Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Super Gathering for 2016 Weber Kuhn Reunion

     It poured but didn’t dampen our family gathering.   On August 27, the descendants of Harry and Tillie (Kuhn) Weber, Indianapolis, Indiana, enjoyed seeing each other at the 2016 Weber Kuhn Reunion. In the middle of the front row are our two matriarchs, Ruth Weber and Peg Stull.
2016 Weber Kuhn Reunion, Sarah Bolton Park, Beech Grove, Indiana

This was a glimpse at the day's interactions.
There are many beautiful photos  on the reunion page: CLICK HERE.
Also, you’ll find photos of Weber and Kuhn folks who came before us AT THIS LINK. 

Thanks to everyone for making this a festive and friendly reunion. 
I look forward to another special event next year.

Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Finding Resources In Not So Obvious Places: My Germans Mixed With the Italians

    Just being curious can pay off sometimes. I was reminded of this recently during my scanning project of my old research files.  As I open the manila folders from my file drawers, I’m rediscovering forgotten family history background in historical articles, maps and photos.  I thought I’d share one of those forgotten files today that reminds me that we should keep our minds open for resources in not so obvious places. 

     Sometime in the past few years I pulled off the local library shelf the book entitled The Italians of Indianapolis by Prof. James Divita (library link below).  No, I have no Italian ancestry.  It was the knowledge that Prof. Divita writes very informative books about the Catholic parishes in Indianapolis that made me look. This source turned out to be not only a fabulous insight into the city’s ethnic development, but it includes mentions of my local German families.

     As an example of how a resource might contain unexpected information, I’m sharing a scattering of excerpts from this Italian history that include references to the Suess and Buennagel families.  These German families were involved with establishing an Italian Catholic parish in Indianapolis, Holy Rosary.  They belonged to the German parish, St. Mary’s.  When an Italian priest came to Indianapolis to look into establishing a new Catholic church, they were ready to help out.  Max and Lizzie Suess are mentioned in the third page excerpt below as the couple who sold the land for the new church on Stevens Street.  Lizzie Suess was my great grand aunt, a daughter of Lawrence and Elizabeth Keen.  Also mentioned on the following pages is the Buennagel family.  Another Keen sister married into this family as well.  The Buennagels introduced their Italian friends to the new priest and the bonds were established.  These tidbits of family history were for me only available in this unlikely place. 

     Lastly I’ll mention a photo included in this book that adds a nice facet to the story of my Germans.  On the first cutout of a page below is a photo of Saint Mary’s Church and Academy on East Maryland Street around 1890.  This was the parish home for several of my direct and collateral ancestors, the Kasberg, Keen, Paetz, Suess, Weber and other families. This mostly German parish at the time was moved several blocks away in later years and this property sold. The buildings no longer exist.

 Indianapolis Italians 1

Indianapolis Italians 2

Indianapolis Italians 3


Indianapolis Italians 4


Indianapolis Italians 5


Indianapolis Italians 6

Indianapolis Italians 7

     This account by Professor Divita tells a fascinating story of the overall ethnic makeup  and history of the south side of Indianapolis during the late 19th and early 20th century.   Anyone seeking history of Indianapolis’ south side communities in these formative years will find The Italians of Indianapolis a rich resource. 

   Arrivederci.  Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,


Here’s information on The Italians of Indianapolis at Marion County Indianapolis library.

For a list of Keen and Weber Family Descendants: Click Here

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wordless Wednesday (Almost): Donald Frank Niehaus, 1942 - 2010

Remembering my brother, Don Niehaus,
 who would have been 74 years old on September 2, 2016. 

Don Niehaus 1944

Donald Frank Niehaus, 2 Sept 1942 - 18  Feb 2010

Friday, August 26, 2016

Finding More Pieces of Her Story: Birth Certificate of Rosemary Ethel Weber

  It seems as though there’s something revealed each time another historical record surfaces. But there's just never enough time to gather all those juicy pieces.  In this case I would say that procrastination paid off.  You see, I hadn’t yet paid for my parents' birth certificates from the health department.  Then, one day they appeared online!  Recently a new database of Indiana birth certificates was added to  Now I can locate these rich documents from home for the years 1907 to 1940.  My keyboard has been burning up with searches. Sure, I knew most of the birth dates already, including my mother's.  But consistently I find that each of these old documents confirms a date, adds a place I didn’t know or provides other details adding to the person's story.  For Rosemary Ethel Weber’s birth certificate that's the case.  (Full transcription is at the end of this post.)
     I didn’t necessarily expect any revelations.  I just wanted to have Rose’s birth certificate because it’s primary documentation of her history.  Her baptismal record at Sacred Heart Catholic Church had already provided an indirect confirmation of the date and place of her birth.  However, we could question the place of birth that someone listed on the church record. Sure enough, it’s the same address on the official birth certificate: 733 Parkway Avenue, Indianapolis,  Indiana.  A search on Google for that address shows an empty lot. Oh well, I can see the homes on Parkway remaining today and get an idea of the neighborhood where this young family lived.  I also found that Rose’s older brother Bob was born at this same address on Parkway in 1914.   I drove to that spot.

         There was also a family story that might be connected, or confirmed, through this document.  There’s the question about whether any of the Weber children born at home may have been assisted by Miss Anna Wintz, who we all know to have been the family caretaker later in their lives.  She was said to have been a midwife, or at least assisted families in the local area at the time new children arrived. 
       I found the signature and address of the attending physician, C. W. Marxer.  Brief research on this doctor resulted in a listing for Dr. Conrad Marxer as an instructor in obstetrics at the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons in Indianapolis in 1902.   This certificate also has an additional line where a midwife could be listed.  There’s a signature of H. G. Morgan.  Records online confirm a Dr. H. G. Morgan was the secretary of the City Health Board in 1916.  He may have signed all birth certificates at this time.  For  sure, Miss Wintz isn’t recorded anywhere on this official document.   Now I’m a little closer to the description of her involvement in my mother’s birth.  Maybe she was present.  We might never know the details.  If she was there, I can now say it probably wasn’t in the capacity of official midwife.   
     What else did this 100-year-old record from the Indiana State Board of Health bring? Of course, the age and occupation information on Harry and Tillie Weber, Rose’s parents, is included.  Also, I see that Rose was born at 8:30 a.m. on that March 3 in 1916.  It may have been a sleepless night for Tillie.  Probably for Harry as well.  And possibly for their two-year-old son, Bob.  Just speculating.  But with a little more reason to do so, right?
    Indiana State Board of Health Certificate of Birth, Reg. No. 36169   
     Place of birth:  County of Marion, Township of Center, City of Indianapolis, No: 733 Parkway Ave., 13th Ward
     Full name of child:  Rosemary Ethel Weber
     Sex of child: girl
     Legitimate: yes
     Date of birth:  Mar 3, 1916
     Father: Harry L. Weber
     Residence: 733 Parkway Ave.
     Color or race: White
     Age:  28
     Birthplace: Indianapolis, Ind.
     Occupation: Clerk
     Mother: Tillie Kuhn
     Residence:  733 Parkway Ave.
     Color or race:  White
     Age:  25
     Birthplace:  Indianapolis, Ind.
     Occupation: House work
     Number of children born to this mother, including present birth: 2
     Number of children of this mother, now living, including present birth:  2
     Were precautions taken against opthalmin neonatorum: yes
     Certificate of Attending Physicial or Midwife
     I hereby certify that I attended the birth of this child, who was alive at 8:30 a.m. on the date above stated. 
   Signature:  C. W. Marxer
     Attending physicial, midwife, householder:  H. G. Morgan
     Address:  503 E. McCarty St.
    Filed: March 6, 1916
     It really is true that each old record is valuable, regardless of what information we already have.  This database online is definitely a treasure chest for anyone lacking the basic family facts. But even though I had many of the facts on my mother,  her birth certificate is very important to me.  I’ll probably connect more dots along the road as a result of having this additional piece to add to Rose Weber’s history.  
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Our Hometown Indianapolis, Rediscovering German Street News of 1918 forwarded to 1991

     It’s like hitting the history jackpot. Taking a fresh look at research papers gathered over the past 15 years is reminding me of their value. You know, all that ‘special stuff’ that’s been patiently waiting for me to pull them out of the file drawers.  Well, recently I decided to either use them or lose them.  I’ve begun a sorting and scanning escapade.  There are manila folders filled with articles clipped from magazines, copied from books and downloaded from the internet.  Stashed in those files are maps and photos of people, places and things.  Those that I have rechosen after a quick review, will be  searchable on my  computer now.  Much more usable and beneficial than in those drawers.  
      I’m scanning and uploading the files to both Evernote and Google Drive so I have a choice of how I look at them. And besides, it’s so easy to do with my Scansnap.  I’ve tried not to become too involved as I see all these interesting materials reappear. But now that I’m well into the scanning, I’m letting myself select a few to share here on Indiana Ties.
     The selectionStreet Scene from Indianapolis, Indiana.  Postcard owned by Nancy Hurley. today is a newspaper clipping that I found in the history section of the Indianapolis Public Library in about 2002. I remember I was looking for information on how the street addresses in my ancestors’ neighborhoods were renumbered over the years when I came across this interesting piece that begged to be copied.  It sidetracked me briefly, but the information was worth it.  I think anyone would agree that this news item makes you speculate about the people in your own family living in this city at this time.  
       In 1991 an Indianapolis Star staff writer, Robert N. Bell, reported on the City County Council’s action to put in place historical markers where German street names were changed during the anti-Germany sentiments that occurred during and after World War I. Of course, this circumstance occurred in many cities of the U. S.   But this proximity in Indianapolis made me stop to think of my German family and what they might have encountered during those years.
     Specifically, these events bring to mind Joseph Niehaus, my immigrant great grandfather, living on South West Street from 1888 to 1921, just a few blocks from those streets that were stripped of their German names. Was his rug weaving business affected by the anti-German feelings? Did his children, some of them born in Germany, who were beginning their own families, have concerns about their children at school?
     And what about the Harry Adam Weber family’s interactions? Most of the large family still lived with their parents at 533 South Alabama Street. Harry worked at this time for the mayor, in the city engineer’s office. Seven of the adult children were employed in various jobs around the city, such as clerical staff at the railroad and the coal company, in an upholstering shop, a machine shop and as an electrician.   Was there backlash within these businesses? How would they feel as news came of Germany’s wartime activities?    It had been only a few years since Amelia Weber, a German immigrant, was living with her son, Harry’s family.  Were her grandchildren relieved she wasn’t around to see the circumstances of the war?
     I wonder if overall these issues might have drawn the German immigrants in the city into tighter groups? Oh, wouldn’t it be fascinating if we could know what they discussed in their family get-togethers.
     This historical accounting in the newspaper, 73 years after the war, reports that placing the markers indicating the former names of the streets is the  “appropriate thing to do.”  Here’s the story printed in the Indianapolis Star on October 20, 1991.    
German Streets Newspaper Article, 1991
          I hope you enjoyed this tiny slice of Indianapolis Hometown history.  There will be more to share as I scan and refile lots of research.  Come back to see what pops up!
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rose and Bob Weber at the Park, 1924: Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

     My Wordless Wednesday posts are “almost wordless” since I find it too difficult to not say anything about the photos that I’m sharing.  This is one of my favorite photos from the Weber scrapbook. The two lovely children are my mother, Rose, and her brother, Bob Weber, in about 1924.  It must be a fall day since they have on sweaters, leggings and hats.  The photo is taken in Garfield Park near the Weber home in Indianapolis.  The family spent a good deal of time at the park since it was within a block of their home.  It’s still today a nice place to take a break.
Rosemary Ethel Weber with her brother, Robert Walter Weber, Indianapolis, IN

    Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley