Friday, October 31, 2014

Gerhard Wilmsen -- A Great Great Grandfather from Hollingen and Dorfbauerschaft, Westphalia --- 52 Ancestors Challenge

        Some of my great greats speak out more than others.  Gerhard Wilmsen has been one of the quieter ones.  But it seems that when I take a little time to review the facts I have for these family members that are hangingGerman States  1815-1866 quietly in the background they might just reveal something new about themselves.  So now, Gerhard's time has come.  He was born about 1820 in Westphalia, a province of Prussia (now Germany). There's a circa 1815-1866 Europe map posted on the left that gives some idea of the size and location of Westphalia and Prussia.  The darkened areas are Prussia and Westphalia is outlined in green within Prussia.
     I'm short on information about Gerhard Wilmsen's childhood.  But an 1846 marriage record provides his birth year and a few additional important pieces of information.  I also learned from this church record that his father was a day laborer at that time in Ibbenburen, a town in the northwestern area of Westphalia.  I can't presume that he was born in Ibbenburen from this record 26 years later.   But, just maybe we'll find later that his family lived there for many years.  
     Thankfully,  the marriage record from St. Pankratius Catholic Church in Emsdetten, Westphalia, tells us that on November 24, 1846, he married Elizabeth Kamp, a widower, from Hollingen, a village near Emsdetten.   Gerhard was 26 years old and he had not been married before. 
     Emsdetten and Ibbenburen are about 7km, or 11 miles, apart. If Gerhard was living in Ibbenburen, this may have been quite a distance in 1846 for two young people to have known each other and married.   So we could speculate that Gerhard left the town where his father lived when he became a young man and found a job that brought him closer to, or in contact with, Elizabeth Kamp.   But wait a minute.  I'm making up this story now.  Too much speculation.   I should be finding Gerhard Wilmsen's family facts before he was 26 years old and married.  That's a research priority I'll add to my list. 
     But first…..What I do know is that Gerhard and Elizabeth Wilmsen setup their home in Hollingen, the village just outside Emsdetten where Elizabeth's family lived.  And there also is where Gerhard made a living as a carpenter.  This is revealed by the baptismal records of their four children in that same Catholic Church in Emsdetten.  Four times in those imagerecords the priest recorded Gerhard  as a carpenter in Hollingen.   ( A brief summary of what I know about him is in his Individual Summary posted here.)
     Now we have to skip ahead about 20 years to the next record in 1873.  Also from these generous church records I know that his oldest child, Elizabeth Gertrude Wilmsen married Heinrich Joseph Niehues (Niehaus) on the 24th of June, 1873.  At that time her father was living in Dorfbauerschaft, a town just a few miles northwest of Emsdetten.  This provides yet another home for Gerhard, at 53 years old.  But unfortunately, in this record in 1873 his occupation is illegible so I can't yet confirm that he was still a carpenter. 
     And that's where this family history for Gerhard Wilmsen stops for now.  But, hopefully, I'll know more later.  Because as I was writing about him, the ideas developed for finding more information.  I took a break midway in this story to check the Family History Library catalog for the church records in Emsdetten to see if I had exhausted those sources.  Well, I found that I have quite a bit more research to do in those Emsdetten files.  There are microfilms I can order from the FHL where I might find Gerhard's baptism in 1820, his parents' marriage in the early 1800s, more about his brothers' lives and the family deaths recorded in that same church between 1844 and 1875.  I'm thinking that this post has a good chance of a follow-up!
     Thanks for visiting with me at Indiana Ties.  If you are researching the Wilmsen family and would like to chat, leave me a message below.   
     If you would like to see my list of Kamp/Wilmsen descendants, CLICK HERE.
     To find the Family History Library catalog of Emsdetten church records, CLICK HERE.
     Here are other related posts that may be of interest:
     Elizabeth Gertrude Wilmsen Niehaus: Ladies In My Line
     Thanks Goodness for Elizabeth Kamp Wilmsen's Church Records

Note on 52 Ancestors Challenge:  I am participating in the 52 Ancestors Challenge being led by Amy Johnson Crow at  She's bringing together family history writers who share ancestral stories throughout 2014.  There's a wide variety of stories each week written by people everywhere and about people from everywhere.  Visit Amy's blog to enjoy a few. 

Copyright © Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Krissy Underwood, A Halloween Feline -- Wordless Wednesday, Almost

Krissy Underwood Halloween 1991
        Taking a look at the kinds of creatures that emerged in past Halloweens is entertaining to me.  So, for my Wordless Wednesday - Almost post I'm having some fun with my daughter, Krissy.  Here she is as A Halloween Feline in 1991.  Seems like just yesterday she was twelve.  Imagination went into her costumes each year, usually something homemade or collected from Goodwill.   I think this costume shows she's approaching the end of dressing up for Halloween.  Don't you!? …….. Oh, the years of youth……..Thanks Krissy, for the smiles!

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Teenager To America: Mathias Risch, Jr., Dearborn County, Indiana ---- 52 Ancestors Challenge

         This young man arrived in America in 1828 at 15 years of age with his father, mother and four siblings.  The family's record from their Catholic church in Hugstetten, Baden, has this message: "Ist im Junious 1828 nach Nordamerika mit frau und kinder ausgewandert."  Translated -- "In June 1828 emigrated to North America with wife and children."  Next to Mathias's father's name in the list of emigrants from their small town was a 7, indicating the total number in this family.  There were 40 people in all in that church record who left Hugstetten that year.  Maybe some of them returned.  But most of them probably knew when they got in the wagon with whatever belongings they could carry that  they would never come back to their Baden home. I wonder how a teenage boy felt leaving behind his relatives and friends and the places where he had roamed.  This Risch family was bound for the southeastern area of Indiana called Dearborn County, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio.  There would be Mathias Risch, Jr.'s home for the remainder of his life. 
          What's the story of Mathias Risch, Jr?  How did this young man's life develop in the new country?  Surely the main goal of his parents was to give him and his brothers a better outlook for their future - the opportunity to have land and to improve their standard of living from that expected in Baden.   I wrote earlier about Mathias Risch, Sr, including background on how immigrants to southeastern Indiana would have found the land, how they made their homes and fed themselves in the 1820s through 1860s. There are a few historical tidbits you may want to reread in that post.  (I'll post a link at the bottom of this page.)  For Lincoln_boyhood_national_memorialinstance, one of the Dearborn County histories I turned up explained the work required of new settlers in these words: " With hard labor the unaided settler could clear and burn an acre of land in three weeks.  It usually required six or seven years for the pioneer to open a small farm and build a better house than his first cabin of round logs."
         At the time that Mathias would have been helping his family build their log home on the land his father purchased in Dearborn County, another young man barely four years older, named Abraham Lincoln, was living about 170 miles southwest near Gentryville, Indiana, in Spencer County.  (See Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial at  The photo hear depicts the typical farm home of that time, similar to the homes that Abe and Mathias lived in with their families .  Can you picture the Risch family of seven living here?  As a young man Mathias would be sharing this space with his parents and four brothers, probably feeling fortunate to have the materials for the shelter and the land to grow food.  
       Mathias Risch, Jr., and his brothers acquired survival skills of the times as they matured in Dearborn County.  Although Mathias being a teenager when he arrived presumably was already introduced to farming, hunting, harvesting wood and other skills of young men in the 1820s.  I can imagine him in the dense forests and rugged hills of southern Indiana perfecting his trapping skills and preparing logs to build wagons and construct their home.  It must have been very difficult clearing those lands to raise crops for eating and to sell.  Maybe there were others, neighbors and church friends, who shared their food and shelter with the Risch family until they were sufficiently established.    
     Between 1828 and 1840, one of the skills that Mathias perfected under his father's tutelage was carpentry.  Mathias, Jr., was recognized as one of the first carpenters in New Alsace, Indiana, the town established in 1838 near his home in the southern part of Dearborn County.  As his own family grew, he used both those carpentry skills and his farming knowledge to provide for them.  He became a husband twice and a father eleven times.  After Mathias passed away, one of his daughters,  Mary Anna Risch (1851-1911), made her way to Indianapolis, and married Charles A. Kuhn, providing the family connection that carries on today. 
     There are, of course, many details surrounding each segment of a person's life.  We can't know what exactly came about or how he felt as Mathias had these experiences.  But if we look at the events, we might be able to use our imagination to create some kind of understanding or picture of him.  Let's try that!  Following is a brief profile of Mathias Risch, Jr.:
--- 5 Jan 1813:  Mathias Risch, Jr., is born in Hugstetten, Baden, House No. 55.  The baptismal record from his Catholic parish church reads:
     In the year 1813, the 25th of January, at 9 p.m. was born in House No. 55, and at noon on January 26 was baptized by the undersigned in the parish house, because of the cold, Mathias, legitimate son of the carpenter Mathias Risch and Maria Weiss.  Witness to the baptism was the baker, Konrad Risch, together with godfather Mathias Weiss, member of the court of justice.  Godmother was Barbara Graner, born Fackler.  --- J. M. Meissburger, Pastor
--- June 1828: Risch family emigrated from Baden to Baltimore, Maryland to Dearborn County, Indiana, in the southeastern area of the state. Mathias Jr. was 15 years old and he had four younger brothers. 
--- 31 Oct 1828:  Mathias Risch, Jr.'s father purchases 80 acres in Kelso Township, Dearborn County, Indiana.  Here began the family's establishment of their home in Indiana.
--- 1838: Town of New Alsace, in southern Dearborn County, IN, established. Mathias lived near this town and is buried in the cemetery there.1860 Census Mathias Risch Jr.
--- 1839:  Mathias's father, Mathias Risch, Sr., died at age 55 in 1839.  The family history is that he was killed by a falling tree.  Could he and his sons have been clearing land for their farm?  Mathias Jr. was 26 years old and not yet married.  His widowed mother, Maria, was 55.
--- 27 Feb 1840:  Mathias married Basilia Winter in Dearborn County, Indiana, in St. Paul Catholic Church. It is thought their families may have known each other in Baden.
--- 12 Aug 1840:  Mathias Risch becomes a naturalized American citizen. Two local citizens, John Boss and John Woolyoung swore to his good behavior and moral character.  He renounced all allegiance to the Grand Duke of Baden.
--- 1840 Census:  At 27 years of age Mathias is recorded in the Jackson Township, Dearborn County, Indiana, census.  His occupation is listed as  manufactures and trade,  probably referring to carpentry.
--- 8 Feb 1847:  Mathias purchases 40 acres of land in Kelso Township, Dearborn County.  
--- June 1848: Mathias's wife Basilia dies.  He is a widower at age 35 with three sons and a thirteen-day-old daughter.
--- 30 Nov 1849:  A second marriage for both parties, Mathias marries Julianna Leppert Karrer, a 22 year old widow, in St. Paul Catholic Church in New Alsace, Indiana. Mathias became the stepfather for two sons of Julianna's.
--- 1850 Census:  It appears that two of Mathias's children with Basilia Winter died before 1850, based on this census.  One girl and one boy would have been two and four years old.  They are not included in the family that was enumerated.
--- 1851 - 1870:    Seven children are born to Mathias and Julianna in Dearborn County, Indiana, in these ten years.  Their daughter born in 1851, Mary Anna Risch, was my great grandmother. 
--- 1860 Census: Mathias and Julianna's household includes nine children in the 1860 census of Kelso Township, and his occupation is farmer. He is 47 years old and Julianna is 33.    (See the census listing in the image on the right.  Lines 2 through 12, household #73.)
--- 1870 Census:  The Risch household in 1870 included seven of their children between the ages of 19 and 3. At age 59, Mathias again indicates that he is a farmer.
--- 27 Feb 1876: Mathias dies suddenly at age 64.  He is buried in St. Paul's Catholic Cemetery, New Alsace, Indiana.  This is the way the brief death record reads from St. Paul's historical files: Risch, Matthias, Died 27 February 1876 , died after receiving the sacraments.  Wife Julianna nee Leppert.  Burial on the 28th.
     It would Risch, Mathias Jr., Tombstone - St. Paul Catholic Cemetery, New Alsace, Indianabe nice to have an image of Mathias, my great great grandfather, but that has not surfaced.  As always, I am hoping to hear from fellow researchers who may have those treasures. For now, here is a photo of his grave in New Alsace, Dearborn County, Indiana.  RIP.
    I would say that Mathias Risch, Jr.'s emigration to America brought him good fortune.  Of course, there were some trying times for him in Indiana.  But overall he was able to gain a livelihood that he would probably not have acquired in the place where he was born and lived until a teenager.  Wars, economic crisis and increased restrictions in the first half of the 19th century brought many difficulties for young people trying to establish an occupation and a home in the southwestern regions of Germany.  Mathias and his family seemed to be among the determined and hard-working immigrants that took risks and found the way to better themselves, even through some difficult situations.  Perhaps his industriousness provided inspiration that we can recognize in some of his current descendants. 
     If you have an interest in the Risch line descending from Mathias's great grandparents, Joseph Risch and Barbara Oberietor CLICK HERE.
     Your suggestions or questions are welcomed.  Click the comments section below to leave me a message.  Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.

For more Risch family information, click on one of these stories:
Mathias Risch, Sr. - Our Farmer in Dearborn County, IN
Julianna Leppert Karrer Risch - Was her life deprived?…
The Risch Surname
 Note on 52 Ancestors Challenge:  I am participating in the 52 Ancestors Challenge being led by Amy Johnson Crow at  She's bringing together family history writers who share ancestral stories throughout 2014.  There's a wide variety of stories each week written by people everywhere and about people from everywhere.  Visit Amy's blog to enjoy a few.

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weber Family Halloween -- Wordless Wednesday - Almost

The stairs at Grandma Weber's house were a favorite playing place for cousins.  Here are five of those little ones posed by their parents on Halloween 1947.
     I can't leave the Wordless Wednesday posts without any comments.  It's just too difficult.  So "almost" is my compromise.
     In this photo, five of our Weber cousins were ready for Halloween 1947.  On the top, at the landing, is my brother, Donny Niehaus.  Next step down is Billy Niehaus on the left and my sister, Martha Niehaus on the right.  Moving down the stairs is Marilyn Niehaus, Bill's sister. On the bottom step is Janet Weber. These cousins were born within four years of each other, between 1942 and 1946.  The parents of Donny and Martha are Frank and Rosemary (Weber) Niehaus.  The couple claiming Billy and Marilyn Niehaus are Ed and Gin (Weber) Niehaus.  And Janet's parents are Bob and Emma (Richie) Weber.  I don't know what that character is who looms above them all on the stair railing. Do you know Marilyn or Marti? Isn't he/she really creative and interesting!?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Recording Our 2014 Niehaus Reunion -- 75 Years

     A sunny, 70s day at the park filled with fun family festivities, a great lunch and some friendly competition --  that sums up the 2014 Niehaus Reunion on September 14 at Mooresville's Pioneer Park, just south of Indianapolis.  Besides great conversation with family, there were several nice ingredients for the afternoon.  To start with, the weather was just perfect - none of the smoldering 90s.  And, of course, everyone's pitch-in contributions made for a fabulous meal to get us all energized.  Then you add another beautiful family heritage quilt  made up of quilt squares created by last year's attendees and sewn with love by Peg Stull.  And this year's corn hole games seemed to have some extra spark.  Lastly, our reunion organizer, Rosie Walters, threw in a silent auction.  There seemed to be smiles all around and a choice of activity for everyone. 
      This year marked the 75th year of this Niehaus Reunion.  In 1939 the children of Joseph and Gertrude Niehaus who 1939reunionhad immigrated to Indianapolis in 1885 began this tradition at Garfield Park on the south side of Indianapolis.  As far as we know, there has been a reunion scheduled every year.  Some report that the 1969 reunion was called off due to the death of Joseph Niehaus, Jr., one of the twelve children of Joseph and Gertrude.   I am sure that the funeral was a gathering of many of those same people who would have made it to the park that year.    
       I just wanted to say a few words here on the website about the great group of folks that make this event a nice family tradition.  As happens to many family reunions, the number of families who continue to attend has fallen off over these 75 years.  But it never fails, those who come together seem grateful to have the chance to continue the tradition.   It is nice that many younger people have recognized the significance of their heritage and attend each year with their parents and grandparents.  Of course, some of the family have scattered far and wide, moving away from Indiana.  And it is difficult to get to the reunions. In other cases, some of us dropped away for a while and have reappeared in later years.  And there are those who attend occasionally.  Regardless, the smiles are there and the welcomes come out for the cousins who gather each year.  Some of us can't remember each other's names, but we usually know the faces.  This year we were so pleased to have attendees from Arizona and Colorado.  And each year we welcome the newest additions, usually one is only a few weeks old.  They always keep us smiling with their beautiful faces.  Let's hope these generations are still bringing folks together in 2089.
     There's a tab above for the Niehaus Reunion page that has history.  Click on that link to see photos from a few reunions, including the oldies.  Or you can go directly to the album for 2014:
     If there are Niehaus family who are wanting to reconnect, send me your address.  I will be sure that you are added to the invitation list for next year.  We are all hoping to see more of you and get-reacquainted!

Copyright © Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Friday, September 26, 2014

Henry "Harry" Adam Weber - Weber & Zimmer Dry Goods, Indianapolis, Indiana --- 52 Ancestors Challenge

The entrepreneur….businessman….risk-taker….or just following a whim?   Who knows how this great grandfather of mine came to be in the dry goods business.  But it's fun trying to answer that question. 
Harry Adam Weber, the eldest of five children of Adam and Amelia (Micol) Weber, was born in Indianapolis on September 12, 1859. He was baptized six days later in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Indianapolis.   Henry "Harry" Adam Weber at 65.On October 21, 1886, he married Mary Anna Keen in St. Mary's. They had twelve children between 1887 and 1908, the eldest being Harry Lawrence Weber, my grandfather.  There are some interesting details to Harry Adam Weber's childhood and young adulthood in Indianapolis.  But today the story's all about his livelihood….what he chose as his occupation as an adult.
His given name was Henry and it's unclear exactly when he began using Harry.  Listings in the Indianapolis City Directories through 1887 indicate his name as Henry.  1887 Indianapolis City Directory businesses, Dry Goods His marriage record to Mary Anna Keen in 1886 also lists him as Henry. Somewhere in the late 1880s he became Harry.
To begin filling in the picture of his chosen field in life, city directories provide information on him working as a clerk in the Leon Kahn Dry Goods Store and The New York Store from 1875 to 1885, 15 to 26 years of age.  In those last few years another person of note that also worked at The New York Store was Louis A. Zimmer, as a cashier.  These young men were gaining experience in the retail business. 
By looking at Henry's marriage license application in 1886 I learned that he had become a "merchant."  It appears that he started his dry goods business close to the time of that he married Mary.     The listing in the business section of the city directories from 1886 to 1912 read similar to this: Dry Goods: Weber & Zimmer, Henry A. Weber, Louis A. Zimmer, Dry goods, notions, ladies and gent's furnishing goods.  (See the 1887 directory on the right.)
The Weber and Zimmer Dry Goods store at 178 Virginia Avenue was well situated for the commerce and local business of that time, close to the Indianapolis Wholesale District and Union Station, within a  popular German district. City directories and Harry's obituary indicate the store operated from 1887 through 1913, having moved from Virginia Avenue to Shelby Street (two or three blocks) in the last couple of years. 
I have often dreamed of finding an historical record that would give us an idea of what the Weber & Zimmer dry goods business looked like or how it operated.  Well, it pays to keep Googling. TheDepartment of Inspection, State of Indiana, 1906 other day I made another stab at it.  And this time something popped up!  This discovery was inside the State of Indiana Department of Inspection report for 1906 that has been archived by Google.  Weber & Zimmer is listed in the Marion County, Indianapolis list of businesses inspected. In the excerpt that I've posted, the company is number 2431. The heading for the second larger column is "business engaged in" and you can see that Weber & Zimmer is described as: dry goods and millinery.  Reading across to the right, the columns are "Number of Employees" - 4 males and 5 females.  The two blank columns mean they had no employees, male or female, between the ages of 14 and 16.  Hours per week are listed as 59.  Days worked in 1905 was 307.  Sanitary conditions were "good."  Workmen organized: No.  Firm member of combination: No (what does that mean?)  Kind of power: (blank)  H.P. of Engine: (blank).  Order issued and complied with: (blank).  This last column had to do with any deficiency that was found and dealt with by the business owner. I believe "workmen organized - no" refers to non-union workers.  There will be more analysis of this information in the future.  But my first thought is that I need to examine the other businesses and evaluate how this business compared to others in the report.  Did the blank in the column for power mean they had none?  That could have been the case.  Not all those listed had gas, steam, electric or supplied.  I'll have to dig into the history of this Virginia Avenue section of the city to see what might be lurking out there to add to Harry's dry goods business story.   
Weber & Zimmer operated through 1912. When Harry retired from the dry goods business after 26 years, he moved into other types of occupations.  He worked in the Indianapolis city engineer's office in the administrations of Joseph E. Bell and Lew Shank.  And later was employed at the George L. Paetz Company as a clerk.  It appears that he retired around the age of 71.  Harry A. Weber seems to have been an industrious person, setting out with his partner, Louis A. Zimmer, in his new business at the age of 27.  He and Mary raised 12 children and provided a home for Harry's mother as well for about 12 years.  During his years of building his business there may have been community involvement that brought him into political circles to some degree.  Maybe that entry gave him an opportunity for the position he acquired at the time he closed his business.  There's more sleuthing to be done to see if there could be any more hints about his life in newspapers, or wherever.    
Thank you for visiting Indiana Ties.  Let me know if you relate to this ancestor in the dry goods business.   
Further family information:  I've written before about Harry's mother, Amelia Micol,  about his father, Adam Weber, and about his wife, Mary Anna Keen.   
Copyright 2014 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gerald John Niehaus - An Alien Enemy? -- 52 Ancestors Challenge

Gerald John Niehaus,  1874 - 1918
    I had heard stories from Niehaus relatives over the years that Uncle Joe had to register with the government during World War II because he was German and not a citizen. They mentioned he was required to report on his whereabouts.  I filed this information in my family history memory bank.  As I learned more through the years of research, I still had a few questions. How many of the eight immigrant brothers, and maybe sisters, also had that obligation?  Was that World War I and II?    It's one of those stories I wanted to complete at some point. 
     But then, my fellow family researcher cousin, Patsy (Niehaus) Cracraft, sent me photos of Gerald Niehaus's "Alien Registration" dated 1918.  Gerald was her grandfather and Joe Niehaus's brother and my grand uncle.  He was the first born of the Niehaus children who immigrated to Indianapolis from Germany with their parents in 1886.  He died at the young age of 44, leaving his widow, Amanda, with four young children and one on the way.  Evidently, he never became a citizen of the United States.  His face and fingerprint were now calling me to investigate.  I soon found more of Gerald's alien enemy story.
     When Woodrow Wilson declared war against Germany in April of 1917, Gerald John Niehaus was the quintessential "alien enemy."  WWI proclamation pg 3He was classified within the group of "all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of Germany, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, who for the purpose of this proclamation and under such sections of the Revised Statutes are termed alien enemies."  This is a section of Presidential Proclamation 1364 of April 6, 1917, by President Woodrow Wilson declaring war against Germany, 04/06/1917.   You might want to read the proclamation later. The link's at the bottom of this post.  For now you can see the page about alien enemies on the right. 
     Six months after the definition of alien enemies within the declaration of war, there was another proclamation that required those folks to register with the federal government,   (Presidential Proclamation of November 16, 1917).  Provision #19 of this proclamation reads:
All alien enemies are hereby required to register at such times and places and in such manner as may be fixed by the Attorney General of the United States and the Attorney General is hereby authorized and directed to provide, as speedily as may be practicable, for registration of all alien enemies and for the issuance of registration cards to alien enemies and to make and declare such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for effecting such registration; and all alien enemies and all other persons are hereby required to comply with such rules and regulations; and the Attorney General in carrying out such registration, is hereby authorized to utilize such agents, agencies, officers and departments of the United States and of the several states, territories, dependencies and municipalities thereof and of the District of Columbia as he may select for the purpose, and all such agents, agencies, officers and departments are hereby granted full authority for all acts done by them in the execution of this regulation when acting by the direction of the Attorney General. After the date fixed by the Attorney General for such registration, an alien enemy shall not be found within the limits of the United States, its territories or possessions, without having his registration card on his person.
     I now know that Gerald complied with this requirement on  February 15, 1918.  Each person completed an affidavit giving background information.   According to his personal record shared by my cousin, Patsy, he registered with Police Precinct No. 3 in Indianapolis, having his photo and fingerprint taken.    These are the copies of that "registration card" that he carried on his person.
Enemy Alien Registration, Gerald Niehaus, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1918Enemy Alien Registration, Gerald Niehaus, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1918

     When he wanted to change his residence one-and-a-half miles south from Chadwick Street to R. R. E, Box 91, Gerald was granted permission by Sergeant Harry Howard on March 26th, 1918.  Here's another provision of the November, 1917, proclamation containing that requirement:
           "…An alien enemy shall not change his place of abode or occupation or otherwise travel or move from place to place without full compliance with any such regulations…."
     Also I want to talk about the piece of this proclamation that relates further to this family history.  The registered people were required to report to the federal government.  This was true in World War 1 for Gerald, and his brother, Joe, and others as well.  Here is that reference within the proclamation we've been looking at for November, 1917:  
           "…such regulations concerning the movements of alien enemies as he may deem necessary in the premises and for the public safety, and to provide in such regulations for monthly, weekly or other periodical report by alien enemies to federal, state or local authorities; and all alien enemies shall report at the times and places and to the authorities specified in such regulations."
     Not many of these records of alien enemies survive today.  The affidavits completed included questions on the person's residence, involvement in military or anyone in their family who may have taken arms for or against the United States, and other personal information.  No one knows for sure, but the Indiana records haven't surfaced in any institution.   By the way, women were also required to register, so the sisters weren't disregarded.  The National Archives has posted online some examples of the existing affidavits in other states.  (Link below.)
     I'm grateful to Patsy Cracraft for sharing this rare record created by Gerald Niehaus.  Maybe there are a few more in the boxes in the attic of other cousins.  There is a sad and ironic ending to Gerald's story.  He died suddenly of a heart attack approximately six weeks after moving to his new residence in Indianapolis in 1918.  We don't know if he would have become a citizen and avoided the same enemy alien registration that occurred during World War II.  We know that immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued a proclamation authorizing detention of potentially dangerous enemy aliens.  So, there is a lot to this story passed along in the Niehaus family! 
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.  Please leave me a comment if you want to add to this story!
More about Gerald Niehaus's life at this post: Gerhardt "Gerald" John Niehaus: The Eldest Child of Joseph and Gertrude
For further reading on the alien enemy topic:
Presidential Proclamation 1364 of April 6, 1917, by President Woodrow Wilson declaring war against Germany, 04/06/1917.  (
Presidential Proclamation of November 16, 1917, pertaining to "the movements of non-naturalized males of German origin, 14 years of age and older." :
National Archives records:
Following the onset of hostilities during World War I, non-naturalized "alien enemy " by definition, were required to register with United States authorities as a national security measure. Under the provisions of a Presidential Proclamation of April 6, 1917, non-naturalized female aliens were likewise registered as an additional national security measure that included those women of American birth that were married to enemy aliens. Registration affidavit include questions about whether any male relatives have been in arms for or against the United States or its allies.  Also, have you been registered for draft.  Have you declared intent to be citizen.
Here's an blogger who wrote an excellent overview on the topic: The Legal Genealogist blog: An Alien Notion,  16 Nov 2012 -
Note on 52 Ancestors Challenge:  I am participating in the 52 Ancestors Challenge being led by Amy Johnson Crow at  She's bringing together family history writers who share ancestral stories throughout 2014.  There's a wide variety of stories each week written by people everywhere and about people from everywhere.  Visit Amy's blog to read some interesting histories.
Copyright 2014 © Nancy Niehaus Hurley