Mother & Daughter Silhouettes

For Mother’s Day I figured I would share two silhouettes that are part of my collection. They came from my Grandmother, Lucille (Beiersdorf) Chvarack Ash (1920-2011).

Silhouettes used to be quite popular before photography became affordable. After that they were more of a novelty.

First, we have my Grandmother, Lucille’s silhouette. Don’t know when it was done, but I guess she was a few years old.

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Next, the silhouette of her daughter, my Mother. It was done in 1945. She was a few years old then. So I guess the two were done about 20 years apart.

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Mom’s has a few more details cut into it. But I notice both girls had quite curly hair. Can’t say I inherited that trait.

Happy Mother’s Day!

© MJM 2017

Enjoying a Beautiful Day

This is one of my favorite pictures in my collection:

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Back Row: Herman Beiersdorf, Amanda (Steinhaus) Beiersdorf, Helen (Bendler) Beiersdorf, Marie (Beiersdorf) Knapton, Eldon Knapton
Front Row: August Beiersdorf, Fred Beiersdorf

These folks are all relatives on my Maternal side of the family. They lived in Sheboygan, WI. The outdoor scene shows water in the background, possibly the Sheboygan River, since there is land visible on the other side.

Herman & Amanda were my Great Grandparents. They were married in 1916. August and Helen were married in 1915. Eldon and Marie were married in 1914. Missing from the picture is Fred’s wife, Mary (Duchow). Perhaps she was taking the picture. Looks like all of them are having a good time.

A couple of other things to note in the photo:

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Amanda and Helen are holding boxes.

Closer inspection shows that they are holding Cracker Jack boxes. The popular molasses coated popcorn & peanut candy first came out in 1896. This box design is seen in advertisements from around 1918, before the logo included “Sailor Jack” & his dog, “Bingo.”

 

 

Also, Amanda is wearing a bracelet.

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I’m pretty sure that it is a bracelet that I now have. It is a gold-color bracelet with a nice floral design.

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On the inner rim are her initials and the date, 1913. This would have been the date of her high school graduation.

What a cool connection to the picture!

So, that’s about it, a nice photo of a group of siblings and their spouses enjoying a day outdoors. I wonder what they did that day. Did they have a picnic? Or did they get together after some event? Maybe for a walk after Sunday dinner? Who knows. But does it really matter? I’m just glad they posed for the picture so that day could be remembered.

© MJM 2017

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.

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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

Germans to America

When I first got interested in the family history, I didn’t have much information about my Maternal ancestors. For the most part, all I had to start with were some names and dates for my Great-Great Grandparents. We knew that some of them came from Germany and some from Croatia. That was about it. This was well before many databases had been made available on the internet.

I can’t remember exactly how, but I found the name of a collection of books, Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Ports 1850-1897, edited by Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filby, and located it at a library a couple of hours away. My Mom & I took a trip there and looked at the books. Immediately we found the name of one of the families and the name of the ship they sailed to America on. It was fun to see our ancestors’ names in print! Since then I’ve found a few more tidbits on this family in the U.S.A.

According to the Germans to America reference, the Beiersdorf family, August, “Justine” and their sons, Friedrich, August, Wilhelm and Gustav arrived in the United States October 22, 1889. They came over on the ship, Taormina. They came from Prussia. Now, I had information that August’s wife was named Augusta & not Justine, but I figured it was still the correct family.

Since the original find of the family in the index, I found the passenger list for the Taormina in the New York Passenger list collection of Ancestry.com. It indicates the family’s destination as Wisconsin. They actually settled in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Hamburg passenger list collection indicated that the family was from Woltersburg, Pommern. August was 30 years old when he arrived in America, his wife was 26, son Friedrich was 6, son August was 4, son Wilhelm was 2 and son Gustav was only 9 months old. As for the name “Justine,” I can’t really explain it, but my assumption is that it was a shortened form of Augustine or Augusta. There was another “Justine” on the same page of the list.

I searched for the ship, Taormina, and on the website Norwayheritage.com, found out that it was a single funnel ship with 3 masts & a single propeller. It carried 600 3rd class passengers. It docked in New York on October 22, 1889 at 8:00 a.m. It took about 17 days to cross the ocean. The immigrants were possibly processed at the Castle Garden Immigration Depot. (Ellis Island did not become the Immigration gateway until 1892.)

I met August’s Granddaughter, Gertrude Schwalbe (1916-2008), in the early 2000’s. She was the daughter of August C. She shared some of what her father had told her about the trip to the U.S.:

They travelled in Steerage class down below, providing their own bedding, cooking kettles & food, sharing a spot in which to prepare their meals with other immigrants. The air was heavy with the smell of cabbage & potatoes & I’m sure the smell of so many unwashed bodies didn’t help it any. Once a day they were allowed up on deck for exercise and fresh air. Dad remembers his Father taking him up on deck and holding his hand as they walked. Suddenly a gust of wind blew off my Dad’s new cap & carried it out into the Atlantic! That was Dad’s most vivid memory of his trip to the U.S.A.” So I guess passage on the Taormina was definitely a “no frills” trip.

She said a relative helped pay for their passage. They took the train to Sheboygan and stayed in a “house at the side of the Sheboygan River known by the men of Sheboygan as the Green house, a sporting, you guessed it, whore house!” August got a job with the Reiss Coal Company and shoveled coal by hand from the hold of a Coal Boat. After he got his first pay check, the family moved to a house on Indiana Avenue. They lived in Sheboygan the rest of their lives. They were members of Immanuel Lutheran Church. As far as I know, August and Augusta did not become U.S. Citizens, but their sons did.

Augusta was actually August’s second wife. His first wife died after the first 3 sons were born. He then married her sister, Augusta. (I still have some research to do to verify the name of the first wife & if she truly was the sister of Augusta.) August and Augusta had 7 more children: Gustav, the little baby on the trip, died in 1890; Marie (1890-1973); Albert (1892-1977); Herman (1895-1983); Otto (1896, stillborn); Ewald (1898-1971); Frieda (1900-1974). August died in 1903 at the age of 44, Augusta lived 52 more years and died at the age of 87 in 1955. They are buried in Lutheran Cemetery in Sheboygan.

This is a photo of the family after August’s death. My Great-Grandfather is Herman, the young boy on the right.

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Beiersdorf family

Back row: Fred, August C, Marie, William, Albert

Front row: Ewald, Frieda, Augusta, Herman

© MJM 2017

A Lutheran Gal Marries a Catholic Guy

My Maternal Grandparents were John Aloysius Chvarack, (1916-1967) and Lucille Marie Beiersdorf (1920-2011). They were both raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

John was a part of a family of Croatian immigrants. His Father, Steve (1872-1938) came to the US first, then his wife, Mary (1876-1960) and their first 3 children came about 10 years later. Steve was part of the establishment of St. Cyril & Methodius Church in Sheboygan in 1911. John had 2 brothers & 2 sisters and they were raised in the Catholic faith. John was born August 3, 1916 and was baptized at St. Cyril & Methodius August 13, 1916. He attended St. Cyril & Methodius school & graduated from Sheboygan High School in 1934.

Lucille was the only child of Herman (1895-1983) & Amanda (1894-1973) Beiersdorf. Her ancestors were German immigrants. Herman’s parents, August (1858-1903) & Augusta (1868-1955) came to the US in 1889 with 4 of their 10 children. Amanda’s parents, Otto (1869-1954) & Emilie (1867-1940) Steinhaus, came to the US in the mid 1880’s and married in Milwaukee in 1890. Lucille was born in Port Washington, WI on August 23, 1920 & was baptized there on September 5, 1920. The family moved back to Sheboygan & Lucille was raised in Bethlehem Lutheran church. She graduated from Sheboygan High School in 1938.

They attended the same high school but 4 years apart. John’s yearbook caption gives his nickname as “Johnny” and indicates he was on the Commercial Course of study. “It takes tall men to be seen” is the phrase under his name. The caption continues with: “John is quite a shy, tall boy who overcame his shyness when he joined the Glee Club. He seems to have unusual strength, and there are many who admire his skating and swimming abilities.”

Lucille’s caption is shorter: “Louie” is her nickname, her favorite subject is typing, hobby is sewing, and ambition is to be a stenographer.

I interviewed Grandma in 2008 and asked her about Grandpa. She called him “Johnny” but it sounded more like “Junny” when she said it. They met when some friends introduced them and she invited him to a party at her house. She was 14 and he was 18. Lucille’s cousin, Gertrude Beiersdorf was in Johnny’s class so maybe she had a part in introducing them. Grandma said he was so shy that he stayed off to the side and didn’t interact much with the group initially. After he got to know someone, he was more interactive. They started going together after that & were together while Lucille was in high school. They went to dances at the Eagle auditorium & had a group of 4-6 couples that would go out together, get together to play cards or go on picnics.

They got married Wednesday, June 26, 1940 in Sheboygan. Now, I just figured that they got married in the church that Grandma grew up in, Bethlehem Lutheran Church. But when I found the wedding announcement from the Sheboygan Press, I noticed that they got married in the parsonage of the church and not in the church. The announcement said she wore a white net over satin princess style gown. Orange blossoms held her veil in place and her bouquet was of “Euratium lilies, bouvardia and white sweet-peas.” Her attendant, John’s sister, Anna, wore an aqua taffeta gown with “shirred basque waist and empire skirt.” Her bouquet was of American Beauty roses. Lucille’s cousin, Francis Beiersdorf, was the best man.

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But I didn’t understand why they got married in the parsonage. I asked Grandma about it. She said it was because she was Lutheran and Grandpa was Catholic. She said his Mother would not attend the wedding and would not permit him to get married in the church. Looking at the pictures, though, seems like she missed out not being able to walk down the aisle of the church in that beautiful dress. Lucille’s parents hosted a supper and reception at their house after the wedding.

John later took classes and joined the Lutheran church. The couple continued on at Bethlehem while they lived in Sheboygan. After John joined the Army and made a career of it, they continued to find Lutheran churches to attend and raised their 2 daughters in the faith.

Johnny died in California in 1967. Lucille had one daughter still at home. My Mother was already married and had a family of her own. Lucille stayed in California for the rest of her life.

© MJM 2016

 

Labor Day, Factory Workers in the Family

While most of the early ancestors on Dad’s side of the family were primarily hard-working farmers, those on Mom’s side of the family were factory workers.

They immigrated from Germany and Croatia and settled in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Sheboygan was a factory town on the shore of Lake Michigan.

So for Labor Day, I figured I would recognize these workers in the family.

First, going back in time: Mom’s parents were Lucille Beiersdorf (1920-2011) & John Chvarack (1916-1967 ). Lucille’s parents were Amanda Steinhaus (1894-1973) & Herman Beiersdorf (1895-1983). John’s parents were Mary Siprak (1876-1960) & Steve Chvarack (1872-1938).

US Census records from 1900 have my great-great grandfather, August Beiersdorf, working as a Coal Handler; his 18 year old son, Fred, was a Band Sawyer; and his 15 year old son, August, was a Factory Hand.

By 1910, August, Sr. had died. His son, Fred still worked as a Sawyer in a Chair Factory, August worked as a Cabinet Maker in a Furniture Factory, son William, 23, was a House Painter, son Albert, 17, worked in a Chair Factory, son Herman (my G-grandfather) at 16 years old was working as a Wood Turner in a Chair Factory.

Based on US Census Records in 1900 &1910, Otto Steinhaus, my great-great grandfather, worked in a chair factory. In 1910, his sons, Walter, 19 & Willie, 14, also worked in a chair factory. His daughters, Martha, 16 & Amanda, 14, (my G-grandmother) worked at sewing in a glove shop.

1n 1910, 1920 and 1930, Steve Chvarack shows up working in a chair factory. He died in 1938. In 1920, his son, Joseph, age 22, was working in a chair factory, & son, George, 20, worked as a shoemaker in a shoe factory.

Seems like it wasn’t until my Grandparent’s generation, the “Greatest Generation”, that children stayed in school at least through High School.

Great Grandpa Herman Beiersdorf retired from Armour Leather Company after 25 years in 1958, but as mentioned earlier, he started working at age 16.

Grandpa John Chvarack worked at a Tannery in 1940. Later, he made a career in the Army

I asked Grandma, Lucille, why she chose to go to Sheboygan Business College. She said she didn’t want to go to college and got a job at a factory where they knit stockings. Said she learned how to “hold your stocking here and go this way and that way and make perfect stitches.” She said she lasted 10 days & then enrolled in the business college. The business education came in handy later when she had to support herself after John’s death.

So there we have a few of the early jobs my maternal ancestors had. Many of them stayed with those factory jobs through their entire lives. Hard to imagine the working conditions in the early 1900’s.

©MJM 2016