Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wedding Reception, July 1950 - Norris and Betty Niehaus --- Wordless Wednesday, Almost

Harold "Norris" Niehaus and Betty Schmaltz - Wedding Reception - July 22, 1950
       This Wordless Wednesday photo celebrates a wedding day 65 years ago today. (It surely can't be "wordless.") Norris Niehaus and Betty Schmaltz were married on July 22, 1950 in their hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana.  The photo is of the gathering of Niehaus family for their wedding reception at the Lake Shore Country Club in Indianapolis.
      The adults standing are: Frank Niehaus and Rosemary (Weber) Niehaus (parents of Martha, Don and me, and Norris's brother), Gertrude (Niehaus) Murphy (Norris's sister), John Niehaus (Norris's father), Betty (Schmaltz) Niehaus (the bride), Ruth Niehaus (Norris's mother), Charlotte (Niehaus) Ellis (Norris's sister), Harold "Norris" Niehaus (the groom), Evelyn Ellis (Charlotte's daughter), Ed Niehaus (Norris's brother), Anne Niehaus (Robert's wife), Robert Niehaus (Norris's brother).
     Seated are several nieces and nephews of Norris's, two more of his brothers and a sister-in-law.  They are, left to right: Martha Niehaus, Charles Niehaus (Norris's brother), Marilyn Niehaus, Larry Niehaus (Norris's brother), Donna Niehaus, Bill Niehaus, Catherine "Kitty" Niehaus (Betty's daughter), Don Niehaus, Kenny Niehaus, Virginia "Gin" (Weber) Niehaus (Ed's wife), Sharon Ellis, Shirley Ellis (almost hidden) and Diana Ellis.
     Norris and Betty were married 45 years when he passed away in 2005. They were nice people. Norris and my dad were electricians at Western Electric for many years.  In my memory bank is some period of time when they rode together to work to save on gas expense, approximately 12 miles from their homes on the south side of Indianapolis.  Also, I  remember once Aunt Betty wet her pants because she laughed so hard at a family reunion.  Rest In Peace Uncle Norris and Aunt Betty.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Will & Estate Proceedings: Charles Anthony Kuhn, Indianapolis, Died: 5 Feb 1916

     Personalities and other details about individual family members are bubbling up lately.  There seems to be more underneath the old family history documents than I realized when my research first led me to them. It's almost as if while the records lingered in my files, pictures of people gained more detail -- just waiting for me to dig them out. For instance, as I reread the 1913 will of my great grandfather, Charles Anthony Kuhn, I was struck by the strength of his ties to the country he left behind. His will has a specific outline for the inscription on his tombstone denoting his birthplace. From a family historian's perspective that detail is outstanding! (I have the transcription below.)

      Actually, I didn't think it remarkable that he would remember his boyhood home fondly. Why not? But, as I took a closer look at the years and experience involved, the request seemed to reveal his sentimentality. He was 12 years old when he left Neustadt, Kurhessen, Germany in 1862 with his parents, Martin and Katherine (Birkenstock) Kuhn, and the four siblings who had not yet made the journey to America. Over his 51 years in the United States he married, fathered eight children, worked as a brewery man 25-30 years, was a founding member of a German Catholic church and established other ties in Indianapolis. Yet, along with his priority for family, Charles' last will and testament in 1913 is loud and clear about the importance of his tie to the land where he was born.

      I am posting the original will and estate proceedings below, followed by my transcription. Charles wrote his will in January 1913 and died 5 Feb 1916. The probate records were made in Marion County Probate Court beginning 21 February 1916 and ending 7 April 1917. The first document, is Charles's will, including the request for the tombstone inscription of the birthplaces for he and his wife, Mary Anna (Risch) Kuhn. See if you agree with my analysis. And do you see other personal details about Charles from this record? (click on each document to enlarge):
Last Will & Testament, Charles  A. Kuhn, Indianapolis, IN, Probated Feb 1916
Probate Proceedings, Charles A. Kuhn, Marion County Probate Court, Indianapolis, IN, 1916-1917
Probate Proceedings, Charles A. Kuhn, Marion County Probate Court, Indianapolis, IN, 1916

Claims, Estate of Charles A. Kuhn, Indianapolis, IN, 1916-1917

Transcription of Will of Charles A. Kuhn, Indpls, IN, Probated 1916Transcription of Probate Proceedings, Charles A. Kuhn, Indpls, IN, 1916 - 1917Transcription of Probate Proceedings, Charles A. Kuhn, Indpls, IN, 1916 - 1917

Source for these documents: : Last Will and Testament of Charles A. Kuhn (1916-1917), Probate Court, Marion County, Indianapolis, IN, Will Record Book BB, page 320 and Order Book 45, p. 93. Claim and Allowance Docket, Docket 48, page 14191; City Archives, City-County Bldg., Indianapolis, Indiana.

You can also find these documents in Scribd online in my Family History Collection:

If you'd like to read more about Charles Kuhn or Neustadt, Kurhessen, click on these links:
Our Brewery Man -- Charles Anthony Kuhn
The Kuhn, Risch, Scherrer Neighborhood in 1880 and 1900
Neustadt, Hesse
History of Kurhessen
Hesse-Kassel or Electoral Hesse (Kurhessen)

Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,


Copyright © 2015, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Grandpa Niehaus

My sister, Martha, and I are celebrating the 4th of July together today.  We want to remember our grandfather, John Niehaus, who was born July 4, 1889. He loved his family very much.

The first photo is of John with his dog, wearing his favorite hat.   The second photo is of  his son, Frank Niehaus, our father, wearing that same treasured hat.
John Niehaus, 1889 - 1956, Indianapolis, IN

Frank Niehaus reads the Indianapolis Sunday Star at 3314 South New Jersey Street.

Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2015, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weber & Zimmer Dry Goods Store Gains A Face --’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds: June, 2015

     I am Weber & Zimmer Dry Good Store, Virginia Ave., Indianapolisparticipating in the Fascinating Family Finds challenge of the blog.  Every month for one year they are challenging bloggers to share one blog post detailing exciting, interesting, fascinating, unique or strange discoveries from their research.   One of the most exciting and surprising discoveries that I've had lately is due to the generosity of a blog reader.  I wrote a family story that made a connection for this young man.  When he came across the story he got in touch with me and shared photos that give that story so much more detail.

    Andy Jenkins found my post about the Weber & Zimmer Dry Goods store operated by my great grandfather, Harry Adam Weber, and his partner, Louis Zimmer. (I'll post the link to that story below.)  He contacted me to say that Louis Zimmer was his great grandfather.  We don't know of any family ties as yet.  But the lives of these two men, and probably their families, were definitely intertwined.  They operated this business in Indianapolis from 1886 to 1912.  I was very pleased when Andy offered to share photos.  I had hoped to see someday what that dry goods store looked like.  But I expected I might come across it in a historical publication showing Virginia Avenue in the Fountain Square district of Indianapolis.  Weber & Zimmer Dry Goods Store, Indianapolis, 1886 - 1912What a surprise that Louis Zimmer's great grandson would bring me these pictures of the Weber & Zimmer dry goods store.  ……. Genealogy happy dance time ..…

     We don't yet know who the people are standing in front of the store.  There are more details to study and pieces to add to this story.  Isn't it a nice feeling that someone, like Andy, would decide to share with a stranger a closer look at a shared piece of our history.


Here's the link to my post that provides more background on Weber and Zimmer: 

If there are other bloggers who would like to take part in's Family Finds, go to:

Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,


Copyright © 2015, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Becky Holzer Smith and Her Dad, Mel Holzer: Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

Holzer, Mel, Becky, indianaties    
     Call it serendipity or just a coincidence!  Just yesterday I decided I'd come up with another Wordless Wednesday post for today. But I got busy and didn't have time to look through the photo files. Then today…I opened Facebook for a business reason and stopped to glance at my personal page on the way.  There was this great family photo. Cousin Becky (Holzer) Smith had posted this snapshot of her as an adorable child with her loving dad, Mel Holzer. Thanks Becky. This really is one that can be "almost wordless."

     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2015 Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Estate Records: The After Story of Joseph Niehaus, Indianapolis, Indiana

       Estate proceedings…a way we continue telling our life story after we've departed.  In Joseph Niehaus's case I have those documents that include some culminating details that he would, undoubtedly, be content with. I thought I would pass along this additional episode.  And, of course, I just have to add a few comments about his "after story."Joseph Niehaus, with one of his Lark family grandsons.  We believe this was taken at the West Street residence.  His daughter, Minnie, wrote on the front of the photo holder.
     Heinrich Josef Niehues (Joseph Niehaus) was born 11 February 1848 in Lage, Westphalia (Germany).  He emigrated to America about 1886 and lived the remainder of his life in Indianapolis, Indiana, expiring on 1 May 1921.  He and his wife, Gertrude Wilmsen, had 12 children.  The family moved to their home at 1135 South West Street in about 1890. Joseph set up his rug weaving loom in the home, having operated a business in Germany.  The West Street home is where both Gertrude and Joseph said their last goodbyes, she preceding him in 1895.  But that's not the end of the Niehaus home place. You'll see through his estate records how Joseph and Gertrude's legacy on West Street stretched on, totaling over 60 years. 
      I'm posting below the records of court proceedings between Sept, 1921 and July, 1922, that I located in the Marion County courthouse. The Claim and Allowance Docket from the court indicates that there was some earlier activity, in May and June of 1921, when Bernard Niehaus, the oldest living son, was bonded and approved as administrator.  But the bulk of the story is told in these documents.
    Joseph's "after story" begins with the court proceeding of September 19, 1921, when the record says:
"…And the court having heard the evidence and being sufficiently advised in the premises finds that the personal assets of said estate are insufficient to pay and discharge the debts and liabilities thereof, and that the real estate in said petition as hereinafter described is liable to be made assets in the hands of said administrator to pay such indebtedness….ordered by the court that the real estate of said decedent in said petition mentioned and described as follow (legal description of Niehaus home on West Street, see below)…be sold by said administrator at private sale, subject to the taxes of 1921, for not less than the full appraised value thereof for cash. ..."
     Niehaus Home, S. West St, Indianapolis, IN.That brings me to the legacy of the family home that I mentioned above.  The court proceedings on September 23, 1921, entitled "Order Confirming Sale of Real Estate", (below) confirms that Rose Lark, Joseph's daughter, purchased the home for $1,600, "that being the highest and best bid therefore, and the full appraised value thereof."  This transfer didn't change the makeup of the residents in the West Street home.  The Lark family lived with Joseph in the home since the marriage of Rose Niehaus and Ralph Lark in 1908.  And Rose stayed until her death in 1952.  The Larks' purchase of the home from the estate insured that the Niehaus family home established in 1890 was in the family for over 60 years. 
     There's interesting information within the legal jargon of Joseph's estate proceedings. The court records include a list of Joseph's heirs, all of his living children and, in the case of his two deceased children, the grandchildren who were heirs, and their legal guardians.  There is an accounting for each expense by the administrator from May, 1921 through May, 1922.  For instance, the accounting for claims and allowances listing, among other items, the total costs of court proceedings = $26.40.   .
     After all was said and done, the "after story" of Joseph Niehaus was one he could be pleased with.   His estate was settled without any concerns or issues.  For instance, the list of estate claims shows the Lauck Funeral Home was paid $278.85, settling his funeral arrangements.  And we all know that Joseph and Gertrude are buried side by side in St. Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis, two miles from their home.  R.I.P.
    I am posting three pages of the eight pages of estate proceedings below, including the sale of the real estate.  Also below is my transcription of all of these court records. (Click on a page to view larger.)
    If you would like to have a look at the other originals, all of the court records are viewable on my Scribd page  -- Click Here:    
    Niehaus Estate, 1921, Sept 19Niehaus Estate, 1921, Sept 23Niehaus Estate, 1921, Sept 19, pg 2imageimageimageimageimage

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Copyright © 2015, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Oh, that makes sense now! Joseph Niehaus was a "fuller," not a "filler."

      I learned something new yesterday. And I clarified a fuzzy piece of history, too.  You know how some blurry bit of information suddenly has new meaning?  That's what happened. 

      While adding to my Nancy's Finding Aids page (above) I was checking some of my online research links.  Before I knew it I was engrossed in the "Old Occupations" page that's part of the Help For Genealogphoto credit: <a href="">Image taken from page 4 of 'Views of Old Manchester'</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>y Researchers page at the U. S. GenWeb Project.  Some of the names for occupations are pretty surprising and can help us to understand what our family members were actually doing centuries ago.

       As I was looking at these job descriptions dating back in the ages, I noticed "Fuller -- One who fulls cloth;one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth by moistening, heating, and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth."   Well, a light bulb went on in my memory bank, bringing back a bit of information about our immigrant ancestor, Joseph Niehaus.  I know positively that he's a rug weaver, before and after emigrating to Indiana.  And that's why I've always had a question about the "occupation, trade, or profession" column for him in the 1900 census.  I wondered what it meant when the enumerator wrote for Joseph's occupation "furniture fuller, or filler." The handwriting is not totally legible and I thought it might say filler.  I presumed he had some sort of carpentry skills in addition to his weaving, that he might be using in furniture production. Maybe his weaving business wasn't working out at the time and he had to find another job.  But the type of work seemed to be removed from his skilled trade.  I just wasn't sure about that listing.  It's been lurking in the background for a while.  (The inset below is the line from the census, showing his occupation on the right.)

  1900 census Jos. Niehaus, fuller

     But, I'm ready to make a speculative leap here.  Now that I've learned what a "fuller" is, and I know Joseph's skills in the textile area, my fuzzy piece of history may be focusing.  I'm willing to say that I've found a likely answer to the question about his occupation in 1900.  He was finishing cloth to be used in the preparation of furniture.  We all have to use our skills as best we can to make our living at various times in our lives.  While continuing to weave rugs on his loom in the back room of his home in Indianapolis, Joseph was also using his abilities to earn income as a fuller.  The tiny zero "0" in the column next to his occupation indicates he was not unemployed for any months of the previous year. Whether he was working full time at this fuller job, we can't know.  But the relationship of one occupation to the other is logical.  Now it fits!

     If you would like to take a look for yourself at the list of old occupations, click on my Nancy's Finding Aids above and go to the bottom of the page under Miscellaneous Helpers.  The U. S. GenWeb Project website is brimming with helpful and fun links.  Have fun.

     Let me know what you're thinking about Joseph Niehaus's occupation.  Do you have something to share about a fuller?

    Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties!



copyright © 2015, Nancy Niehaus Hurley