21 March 2009

How Many Ways to Spell Fruechtenicht?

John Frederick Fruechtenicht is my father's father's mother's father.

- John Frederick Fruechtenicht
- Mary Louise Fruechtenicht / Wesley Armfield
- Alfred Armfield Johnson
- Lester Johnson
- me

John Frederick was born 10 Feb 1831 in Esens, Ostfriesland, what is now the north coast of Germany. He died 18 Feb 1916 in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa. He married Almuth Maria Juergens, who was born 13 Oct 1833 in Thunum, Oldenburg and died 28 Dec 1903 in LeMars, Plymouth County, Iowa. I have a marriage year of 1858 in Cleveland, Ohio but haven't yet located the documentation on that.

Family lore states that John Frederick was a member of the King's Guard in Hanover and had to flee for his life when his side was defeated in war. The same story says John Frederick had several brothers, all of whom also fled. Family lore says these brothers did not come to America but settled instead in the Dutch East Indies. (I'll be tackling to prove or disprove this family lore as soon as I get a break from planning the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.)

John Frederick and Almuth were not married when they arrived on 6 Oct 1857 aboard the Clio, which sailed from Bremen to New York. They had adjoining cabins and were the only passengers listed on the ship's manifest. Both were listed using their middle names. Hiding perhaps?

Here is his obituary:

LeMars Sentinel, 22 February 1916. P1 Col 1

John F. Fruechtenicht Succumbs to Long Illness
Lived here Thirty-Five Years

Decedent was a Native of Hanover and Came to America When a Young Man and Lived in Dixon, Illinois Before Coming Here

John F. Fruechtenicht, a pioneer citizen and a well known resident of LeMars for the past thirty-five years, died at St. Vincent's hospital in Sioux City on Friday night. His death was due to cancer, from which he had suffered for the past three years. While getting shaved in a barber shop a barber cut his lip, engendering a small sore, which developed cancer. Mr. Fruechtenicht suffered greatly in his long illness and death came as a relief. The body was brought here Saturday evening.

John Frederick Fruechtenicht was born on February 10, 1831, at Esens, East Friesland, Hanover, Germany, where he spent his boyhood and grew to manhood. In 1857 he came to America and located in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1858 he was united in marriage with Almuth Marie Jurgens, with whom he lived a long and happy wedded life until her death on December 26, 1903.

To their union eight children were born, one of whom, a boy, died in infancy. The children who mourn their father's death are: Mrs. Eliza Lucia of Lyndon, Illinois; Mrs. Len Fritz, Estherville, Iowa; Mrs. Maria Hart, White Lake, South Dakota; Mrs. Emma Schauer, Herndon Kansas; Mrs. Tillie Duerig, Long Pine Nebraska; Will Fruechtenicht, of St. Joseph, Mo., and Otto Fruechtenicht, of Sioux City.

Following their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Fruechtenicht moved to Dixon, Illinois, going there in 1864, where they lived until 1881 when they came to LeMars, which has been the home of the family ever since. Mr. Fruechtenicht was a carpenter by trade and was a skilled mechanic. While in Dixon he became a member of the Masonic fraternity and also the order of Odd Fellows. He was a member of the United Evangelical Church and a regular attendant at services until his health failed.

Mr. Fruechtenicht was well known in a large circle especially among the older residents. He was a good citizen and neighbor and was respected by many.

The funeral services were held yesterday afternoon at the Bosley undertaking parlors, Rev. O. Halsebus, of the Emanuel United Evangelical church officiating; and the remains were laid to rest beside those of his wife in the city cemetery. The sons and daughters came to attend the funeral.

He is buried in LeMars City Cemetery, LeMars, Plymouth County, Iowa. The cemetery headstone has an incorrect spelling of the surname.

I was bored one Labor Day weekend and emailed every Fruechtenicht I could find on the Internet, and I managed to find the genealogist with the Fruechtenict surname study. He was an invaluable connection and was able to provide a wealth of information from Ostfriesland. If you're ever bored and have a unique name, try it out.

Oh, in answer to the question how many ways to spell Fruechtenticht?
...so far...

15 March 2009

Paula's Wordle

This week's Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver at Genea-musings was to create a Wordle:

Here's your assignment if you want to play:

1) Go to http://www.wordle.net/ and create a Wordle with your surnames in it. As many as you want.

2) Post it on your blog or web page, and/or print it out and hang it on your wall. Show off your prowess!

3) Tell us what you've done - either in Comments to this post or in your own blog. Brag about your creation! If you want me to post it here, send a JPG file to me at rjseaver@cox.net.

4) Can you make something else really creative or pretty? If so, show us.

10 March 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

This is my first Tombstone Tuesday post. I know that most people post headstones of their relatives. I don't know if that's a rule; if it is, I'll conform and do that next week. I hope that I can post some of the memorable headstones that I've found during my cemetery escapades every once in a while.

This is the memorial to Lillian Leitzel (January 2, 1892 – February 15, 1931), a circus performer who worked high atop on the rings. She was famous for one-armed swings. Her husband was Alfredo Cordoba, of the trapeze family. Lillian died in Copenhagen, Denmark, when a ring broke and she fell. This monument in Inglewood Park in Los Angeles County was erected by Alfredo in memory to his wife. Other members of the Cordoba family are buried in this plot, and plaques mark their resting places.

It is thought that the angel was created in Alfredo's likeness. Alfredo eventually retired and worked in the film industry on Tarzan films, among others. He remarried and tragically murdered his soon-to-be-ex-wife in her lawyer's office before turning the gun on himself.

Notice the detail of the broken ring?

09 March 2009

Smile for the Camera - Brother and Sister

This photo of my brother, Steve, and me was taken somewhere around 1960. Steve and I fought constantly and even broke a couple of doors when we were older. The good news is that we both grew up to be buds.

I was certainly expressing my older sisterly disdain at the moment the photographer snapped this shot. What I can't figure out is why Mom and Dad chose this pose to have printed.

This may have been my first recorded eyeroll.

08 March 2009

Randy Seaver's True Confessions Challenge

As part of Randy Seaver’s usual Saturday Night Fun feature at Genea-Musings, this week he is asking fellow geneabloggers to unload and confess in True Confessions of a Genealogy Junkie

Randy challenged us to answer the following questions:

1. When did you start doing genealogy research?

I still have my Girl Scout sash, displaying the badge for genealogy that I probably earned in the early '60s. I remember my grandmother's handwritten notes that I used to put the family history together. I wish I still had those notes. I always intended to get back to it researching my family someday. I came close in 1995 when I asked my cousin "Is there anything else I should know?" (For the record, this is a question that you want to ask only if you are ready to deal with the response.) But I took the big leap on Monday, May 6, 2002 at about 11:00 a.m.

2. Why did you start doing research?

That Monday in May, I literally had nothing else to do (other than laundry, housekeeping, etc. but do those count, really?). It was the day after I finished an all-consuming consulting assignment. I had no other clients lined up but that was okay because I'd stashed away a nice bankroll from the project. I was mentally and physically exhausted after putting in two weeks of 18-hour days. I opened an email from Earthlink.net offering a two-week free trial to Ancestry.com. I signed up.

3. What was your first big success in research?

The first time I signed on to Ancestry.com, I just picked the only person I could think of -- my paternal grandmother. I found her right away (with wrong information listed in Ancestry Family Trees, of course) but it was definitely Bessie Mabel Mathena.

I saw a link to "...father of..." and clicked it.
Howard Jackson James Mathena.
I saw a link to "...father of..." and clicked it.
Lewis James Mathena.
"...father of..."
John Wilson Mathena.
"...father of..."
"...father of..."
And within a half hour I was back to medieval times, chevaliers in France, the keepers of the King's bread, fortunes held and lost.
Of course, none of it was my research and I had no proof.
But I was hooked.

4. What is your biggest genealogy regret?

There are several. I started too late to ask questions of my grandparents. I didn't keep track of my research sources. I let myself get distracted and pursued tangential lines. Fascinating ones, to be sure. I had a great time learning about the distant relative who help open the Oregon Trail and carried flax seeds in her pocket to found the flax crop there. I read, astounded and admittedly uncomfortable, about another distant relative who was one of the most successful slave traders in the 1830's.

5. What are you best known for in the genealogy world?

Probably as one of the chairs of the 40th Annual Genealogy Jamboree, sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society. I LOVE the job of Jamboree co-chair and cherish the friendships and knowledge that it has brought me. If you Google me, you'll also find lots of lookups and over 16,000 gravestone photos posted on FindAGrave.

6. What is your professional status in genealogy?

Meeting planner. Not certified, or accredited, toying with the idea. Since I just lost my day job as a marketing researcher, I am trying to find a business model that will allow me to provide genealogy-related services starting in July after Jamboree is over for the year. I do free lookups for friends and colleagues.

7. What is your biggest genealogy achievement?

Not the biggest maybe, but the most personally rewarding and, coincidentally, one of the things that "Just Never Came Up." It involved my mother's grandfather, German immigrant Valentine Dinkel. A cousin called on February 14 (Valentine's Day of course) and disclosed the family secret that 66-year-old Valentine had fathered a child with his 17-year-old ward, Cynthia Shaw. In 2005, we tracked down the daughter, Dorothy, found her, and got in touch with her. She still carried with her the letter that she received following Valentine's death, describing the last words he uttered just before he died. She described that her birth certificate was printed on different paper stock because she was illigimate. And she thanked us for giving her the family that she had yearned for all her life. She died last August.

8. What is the most FUN you’ve had doing genealogy?

Jamboree, without a doubt. I've also had great fun collaborating with cousins and helping others find their missing relatives. Then there was that time I took a step backwards into mid-air at Forest Lawn and finding myself rolling 20+ feet down the hill. That was fun in a twisted way.

9. What is your favorite genealogy how-to book?

Today, I'm grooving on Dan Lynch's Google Your Family Tree and anxiously awaiting the new edition of George Morgan's How to do Everything with Your Genealogy which will be out in March. I haven't done much research on my family lately due to time constraints, but I'm looking forward to doing that and vow to go back and reconstruct my citations, so Evidence Explained will be my new best friend.

10. What notable genealogist would you like to meet someday?

That's a very hard question. I have been so incredibly lucky meeting the professionals who have passed through Jamboree's doors.

It Just Never Came Up

It Just Never Came Up. It should be our family motto. Someday I'll design a family crest with the words in reverent Latin, artfully sculpted in some fancy font, surrounding a caricature of a "speak no evil" monkey that bears a vague resemblance to Grandpa Johnson. You'll meet Grandpa soon.

But for now, I'll use this as an outlet to record bits of family history and personal blogging notes. I hope you'll stop by once in a while.