Thursday, March 5, 2015

Niehaus Heritage Quilt - Treasure Chest Thursday

Young and old, shy and boisterous, skinny and plump, male and female, talented and challenged — The members of the Niehaus family contributed to this unique treasure. 2012 Niehaus Family Heritage Quilt
This is the second in what I can imagine will be a “quilt series” on Treasure Chest Thursday. There are too many great possibilities in this category, right?
This time I’m featuring the Niehaus Heritage Quilt that I acquired by winning the annual family reunion raffle in 2012. It contains quilt squares written by hand by those attending the Niehaus reunion in 2011, as well as a photo of Gertrude (Wilmsen) Niehaus (1847-1895),my immigrant great grandmother. The fall colors motif reminds me of the oranges and yellows of the leaves in Indiana as they float off the trees each year.
Again, the quilter is Peg (Weber) Stull. This special piece is brimming with love and history that is threaded through it from here and there. Peg uses the squares created on-site by family members attending each reunion for the foundation of the quilt. Once the reunion is over and she takes stock of her stash of signed squares, she hunts carefully for the unique fabric to work into that particular year’s quilt. In the past few years I’ve also contributed family photo squares to bring a sampling of the ancestors into the picture. Peg then prepares her layout and gets to work. She has been known also to call on nieces or daughters Martha Niehaus Fleetwood quilt squareor sisters to help with the final stitching of the backing. For instance, you can see on the square in one of these photos that my sister, Martha, helped out. Peg’sSampling of squares on Niehaus Heritage Quilt. creativity and skill bring the project to fruition.
The singularity of these quilted mementos is unmatched. There’s a personal tale told on each 6x6 piece. And they all intertwine into our shared history. I was so happy to have my number drawn for this jewel. It will be preserved and cherished.
Send me your quilt story and photos if you would like to see it featured here.  Or any item that you are keeping in that special place in your house to someday be handed down.

Thanks so much for visiting Indiana Ties,

copyright 2015 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Special Quilt From Aunt Peg - Treasure Chest Thursday

    What should be in a family treasure chest?  Of course, it would contain items of value in various ways from a variety of people.  These treasures should bring thoughts of a person or an event, or maybe a tradition of some kind.   Not necessarily monumental memories of monumental events.  Just those little pieces that give the color and life to our stories.  And there would be some additions that are more important to some than others. Overall, the ingredients of this treasure chest when gathered together would paint a family story. 
     I have a few items already in our family's treasure chest here on Indiana Ties. (Click on Treasure Chest Thursday in the left column to see them.)  Now, it's time to fill it some more.  IMG_4387
     My special ingredient to add to the treasure chest today is a quilt made for me by Aunt Peg, (Margaret Weber Stull, daughter of Harry Lawrence Weber and Otillia "Tillie" Kuhn).   I remember clearly the day she surprised me with this lovely creation.  I was visiting at her Nancy and so that she could look over the quilt squares made with family heritage photos that I put together.  She adds them to the family's signature blocks to create our family reunion quilt.  It's so beautiful how she puts it all together.  I have absolutely no quilting knowledge.  Aunt Peg is an expert.  For me, to be able to have some small part in these family heirlooms is a joy. 
     Well anyway, about two years ago she decided that she would make me a quilt as a thank you.  I was flabbergasted when she presented me with this handmade piece.  The quilt is made of denim squares, some of them she has salvaged from old blue jeans. Over the years Peg has used this denim for various quilts and I love the idea.  To complete this gift she added a personal message on the back with her signature.
     I will always love this quilt and the memories that are a part of it.  It's priceless.
       I'm making plans for the Indiana Ties website for 2015 that involve having more fun with the family.  Wouldn't it be great to reach 100 special family treasures in this treasure chest?  Glad you agree.  Winking smile  I've started already looking more closely for those important pieces in my boxes and shelves.  And I have a few ideas. But the fun would really begin with stuff I don't know about yet.  So here we go cousins!  Do you have something that should go inside?  Maybe it's a photo of a favorite vacation, or a car that your dad restored or your son's prize-winning soap box derby entry.  Send me a photo.  What's the story behind it? Just include a few words that give the background and show the value to you.  It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate or museum quality.  Just valuable to you.  There's room in this virtual chest for all our family treasures.
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.

copyright © Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tribute to Janie (Stull) Hickman -- 1919 - 2015

     There are certain people that add their own special ingredient to our lives.  You know the ones.  They have a lasting smile that reflects in their eyes.  They have a quiet strength, so that you know you can always count on them.  And their sense of humor is ready to bubble up at any time.  These are among the qualities that I would list as Janie Hickman's.    I can see her now helping Jane (Stull) Hickman and her husband, Kemome fill in the blanks in our Niehaus family history.  Any time she could name the people in an old photo or provide details of a family story, she'd sit down and chat.  I even interviewed her a few years ago from Arizona during the winter so that I could complete a story for our newsletter.  Above all, she had a caring nature.  I know that my dad was happy to have her as a cousin and so am I.
     Janie left this world on February 11.  My condolences to her children, grandchildren and all who cared for her.  I feel sure there's a card game in heaven with a seat open for her.  May she rest in peace.
Obituary published on, 2/13/15:
Jane G. Hickman,
age 95, a life-long resident of Indianapolis, died February 11, 2015, peacefully with her loved ones by her side. She was born on August 19, 1919, to Albert and Josephine Niehaus (Van Benthuysen) Stull. She attended Bluff Avenue Grade School and was a 1937 graduate of Southport High School. She was married to Gilbert L. Hickman, Sr. for 34 years until his death in 1976. Jane and Gilbert were Libbe (Hickman) O'Connor, Jane (Stull) Hickman, Gib Hickmanparents to four children, Gilbert "Gib" L. Hickman (Tina), Trudy Harbison (William), Jacksonville, FL, Elizabeth "Libbe" O'Connor (Kieran), and Mary Graham (deceased).
Jane worked at Bluff Avenue Elementary School and retired from J C Penny as well as Indiana Heart Physicians, but managed to dedicate her time to volunteer at St. Francis Hospital off and on for over a period of 30 years. She loved to be involved where she could in making others lives a little bit easier and all the while making life-long friendships along the way.
Jane's life was centered around her love of Jesus and her love for her family. She was known for her great hugs and sense of humor. She was blessed to have eight grandchildren: Ann McDavitt, Mahomet, IL, Chris O'Connor (Cindy), Nathanial Grow (Peggy), Jasper, IN, Jill Hickman, Heather Harbison, Charlotte, NC, Darby O'Connor (Dana), Brooke Graham, and Kelley Hastings (Eddie), Jacksonville, FL. Great grandchildren include Ryan McDavitt, Olivia McDavitt, Kellen McDavitt, Mary McDavitt, Shalyn Grow, Gabriel Grow, Emma Grow, Lydia Grow, Darrick Teague, Jr., Holly Dray, Fairbanks, AK., Chloe O'Connor, Addie O'Connor, Caleb O'Connor, Alice O'Connor, Henry O'Connor, Ethan O'Connor, Will Hastings, Wyatt Hastings, Declan O'Connor, and Daelyn O'Connor. Her great-great grandchildren are Remi, Mossy, Kimber, and Steele Dray.
She continued throughout her life to spread as much love as she could to those whom she met...always for the underdog and always trying to be kind and giving, even at the end of her life. She was thoughtful of others, usually before herself, and had a sensitivity for trying to Niehaus Reunion 2003 (19)understand others and their problems. She had many trials in her long life, but managed somehow to stand up to them, being an example to others of her strength, her faith, and her will.
Those family and friends that she leaves behind will never forget her as her legacy of love will live on in all who were blessed to have known her.
Visitation will be held on Friday, February 13, from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Faith Community Church, 6801 S. East Street, Indianapolis. Additional visitation will be held on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. until the time of service at 1:00 p.m. at the church. Arrangements have been entrusted to G. H. Herrmann Madison Avenue Funeral Home.
Jane will be laid to rest in Washington Park East Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to One Body Ministries, Inc., 3132 Carson Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

Janie is pictured in the above photos as follows:
-- with two of her children, Libbe and Gib, at the 2013 Niehaus family reunion. 
-- with her husband, Gilbert L. Hickman, Sr., Kemo.
-- with her cousin, Norris Niehaus, at the 2005 Niehaus family reunion.

You are more than welcome to leave your thoughts about Jane Hickman as a comment below. Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties. 

copyright © Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ferdinand Marsischky -- The Wagon Maker From Pomerania (Pommern) --- 52 Ancestors Challenge

Note: The 52 Ancestors Challenge is the creation of Amy Johnson Crow at  She's bringing together family history writers to share ancestral stories each week in 2014.   There’s a weekly update on Amy's blog where participants leave comments linking to their stories.  Although I've not been able to keep to the once-per-week goal, I've noticed how this challenge is motivating and lots of fun to read the variation of stories of others.  Thanks again, Amy.
     What's Pomerania?
     I've been exploring in Pomerania (German: Pommern) lately so that I could understand the region where my third great grandfather, Ferdinand Marsischky, lived.  What I have learned so far is that Pomerania history is complex!   As is the case with most of Europe, the governing powers, names and boundaries changed often as wars determined
new states.  In Ferdinand Marsischky's lifetime (approx. 1830-1900) and the timeframe that his children lived in the country, Pomerania was a province in the northeastern area of the Kingdom of Prussia (Germany).  The Baltic Sea creates its northern border. As I was saying, the history involves numerous invasions and changes in power. There are links at the bottom of this post where you can read more historic details.  For now, skip forward to a major upheaval that resulted in today's status: In 1945, long after the Marsischky sons emigrated to America and Ferdinand had died, the territory became part of Poland.
     Who were our Marsischkys?
     After looking at the history of Pomerania, I've decided that the Marsischky family could be Prussian/German, Polish, or Slavic.  In fact, there could be more ethnic possibilities since this region was under many rulers, even Sweden for a time. The surname Marsischky might be presumed to be Polish due to the spelling.  But, from the few pieces of information I have on the family, it appears that they were more likely German. The family was/is Lutheran, which also coincides with the history of many areas of northern Europe/Prussia after the Protestant Reformation and the Germanic influence.
    How and where did Ferdinand Live?  
Dumrose, Stolp, Pomerania
     On the map I am posting of Europe in 1866, you can see from my red arrow the vicinity of the Marsischky home - in the eastern-most region of Pomerania (called Hinter Pommern, Farther Pomerania).  In the 1850s, Ferdinand Marsischky lived in the Kreis (district/county) Stolp.  From Ferdinand's son's marriage records I know that he was born in Dumrose, a rural village in Stolp.  (Of course, due to more wars there are border changes in 1866-1871 that change this map somewhat. But Pomerania remains a part of Prussia/Germany.  After World War II, if there were any living descendants of Ferdinand in this same area, they most likely migrated to other parts of Europe when the Russian Army forced most inhabitants out and the Poles took over. The name of the towns and districts were changed when it became Poland; Dumrose is now Domaradz, and Stolp is Slupsk.)
      The economy in Kreis Stolp was supported by fishing and agriculture in the 19th century. In addition to wheat and other crops, the farmers had cows, sheep, pigs, geese, chickens and hives for bees.  The Kreis was sparsely populated, and had small villages through the countryside.  Ferdinand Marsischky supported his family as a wagon maker, providing an essential service to his fellow Pomeranians.  The forests of Pomerania would have provided a good supply of timber for his trade.  His wagons were necessary for transporting products for sale, both in the surrounding villages and a short distance north to the Baltic Sea for sale or shipping to other ports.  If you were driving one of Ferdinand's wagons in Stolp you would pass through rolling hills with forests and farms.  And as you reached the small town of Dumrose the countryside became moreMarket Wagon, ca. 1900, from The Carriage Museum in New York - flat.  That's when you might pass by the estate or manor house of the local nobility. I would guess that family purchased the upscale model of Ferdinand's wagons! 
     Here's a nice description of the area from  "In the rural countryside, everyone lived in small villages often centered around the landed estates (Guts). The Guts generally consisted of a large manor house, several huge barns and stables and often a flour mill or distillery.  A majority of the villages had one church, the Evangelical Church, with an adjoining cemetery.  Most had less than a few hundred inhabitants living in a few dozen houses or households.  In some villages, homes simply lined both sides of the road (a plan followed by the Wends); in others, homes were clustered around a central commons with the manor house at one end and the church at the other (Germanic plan).  These communal villages not only provided protection for the residents but facilitated easy access to the fields that radiated outward from the village."
      I don't yet know Ferdinand's exact life span, but an estimate would be approximately 1830 to 1900.   We know he was living in Stolp County in the mid 19th century, when he would have seen Pomerania get its first overland railways, including narrow gauge railways to transport crops.  The railroad and other eventual means of transportation, of course, impacted Ferdinand's wagon-making business.  He could foresee his trade disappearing.   And probably these cultural changes were an influence on how the Marsischky family looked for the next generation's livelihoods. These developments and others involving politics, economic hardships and wars must have weighed on Ferdinand's mind as a father.  Can we think of the conversations with his children about joining the huge number of fellow citizens leaving their homeland for opportunities in America?  Presuming that Ferdinand and his wife, Charlotte, were still alive in 1881, we can only imagine the family conversation as their son, Wilhelm, sat with them to discuss the decision that he and his wife, Carrie, made to travel with their four children to America to establish a new home. But that's another story.
     Ferdinand Marsischky, the wagon maker, most likely remained in Pomerania until his death.  I have no indication that he came to America with his children. But, did he migrate to Berlin or another larger city for employment?  Or to Russia?  This place called Pomerania has captured my attention. I hope to have more of Ferdinand's story in time.   
     To see the Family Group details for Ferdinand and Charlotte Marsischky, CLICK HERE.   Do you have a Marsischky story to share?   Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties

My sources on Pomerania and Wagons:

The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages
Michiana History Publications, South Bend, Indiana, Central Europe map/information
Germanic Genealogy Society Click here to read more about Pomerania.
Other related posts and genealogy from Indiana Ties:
Wilhelm (William) F. Marsischky -- Where Did He End UP?
Ladies In My Line - Martha Marsischky Albers

Copyright © 2014  Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rosemary and Robert Weber, About 1918 --- Wordless Wednesday, Almost

Rose and Bob Weber


                This Almost Wordless Wednesday post will be close to wordless since it speaks for itself.  This is one of my favorite photos of my mom, Rose, and her brother Bob Weber.  At the time of this photo they would have been the only two children of Harry and Tillie Weber of Indianapolis.  Three more sisters and another brother would follow them.  Rose is two and Bob is four when they were posing for this studio shot.  Aren't they beautiful!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Harold "Norris" Niehaus - Veteran of World War II -- Wordless Wednesday, Almost

Norris Niehaus, center in uniform, surrounded by his family.
     With Veterans Day approaching I am including a Niehaus family veteran as my post for Wordless Wednesday - Almost.  In the center of this photo with his family is my uncle, Harold "Norris" Niehaus.  His mother and father, Ruth and John Niehaus are seated in front of him.  Norris wasn't yet married in this 1943 photo.  He's holding my brother, his nephew, Donny Niehaus.  I am presuming this was a farewell gathering for him before he was sent overseas.  This photo includes all of his siblings except one, Charles.  Since he was also a veteran, perhaps he was already shipped out. 
     Norris Niehaus was 18 years old when he enlisted in the U. S. Army on 20 February 1943 at Indianapolis, Indiana.  He was listed as single, without dependents.  And his description also included: 68 inches tall and weight, 129 lbs.  He served honorably in the Pacific and returned home to Indianapolis.  Norris married Betty Schmaltz in 1950 and their descendants thrive today.  We appreciate the service of this veteran and all who sacrificed with him.

     You will find more Wordless Wednesday posts by clicking on the link in the left column.  I welcome comments from the family on this and any of the photos that I am happy to share.

Copyright © 2014, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Monday, November 3, 2014

Julianna Weber Micol: She's Our Third Great Grandmother & Third Great Grand Aunt

     When I discovered my second great grandparents marriage record it came with more surprises than usual.  The 1856 marriage record was within the Civil War Widow's Pension application documents for Amelia (Micol) Weber that I located at the National Archives a few years ago. (I wrote in this earlier post about Amelia's Pension Quest.)  Those pension records were so overflowing with amazing information that it took me a while to digest it all.   But as I sorted through and began to absorb the affidavits, personal letters, church and military records, I came across the translation from German of a church record from the Catholic Church in Vilbel.  There I found a good deal more about the couple's immediate family than I would haveAdam Weber, Amelia Micol Marriage, Vilbel Catholic Church, p. 69, 1856 imagined.  Here's a short excerpt that includes those pieces:
Translation of Adam Weber and Amelia Micol's marriage record, from the records of the local Catholic Church in the Community of Vilbel:
"In the year one thousand eight hundred fifty six (12 May 1856) according to the authority of the local Catholic parish and in the parish of St. Johannes church in Bremen, and after receiving dispensation because of the second degree of blood relation, and after the official approval of the regional court with regard to the civil and clerical conditions of the union that there were no problems with proceeding with the marriage; and with the approval of both sets of parents, Adam Weber,  citizen and policeman in Bremen, the legitimate unmarried son of Adam Weber, citizen and sheep herder in Altenstadt, and his wife, Katharina, nee Gunsst, of the Catholic religion, and at the age of 36 ½ ; and Maria Amalia Micol, the legitimate unmarried daughter of the late local citizen and master tailor, Frederick Ludwig Micol and his wife, Julianae, nee Weber, of the Catholic religion, age 22 and 7 months."  (For those who can read and translate the script and the Latin, I am posting the actual church record on the right.)
     I reread and studied this information to be sure I was understanding it fully.  There were, of course, pieces to pull apart and analyze.  What is "dispensation because of the second degree of blood relation?" Why have official approval of the civil and clerical conditions of the union? There's some further information in the last line of this paragraph that sheds a little light on those issues.  When Amelia Micol's mother is listed, it states her name as Julianae, nee Weber.  Adding the dispensation and the maiden name together seemed to say that Adam Weber was already related to his wife's mother.  But I still wasn't sure that I knew the story.
     I did some online research to try to understand the meaning of and what was involved in the Catholic Church's dispensation for "second degree of blood relation" used in the 1856 marriage record. Here's information that most clearly explained this situation: (See note 2 below also.):
      Relationships, through either blood (consanguinity) or marriage (affinity) were recorded, and marriage dispensations were granted, by "degree". A first degree relationship would indicate siblings; a second degree relationship would indicate first cousins; third degree meant second cousins; and fourth degree indicated third cousins. Relationships more distant than third cousins (fourth degree) were not recorded in the marriage records.
     Researchers must remember that marriage dispensations of consanguinity/affinity were not granted as a matter of course. And, not all priests had the rights to grant marriage dispensations.  The power to grant a marriage dispensation was, to my understanding, held by the Diocese (ie: the Bishop or Arch-Bishop) and not by the individual priest. However, priests were sometimes extended the powers to grant dispensations to a particular degree without having to apply to the Diocese in every case. But, should the priest not have been granted those powers, or the dispensation in question was outside of the limits set for him, then an application to the Diocese would have to be made.

      Then, I also found Wikipedia background on consanguinity and affinity:  Consanguinity ("blood relation", from the Latin consanguinitas) is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person.  In law and in cultural anthropology, affinity, as distinguished from consanguinity (blood relationship), is the kinship relationship that exists between two or more people as a result of somebody's marriage. It is the relationship which each party to a marriage has to the relations of the other partner to the marriage; but does not coverJulianna Weber Micol's relationship to Joyce Holzer the marital relationship of the parties to the marriage themselves.
       I have concluded from the records and research that, thanks to her nephew, Adam Weber, and her daughter, Amelia Micol,  Julianna Weber Micol was both an aunt and a mother-in-law to Adam as of May 12, 1856.    Some day I'll have to investigate to see if there are any more church records with the diocese in Bremen about the dispensation.   Or, if the priest of the Catholic Church in Vilbel recorded any correspondence with the bishop of the diocese.
     This is yet another fascinating piece of the Weber Family History that I'm happy to pass along.  I can tell all my Weber cousins that  Julianna Weber Micol is our third great grandmother as well as our third great grand aunt.  And to the many children of all of my cousins: Did you know that you are BOTH a fourth great grandchild and a fourth great grand niece or nephew of Julianna (Weber) Micol?! 
     To see how my Roots Magic genealogy software would handle this dual relationship, I produced a relationship chart for my cousin, Joyce Holzer, who is celebrating a birthday this month.  Of course, the third great grandmother trumped the third great grand aunt when this kinship is calculated.  You can see the generations traced back on the chart at the left.  There's more to it though, isn't there?!    
     Happy Birthday Joyce!!!
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.  Let me know if there is more you might have to add about this relationship with Julianna.  Especially if you are one of our Weber relatives!  I will be glad to share more information about our ancestors.
Note 1:  The Weber/Micol marriage record at its original source:Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT, microfilm #939213-4, Catholic Church of Vilbel (Friedberg District) (Vilbel, Hessen, Germany), Church Registers, 1655-1876, 1856 marriages,  No. 2, May 12, 1856, Adam Weber and Maria Amelia Micol.
Note 2:  For online information on consanguinity and affinity and marriage dispensations, I found this website helpful: 
Copyright 2014 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley