know that these cherished pieces and the skill of quilting will continue down the generations.  
Peg Weber Stull, Ruth Weber --  visiting at the Weber Kuhn Reunion, Aug 26, 2017.

   Pat Holzer's Quilt

     The family heritage quilt sewn with love by Marti Fleetwood from quilt squares created at last year’s reunion was a classic.  Below is a photo of  the prize being held by this year’s winners, Dick and Janet Jenkins.  Marti is on the right.  And one small sample of the quilt squares is below.   Great job lady!
2017 Weber Kuhn Heritage Quilt, Dick and Janet Jenkins winners - with Marti Fleetwood, the quilter.


    I have more great moments to show you from this family gathering but they won’t all fit on this one blog page.  They are posted on the Weber Kuhn Reunion page. (Link is below)  But I want to include one more important featured photo here.  That’s the whole gang assembled for the annual group photo.  A few had to leave before taking this one, but most everyone that could make it for this August get-together showed their beautiful faces here.  I’m so grateful for this lovely family.
2017 Weber Kuhn Reunion Photo

Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Go here for more Weber Kuhn Reunion Photos

Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wordless Wednesday (Almost) -- Family Reunion Flash Back

  We’re coming up on our 2017 Weber Kuhn Reunion, and a part of the enjoyment is taking a look back at past events, remembering the fun and watching the kids grow each year.  For Wordless Wednesday, I thought I’d post a few of the 2012 reunion photos to refresh those memories.
Christina Holzer and her son, Lukas  --
Another beautiful youngster added to the clan. Just as cute as they come.

Peg Stull and Ruth Weber  --  Loving and fun ladies that we enjoy so much. 

Angie Perkins, Marti Fleetwood, Breann Perkins -- 
Celebrating with this trio of mother, daughter, granddaughter is special.

Anne and Danny Graham & Laura and Tom Weber  --
It’s a pleasure spending time with this friendly brother-sister- spouse crew.
     There are so many nice people that make the unique memories each year.  But for Wordless Wednesday, I believe these folks represent the overall scenario just great!  Looking forward to another good day on August 26, 2017 at the Sarah Bolton Park, Beech Grove, Indiana.

     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

   Copyright © 2017 Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Thursday, August 10, 2017

More Kraut Family Research Discoveries: Elizabeth Kraut Marriage in Baltimore, Maryland

One of my goals in the family hunt for a long period of time was to find when and where our Keen/Kraut great great grandparents married. It turns out that Lawrence Keen and Elizabeth Kraut were hiding in plain sight in Baltimore, Maryland. For several years we've known that Lawrence landed with his father and two sisters in Baltimore in 1840. But as far as his marriage connection with Elizabeth there was this major gap. Their married life together in my family history began St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, Baltimore, MD. Thanks to for the image.with the first child's baptism in Zanesville, Ohio in 1848.
But I kept on searching. Whenever a new set of records came to my attention that might shed some light I looked for clues to the Keen Kraut family. It seemed that consistently the records I could uncover in Ohio and Maryland didn't produce pay dirt...Until I stumbled across a new database posted online at containing images of the baptisms and marriages in St. James and St. Alphonsus Catholic Churches in Baltimore, MD. The baptism records included the early 1840s and the marriages began in 1845. Based on the knowledge of the children's baptisms in Catholic Churches and the Keen family's arrival in Baltimore, I was very excited.
I searched those scribbles in the baptisms at St. James Church to find any family names that could connect. Since Lawrence’s name upon arrival in this country was consistently spelled Lorenz Kihn, and sometimes Kien, I had to be sure to keep my eyes open for the alternate names.  The discoveries of Kihn family names as parents and sponsors was encouraging, to say the least.  I have several records from this baptism search that very likely will fit into this family at some point. I know now that St. James was the Keen family’s parish.  However, only the baptisms for St. James have been filmed and posted online, so far.  So I wasn’t able to check this church for the Keen/Kihn/Kraut marriage. 
But, I mentioned that there was another church on the list of published records, St. Alphonsus.  And I did not find any Kraut baptisms in the St. James parish.  So, I was still hopeful about this additional resource.  Maybe Elizabeth Kraut’s family lived in the neighboring parish and belonged to St. Alphonsus. 
Research on the Catholic churches in Baltimore in that time frame told me that the members included many German immigrant families.  So, of course, I combed through those church marriages. I slowly and carefully read the script to be sure not to miss a Latin and/or German spelling. After almost giving up on the list of marriages, there it was. The entry is difficult to decipher but once you put together the details, the facts fit perfectly with the information that’s confirmed about Elizabeth Kraut and Lawrence Keen (Lorenz Kihn).  The actual church record book is below this transcription:
Place: St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, Baltimore, Maryland
Date of marriage: 20 June 1847
Groom: Lorenz Kihn, Age 24, Birthplace: Michelbach, Bavaria
Bride: Elizabeth Kraut, Age 23, Birthplace: Somborn, Bavaria
Sponsors: Anton Kunkel and John Franz
Kihn, Kraut,  Marriage, Baltimore, Maryland, 20 June, 1847,  (1)Kihn, Kraut,  Marriage, 20 June 1847,  St. Aphonsus Catholic Church, Baltimore, MD., page 2
     Now we know that Lawrence and Elizabeth did meet in Baltimore, Maryland. He was 24 and she was 23 when they married in St. Alphonsus Catholic Church on 20 June 1847. They were married about eleven months before their son John was baptized in Zanesville, Ohio, at St. Nicholas Catholic Church. Their story is progressing well.  I know….this information makes you wonder why they left for Ohio. But, some things we just can't know!
     Of course, there are always more pieces we hope to find to complete the family story. For instance, where are Elizabeth Kraut's parents?! The sleuthing continues...I do have a couple of clues and will, hopefully, have much more to report here soon.
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
Corresponding family stories you may want to read:
The Elusive Elizabeth Kraut
Who is Cousin C. A. Kraut?
The Dreaded Tax Time: John and Chris Kraut, 1863-1864

Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Thursday, July 27, 2017

2017 Weber Kuhn Reunion Announcement -- Do You Remember Any Others Way Back When?



          Our Weber Kuhn Reunion is fast taking on a special event status.  This is the seventh year in a row for our current round of reunions.   A few of us remember when we were much younger and our parents organized all of us at a park but we’re not sure how many of those occurred. I do have a photo of my cousin Barb Weber and I that’s marked 1962 Weber Reunion.  So I can attest to one gathering 55 years ago.  OMG!  Do you remember this Barb or Janet?  Anyone else have other photos?1962 Weber Reunion

  It’s fun to anticipate having a summer  afternoon to reconnect, reminisce, share a meal and laughs.  Above is the invitation that outlines where, when and how for the 2017 gathering.  Each year we have some kind of rather casual competition.  Whether it be taking wild guesses at the number of candy in a jar or competing to see who can answer the most unusual questions about each other.  A few years ago we played the “Name The Relatives in These Photos” game.  The conversations about who various ones might be were interesting.  So, I’m putting together a new selection of photos and we’ll see how many can identify them.  I thought I’d give a head start to anyone who reads this blog by posting the photos here.  There could even be some advance teamwork.  The grand prize will be announced later.  But you’ll want to start preparing by discussing these snapshots in time with all your family.



     The reunion of this family includes anyone descended from Harry Adam and Mary Anna (Keen) Weber family or Charles and Mary Anna (Risch) Kuhn of Indianapolis, Indiana.  Join us on August 26 at Sarah Bolton Park in Beech Grove, Indiana.   Everyone’s welcome!


     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.

     Nancy (Niehaus) Hurley


   If you would like to read about our family connections, be sure to click on the post links in the left column.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Oh The Dreaded Tax Time: John and Chris Kraut And The IRS in 1863 and 1864

     It’s that time of year that most of us dread, Tax Time.  But in this one case, I’m glad taxes existed.  Recently I uncovered tax assessment lists that could assist in confirming the Kraut family connections.    While looking  into each and every Kraut record that might be tied to Elizabeth Kraut Keen (Zanesville, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana), these two in Madison, Indiana, became important.  (See prior posts on Kraut research.)  Little did John and Chris Kraut know in 1863/64 that I would be resurrecting and examining their tax records 154 years down the road.

     The information contained on these tax lists can be enlightening for family historians.  For instance, if I am able to link these Kraut men to my Elizabeth Kraut, I will have background on their occupations, selling retail liquor.  In order to understand better the situation, I decided to refresh my understanding of taxation in the United States.  Both Family Search and Ancestry provide background on the history and content of the available tax records.

     I learned that governments have collected taxes in the United States since the colonial era.  Depending on local laws, males were usually taxable at the ages of 16, 18, or 21 through about age 50 or 60, with some exceptions for veterans, ministers, paupers, and others. Most tax records were eventually based on personal property, real estate, and income.   The federal government directly taxed citizens in 1798, 1814 to 1816, 1862 to 1866, and at other times until 1917 when personal income and other taxes were introduced. has tax records dating back to the 1700s.  (See wiki for more thorough information.)

     At I learned that the Internal Revenue Act passed by Congress in 1862 created the IRS.  The intent of the law was to pay war expenses.  Searching ancestry’s files led me down this path to the tax assessments listing John and Chris Kraut.  These documents (below) indicate that these two businessmen paid for a Class B retail liquor license in Madison, Indiana.  In 1863 they were each assessed $20.00 and in 1864 the fee was $4.17.  I wonder if the higher amount in 1863 was to create a reserve, which then kept down taxes in 1864.  Who knows?   There’s much more to this story, I’m sure.  A very brief analysis of the two pages of tax information below seems to reflect the same rate of tax for people in the same business.  Although, it appears that the types of items taxed in each year may have differed.   I see income taxed on the 1863 page but not on the 1864 page.  Also, I note there are no animals listed in 1863, but there are taxes on cattle on the 1864 list.  Of course, one page doesn’t present a very thorough picture. 

     Here’s an excerpt from the resource information provided at which sheds some light on the documents listing the two Krauts and others in their Collection District 3, State of Indiana:

About U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918

On July 1, 1862, Congress passed the Internal Revenue Act, creating the Bureau of Internal Revenue (later renamed to the Internal Revenue Service). This act was intended to “provide Internal Revenue to support the Government and to pay interest on the Public Debt.” Instituted in the height of the Civil War, the “Public Debt” at the time primarily consisted of war expenses.  The Internal Revenue Act also established the Office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and allowed the country to be divided into collection districts, of which assessors and collectors were appointed.
Taxable goods and services were determined by legislative acts passed throughout the years. All persons, partnerships, firms, associations, and corporations submitted to the assistant assessor of their division, a list showing the amount of annual income, articles subject special taxes and duties, and the quantity of goods made or sold that were charged with taxes or duties. The assistant assessors collected and compiled these lists into two general lists. These lists were:
    1. A list of names of all individuals residing in the division who were subject to taxation
    2. A list of names of all individuals residing outside the division, but who were owners of property in the division
These lists were organized alphabetically according to surname and recorded the value, assessment, or enumeration of taxable income or items and the amount of tax due. After all examinations and appeals, copies of these lists were given to the collector who then went and collected the taxes.
The assessment lists are divided into 3 categories:
    1. Annual
    2. Monthly
    3. Special
Annual and monthly lists are for taxes assessed or collected within those periods of time. Special lists supplemented incomplete annual and monthly lists and also included any taxes that were indicated as “special” by the assessors.
About the Records:
Form 23, Assessment List, was the form used for many years to record tax information. Although there are several different versions of this form, it generally recorded:
  • Name of Collection District
  • Name of Collector
  • Date of the list
  • Instructions for completing the form
  • Name of person or business being taxed
  • Address
  • Taxable period
  • Amount reported by the collector
  • Remarks on the assessment
  • Article or occupation taxed
  • Record of payment if the tax was paid
  • Amount paid or abated
Form 58, List of Unassessable Collections, recorded the receipt and disbursement of unassessed collections. Unassessed collections could include: conscience money, paid court order fines, and offers of compromise, among others.
Years covered for Indiana, 1862-1864
Tax Assessment, 1863, Chris  and John Kraut, Marked
Tax Assessment, 1864, John and Chris Kraut, Madison, IN, Marked
     Let’s  hope these additional Kraut records bring more answers to the whereabouts of  Elizabeth Kraut’s parents and siblings.   For sure, I can see that I need to dig further into references on tax documents to get the full value of the information contained within them.  John and Chris Kraut’s liquor businesses may lead me to happy days.
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
    Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Who Is Cousin C. A. Kraut?

      I wrote recently, (see post on February 25), about the news that Anna and Clara Keen visited their cousin, C. A. Kraut, in Madison, Indiana.  This discovery sent me on the quest to find C. A. Kraut and any surrounding family.  I’m hoping this research will lead me to the ancestry of Anna and Clara’s mother,  Elizabeth Kraut Keen.  Maybe we can now begin developing some details of the Kraut family.
     Taking this small lead for C. A. Kraut in Madison, Indiana, in the Madison Herald,  I was able to gather some hints that might connect to Elizabeth.  First, I narrowed my search by the probable age of Mr. C. A. Kraut. I am assuming C. A. is a male for now. Since the information I have is that he is a cousin of Clara and Anna Keen, I am estimating his birth to be between 1845 and 1870.  Using this estimation as a starting point, I searched censuses and other resources for variations of his name from 1850 through 1900.  Narrowing the results to possibilities for this cousin, I came up with two census records: 
1870 Census: Christian Kraut, born 1852 in Wurtemberg, living in Louisville, Kentucky.  This 18 year-old appears as a part of the family of Frederick and Serina Kraut, with their ten children.
1880 Census: Chris Kraut, born 1849 in Prussia, living in Madison, Indiana.  This 31-year-old is married to Louisa and operates a restaurant.  He also could be the cousin we are seeking. 
1900 Census:  No C. A., Christian or Chris Kraut/Krout turns up in the census search.
     These two records above are the closest to a match for the information I have to date on C. A. Kraut.  The date of birth and residence are close enough to earn consideration.  Hopefully these are pieces of the puzzle that will fit at some point.
     I did come across other Christian and Chris Krauts in Madison, Indiana.  However, the age for these men would make them possibly the father of our cousin, C. A. Kraut.  I hope that’s the case.  Meaning, I’ve found Elizabeth’s brother!  But for now, I’m accumulating all this information so that I can hope to squeeze out some proof of the Kraut family.
     I also researched burials, city directories and a few other resources. The only piece of interesting or relative information I was able to locate was the burial of a child, Christian Kraut in 1880 in Madison, Indiana. 
     To summarize this section of the Kraut family research, I developed a Research Log with the information I was able to put together.  It includes information that may eventually connect to this cousin, C. A. Kraut.  The Results in red are those that appear at this time to have a connection to C. A. Kraut and his family.  My goal is to carry forward with these efforts to bring the Kraut family history into focus.  Below is the C. A. Kraut research to date.


     There’s no conclusion to be drawn yet on who exactly C. A. Kraut is or where he is.  As I’m able to uncover more connections I’ll have answers that paint him into our family history, enhancing Elizabeth Kraut Keen's story.  For the time being, I’m glad to know this cousin to some small extent.

     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley