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

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ladies In My Line: Charlotte Krause Marsischky, One More Special Third Great Grandmother

Who was Charlotte Krause Marsischky?  What was her life like in Pomerania?  What should I say about her?  First, she’s the third great grandmother that has been left out of the “Ladies In My Line” here at Indiana Ties. As I was taking another look at the ancestors on my blog roll for omissions, the Krause name came to the top of the heap.  It’s about  time I paid attention to Charlotte Krause, even if there remain large gaps in the story.
Making a calculated guess I would say that Charlotte lived from approximately 1825 to 1890.  My best reasoning with the scant information I have about her is that she was born in Wend Silkow, Pomerania. My map of Central
Europe in 1815 to 1866 posted above shows an orange arrow and a yellow line indicating Pomerania’s location on the Baltic Sea.  My conclusion that Charlotte Krause was born in Wend Silkow considered clues from her children’s records.  I studied the marriage license application of her son, Wilhelm from 1905 and immigration records and censuses of both Wilhelm and his siblings from 1880 through 1920.  Even a birth record of one of Charlotte’s grandchildren adds some interest.  The marriage record (excerpt above) indicates Charlotte was born in “Vandselkow.”  I also know from that same document that her husband, Ferdinand Marsischky, was born in Dumrese.  And that their son gives Stolp County as his birthplace.  At that time Stolp County was in Pommern, or Pomerania.

    The Village of Wend Silkow, Charlotte’s Home:
   Adding these geographical pieces together and thinking about a German accent brought me to my selection of Wend Silkow in Stolp (Kreis) County, Pomerania, as Charlotte’s birthplace.  I studied several maps of Stolp County to find towns that could relate to the Dumras and Vandselkow listed on this document from the Indianapolis city archive in 1905. There’s Dumrese in the center of Stolp County and Wend Silkow about 27 kilometeres north.  Can’t you imagine that if a clerk was completing the application for the marriage license and Wilhelm said Wend Silkow with a German accent that she/he might write down Vandselkow???   Below is an excerpt from an old map with Stolp County, Dumrese and Wend Silkow highlighted in yellow.

Map excerpt: Pomerania, Stolp County, Dumrese and Wend Silkow highlighted
     Were the 27 kilometers between these two towns too great a distance for Charlotte to get to know Ferdinand Marsischky?  Maybe Ferdinand worked for a farmer near Charlotte's village.  Or she came to Dumrese to help out in a cousin's home.  Arrangements for marriages were common in the mid 1800s.  Perhaps their fathers were connected in some way.  Future research will, hopefully, fill in some of these gaps in Charlotte Krause’s story.
     Today the village where Charlotte was born, Wend Silkow, is named Zelkowo and is in Stupsk, a district of Poland.  The wars and resettlements of people have probably wiped out traces of that Krause family living there in approximately 1825 (my estimated date of birth for Charlotte.)  As is true of the entire continent of Europe, the timeline of border and name changes for this town would be lengthy. 
       Where you see Wend Silkow, Pomerania, in the top right corner of this old map is today’s town of Zelkowo in Poland.  Here’s brief background from Wikipedia that shows that even though the name is new the village remains small:
         Żelkowo [ʐɛlˈkɔvɔ] (German: Wendisch Silkow) is a village in the administrative district of      Gmina Główczyce, within Słupsk County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland.  It lies approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) west ofGłówczyce, 18 km (11 mi) north-east of Słupsk, and 96 km (60 mi) west of the regional capital Gdańsk.   The village has a population of 280.  Before 1945 the area was part of Germany. For the history of the region, see History of Pomerania.
     Let’s Speculate About Charlotte’s Life:
     Charlotte’s life in Wend Silkow was likely one of hard work, centered around family and church.  Around the time she was born the king, Friedrich Wilhelm III, ordered the formation of a State church, Evangelische Kirche, and required everyone to attend.  Her family was most probably Lutheran, judging from the tradition carried on by her descendants after they emigrated to the U.S.  These religious requirements were the reason why some people emigrated to America.  It would be very interesting know how the Krause family felt about the church merger.
     I wonder also if Charlotte eventually migrated to another area of Germany with Ferdinand and their children.  The opportunities were limited in their small villages and they had at least three sons, August, Wilhelm and Albert.  Their small village life surely had plusses and minuses.  The community worked and celebrated as one.  But were there stresses that may have pushed Charlotte and her husband to take their family elsewhere?  Even after serfdom was abolished in 1811 in Pomerania, many peasants had a difficult time surviving with small amounts of land.  We know that in 1874 one of Charlotte’s granddaughters was born in Berlin, giving an indication that at least one of their sons moved on.  That’s another piece of this family tapestry that may eventually help to bring Charlotte’s life into sharper focus.
      I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open and my research antennae up for more pieces of the history of Charlotte Krause. There are many more questions about Charlotte’s life than I have answers today.   
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Related posts you may want to read:
Ferdinand Marsischky: The Wagon Maker From Pomerania
Ladies In My Line: Martha Marsischky Albers
Wilhelm Marsischky: Where Did He End Up?

Copyright © 2016 , Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Indiana City Directories Online: Great Resource from the Indiana Genealogical Society

     City Directories are a goldmine of information for family historians.  Whether it’s locating a person’s residence, identifying an occupation or a spouse or maybe gathering background on the city overall, these are fantastic resources.  Recently the Indiana Genealogical Society shared a listing of Indiana city directories online that lends a helping hand for finding those resources quickly.  I want to keep this reference readily available, so I’m adding a link to Nancy’s Finding Aids on the tab above. 
Thank you to the Indiana Genealogical Society for providing this pdf link:
         Marsischky, Wm., Indpls City Dir., 1898

Here are a couple of examples of how city directories have contributed to my family history.
Kuhn, Indpls City Directory, 1878     


     Above is an excerpt from the 1898 Indianapolis City Directory listing Albert, Otto and William Marsischky, all family members.  It narrows down their occupations and their residences. 
     On the right is a page listing the Kuhns living in Indianapolis in 1878.  Here we find that our Charles Kuhn is a brewer for C. F. Schmidt and his residence is 91 High St.  As far as we know the other Kuhns are not related. But who knows what future connections will develop.

 Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 Weber Kuhn Reunion Announcement

          We’re happy to have another Weber Kuhn Reunion planned for August 27, 2106 at the Bolton Park in Beech Grove, Indiana.  These events are always very enjoyable.  It’s so much fun to have a chance to hang out with the family for an afternoon.   I’m posting the notice below.  Looking forward to visiting with the offspring of Bob and Emma Weber, Rose and Frank Niehaus, Gin and Ed Niehaus, Peg and Jim Stull, Dolly and Mel Holzer and Harry and Ruth Weber.   


2016 Weber Reunion Announcement on blog

    Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Family In The News: Clearing Up the Carroll DeJong and Alberta Weber Mystery

      We’re all curious about those partially-told family tales.  The ones that hold mystery.  We know just enough facts to wonder what’s behind them.  I had one particular piece of information passed along by relatives that’s been lingering around for quite a while.   Well…..recently I was able to clear up that lingering mystery.  
    Here’s the background:
       Carroll Stone DeJong married Alberta Clara Weber (my grandfather, Harry Lawrence Weber’s sister) on November 2, 1940 in Spencer, Indiana.  He was 49 and she was 32 at the time they married.  I had very little background on Carroll, other than he was from Chicago.  And it seemed that his time in the family was brief. The only hints I had earlier that this may be an unusual circumstance were that he is buried near Alberta in the Weber family plot at St. Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis. And the death year of 1940 on his tombstone pointed out his young age at death.1940 Locomotive No. 1550, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, Flickr, Part of: Everett L. DeGolyer Jr. collection of United States railroad photographs; No known copyright restrictions 
      The mysterious fact I had stored about Carroll’s life was merely a note about him being in a train wreck. The train wreck information was passed along in the family over a 75-year time frame. That’s all that remained of the story.  I presume that the circumstances and exact timing faded as time passed.  My mother never spoke of him.  My aunts who have helped me along with family history didn’t have any more details.  So that’s where this history stopped….until now.
     Investigating this lingering mystery:
     As I was recently gathering more ideas to spice up my “Family In The News” stories, I came across this train wreck note in Carroll DeJong’s record.  It sounded perfect for researching in, my latest obsession.  So, I fed in Carroll’s name, along with the location Indiana and 1940 as the time frame. I hit the search button, hoping for a hint to solve this mystery.  That’s when I found the surprising details of this newly-wed tragedy. 
     The news I found was of a horrible collision of Carroll and Alberta DeJong’s car with a train on November 30, 1940, in Benton County, Indiana.  The couple was married only one month.  Two articles appeared in The Indianapolis Star, on December 1 and 2.  The news was also carried in the Rushville (Indiana) Republican.  The articles describe the car being lodged under the train and dragged for several hundred feet. Mr. DeJong was thrown out and killed instantly and Alberta was wedged in the twisted wreckage for 90 minutes as rescuers worked to remove her.  From the description of the accident it’s surprising that Alberta survived. She was driving the automobile and didn’t remember any warning of the train.    Below are the two Indianapolis Star news articles:
1 Dec 1940: Chicagoan Dies In Grade Wreck --  Bride Extricated Alive After Car Is Dragged Several Hundred Feet  
Indianapolis Star, 1 Dec 1940, Carroll and Alberta (Weber) DeJong
2 Dec 1940:  Crash Victim’s Funeral Today  --  Carroll DeJong’s Bride of 4 Weeks Is In Lafayette Hospital
News: 2 Dec 1940, Alberta & Carroll DeJong, Indianapolis, IN-------------------------------------------------------------
       The mystery of the DeJong train wreck is no more.  The newspapers once again illuminated a piece of family history.   Even though this is a tragic event, it does bring another chapter of the family story into focus.   We know also that Alberta Weber DeJong recovered from her serious injuries.  She didn’t remarry.   Alberta came home to Indianapolis to live near her large family.  She died at the age of 86, 55 years after this tragic accident, and is buried next to Carroll.   
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
Other stories related to this one:
Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley