Mystery Solved!…or is it?

Some of the first information I received from my Maternal Grandmother about her family included August and Augusta Beiersdorf’s family notes. I remember commenting to my Grandmother that the first 3 children in the family were born before August and Augusta got married. I was told that August had been married before, his first wife died and he married Augusta, who was her sister. But I didn’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle, so I couldn’t really put truth to this story.

First, August Beiersdorf (1858-1903) was married to ??? and they had Fred (1882-1963), August C. (1884-1974) and William G. (1887-1942).

Then, August married Augusta (1868-1955) in 1887. They had Gustav (1888-1890), Marie (1890-1973), Albert G. (1892-1977), Herman (1895-1983), Otto (1896 stillborn), Ewald (1898-1971) & Frieda (1900-1974). As mentioned in a previous post, August, Augusta & the older children moved from Germany to Sheboygan, WI in 1889.

So, how do I find out who August’s first wife was? And if she really was Augusta’s sister?

First, I found August’s obituary when I took a trip to Sheboygan. He died in 1903. The obit. was in a German newspaper. Roughly translated, it confirmed that he came from Germany in 1889 and that his wife Auguste’s maiden name was Juergen. It made no mention of a previous wife.

Next, I found Augusta’s obituary in the Sheboygan Press. She died in 1955. Her obit. listed 2 surviving sisters: Mrs. Herman Kolbe & Mrs. Carl Kuehl living in Sheboygan. It also states 2 sisters and a brother died before she did. But it did not indicate her maiden name.

Then, using Newspapers.com I was able to find the obituaries for Mrs. Herman Kolbe & Mrs. Carl Kuehl.

Minnie Kolbe died in 1957. Her obit. indicates her maiden name was Jurgen. It lists one sister, Mrs. Christina Kuehl surviving her, 4 sisters and a brother preceding her in death.

I didn’t find Christine Kuehl, but I did find Ernestine Kuehl’s obituary. Her obit. from the Sheboygan Press in 1961 gives a little more information: Her parents were Gottfried and Christine Juergen & she was preceded in death by a brother & 5 sisters. So, with the last 2 obits, we gained another sister if I count correctly—Augusta, Minnie, and 3 other sisters. (where Augusta’s obit only listed 4 sisters, 2 living and 2 dead) I still don’t know the names of the brother or other sisters. But I did have the names of the parents.

Looking for Christine or Gottfried Juergen’s obits, I was unsuccessful finding Gottfried’s. Christine’s gave me another name: her son-in-law Christ Duckow. Christina died in 1913.

Then on to the search for Christ Duckow (or Duchow): his wife was Louise and she died in 1938. Her obit from the Sheboygan Press, stated she was the daughter of Gottfried Juergen. Her sisters are listed as Mrs. Minnie Kolbe, Mrs. Augusta Beiersdorf, Mrs. Marie Schrader & Mrs. Ernstine Kuehl. Her brother’s name was William Juergen. Now there are 2 more names in the family, Marie and William.

Marie Schrader died in 1954. Her obit. gives the same parents, Gottfried & Christina Jurgen; 3 surviving sisters, Augusta, Ernestina and Minnie; a sister (Louise) and brother (William) preceding her in death.

Next, William Juergen’s obituary from the Sheboygan Press in 1947: confirms the names of the parents and sisters. So no new information.

From all of those obits I have the following information: Gottfried and Christina Juergen were the parents of Louise (1859-1938), Minnie (1864-1957), Augusta (1868-1955), Ernestine (1871-1961), Marie (1874-1954) & William (1874-1947). The family members all settled in the Sheboygan area. However, none of the obits give mention of any other children of Gottfried & Christina.

So I figured I would look at US Census records next. Gottfried and Christina show up on the 1900 Census in Sheboygan, right next to Christ & Louise Duchow and their family.

1900censusclipJuergen

This Census has a line related to how many children a woman had and how many were still living. Christine is listed as having 9 children with 6 living.

Then in the 1910 Census, Christine is living with the Duchow family and is listed as having 9 children with 7 living.

1910censusclipJuergen

Still a little confusing, but it appears that Christina Juergen gave birth to 9 children which is 3 more than I knew about. Could one of them be August Beiersdorf’s first wife?

One last piece of information. When I met with the granddaughter of August, Gertrude Schwalbe, she gave me a copy of a torn and taped together piece of paper. It was the baptismal record of her father, August C.

AugustCBeiersdorfBaptism

Written in German script, it was a little hard to decipher the first time I looked at it. Now, it makes a little more sense. It seems to me that it starts with the statement that Carl August Beyersdorf was the legitimate son of Carl August Beyersdorf and Regina Christina Beyersdorf, born Jurgen.

So without digging into additional German databases, I’m pretty much convinced that Regina Jurgen, August’s first wife, could very well have been the sister of Augusta Juergen, August’s second wife. She would then be one of the 9 children that Christina Juergen gave birth to. Maybe someday I’ll look at more of the German records and confirm the suspicion.

So that mystery is considered solved in my book for now. Or is it…

My Great-Grandfather, Herman Beiersdorf’s Birth Certificate lists his Mother’s maiden name as “Auguste Radloff.” I guess I’ll have to keep digging to get the full story…

©MJM 2017

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