A Tale of Two Sisters

When the two sisters traveled from France to America with their mother and seven of their siblings in 1854, Elisabeth was seven and Christina was just five years old. Hailing from the Lorraine region of France, both girls spoke German. They both attended church and school in their new hometown of Cincinnati Ohio, and both girls were young…

Reading Foreign Language Obituaries

My third-great grandfather Nicholas Schmitt died on this day in 1876 in Cincinnati Ohio. His obituary* appeared in the German-language newspaper The Cincinnati Volksfreund: Transcription: “Todes-Anzeige. Starb am Montag, den 21. Februar 1876, Abends um 11 Uhr, unser innigst geliebter Vater: Nikolaus Schmitt, im Alter von 64 Jahren, geboren in Hellimer, Lothringen. Die Beerdigung findet…

Life Interrupted

She’s buried at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. Until recently, I didn’t know much more than that about Waity Chandler Plum. According to the marriage certificate below, she was 32 years old when she married Carl E. Plum in July of 1901: She would not survive to celebrate their first anniversary. Waity Chandler Plum died…

Why I Love French Baptismal Records

On this day in 1774, my 4th great-grandfather François Schmitt was baptized. Especially exciting for me was that François’ father Claude signed the document. Here I am at my desk looking at the crystal clear signature of my 5th great-grandfather written 241 years ago. Is this a great time to be on the planet or what? But wait – who is the…

Signatures of My Ancestors

One of my favorite genealogical finds is the signature of an ancestor. Imagine my excitement when I saw four at the same time! My 2nd great-grandfather’s probate record contained signatures of all three of his children and that of his daughter-in-law: Jacob Koebe Mueller (1844-1910) was the father of Otto Victor Mueller (1868-1912), Alfred Jacob Mueller…

Mariage de François Schmitt et de Elisabeth Grosse

One of my favorite online resources for French records is Archives de la Moselle. Many of my Schmitt ancestors hail from the village of Hellimer in Moselle, Lorraine, France. Records for Hellimer are free (!) and available online from 1737 to 1791. When I want to see records from the period after 1791, I visit my local Family History Center. Which is…

Elise’s Divorce Lawyers

“And now on this (21st) twenty-first day of November 1874, comes the complainant by Jussen and Anderson, her solicitors…” The statement above was transcribed from my 2nd great-grandmother’s divorce papers. It made me wonder: Why would a 20-something German-speaking French woman from Ohio seek a divorce in Chicago? How did Elise Biedenharn (nee Schmitt) choose these particular lawyers? I started…

Much Ado about Jennie Rose

You may not think the first wife of a 1st-cousin thrice-removed “deserves” a lot of research time. But there is a woman in my tree that’s been pulling at me of late, so today I’d like to give Jennie Rose (Beckley) Schmitt her 15 minutes of fame. Jennie’s husband Arthur J. Schmitt, the son of my 2nd great-grandmother’s…

Schmitt and Grosse Marriage in 1804

My French 4th great-grandparents were married on this day 210 years ago. This is their marriage record, written in Hellimer, Moselle, Lorraine, France on the 16th of January 1804. Transcription and translation are below. “Mariage de François Schmitt et de Elisabeth Grosse Du vingt cinq Nivôse an Douze de la République, acte de mariage de François Schmitt cultivateur…

Tying Up Loose Ends

Using the calendars in Family Tree Maker as a tickler file is helping tie up loose ends in my family history research. On this date in 1900, Clara Antoinette Joehnk was born in Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio. Her parents were John and Clara nee Biedinger. Clara Biedinger’s parents were Nicholas and Sophia nee Schmitt. This Schmitt…