TIMELINES

Recently, I was trying to write about my father’s Aunt Christine.  I only had the privilege of meeting her a couple of times when I was around 8 or 10 years old.  When I met her, she had two grown sons.  I thought her sons were her only children.  My father was not close to her and rarely saw her so he didn’t know much about her life.  As I researched her, I became very confused.   It seems she had seven children with at least 3 different men.  Each time she married; the children’s surname changed to whomever she married.  It was hard to keep track of who belonged to who.  This is where a timeline came in handy.  Using a timeline to record the events in your ancestor’s life helps organize your genealogy research, and find gaps in your research.  Here is my timeline for Christine.

1913 – Christina has a baby girl in June 1913.  The name of the child is listed as baby Manfroid (same birth date as her daughter Marion).  On Birth Certificate the father’s name is erased, but still readable and it says Frank Gauger and occupation is machinist.  Also, father’s birth place erased, but still readable as Chicago, Illlinois.

1913 – Christina gets married in November of 1913 to an Orrey Levi Wheat

1915 – Christine has a baby girl, Harriet according to the 1940 census.

1918 – Christina has a baby girl Louise according to the 1930 census.

1919 – Christina has a baby girl Dorothy Butendorff

1930 – Christine is living in Forest Park, Illinois with daughters Marion, Harriette, Louise, and Dorothy Butendorff.  There is no husband in household, however she states she is married.

1933 – Christine’s son George Ciancio Jr. is born.  This according to the SS Index.

1935 – Christine’s son Ronald Ciancio was born.  This according to the SS Index

1939 – Christie’s daughter, Joyce Ciancio is born. According to 1940 census.

1940 – Christine is married to George Ciancio and has three children by him.  George Jr.  5 years old, Ronald 4 years old, and Joyce 1 years old.  This means that she must have divorced Robert Buttendorf somewhere between 1930 and 1933 when George was born.

1940 – Christine’s daughter, Marion Butendorff, is married to Victor Vartan living in Chicago, Illinois and they have a 7 month old son according to the 1940 census.

1940 – Census lists Robert Butendorff as single and he is living alone.

1940 – Christine’s daughter, Louise, is married to Herbert Kanning on the 1940 census.

1940 – Christine’s daughter, Dorothy, is married to Herbert Reichert. Dorothy and Herbert have a three-year-old daughter according to the 1940 Census

1942 – Robert dies and on the death certificate Christine is listed as wife.

1942 – Robert’s WWII draft card does not mention Christine. 

1950 – Christine is living with her two sons George and Ronald according to the 1950 census.

1970 – Christine Ciancio dies.

Church Records: Finding Grandma’s Birth

Helen Desens

My paternal grandmother died before I was born so I never had the privilege of knowing her.  So many times, I wished I could talk to her.  Not just for genealogy purposes, I wanted to know her like I knew my other grandma.  As a kid, I would visualize her watching me from heaven.  All I know about my paternal grandmother is what my father told me. 

Helen Desens was born on 23 March 1900 at home in Forest Park, Illinois.[1]  According to my father she attended St. John Lutheran Church and school through 8th grade in Forest Park, Illinois, and was baptized and confirmed at this church.[2] Unable to find a birth certificate for her, I turned to church records.  This was many years ago before the Internet.  I called the church and asked if they had records and would it be possible search them.  They said, “Yes, come on in.”  When I got there, I had to ring a bell and someone met me at the door and escorted me to the church office.  I had to walk through the school and across the gymnasium to get to the church office.  The school and church were old, and I don’t think it had changed since my grandmother attended school there from approximately 1905 to 1914.  Walking through the halls of the school, I imagined my grandmother as a little girl going to this school and I felt a real connection to her.  If I was alone, I think I would have cried.  But on to the office and records.  I found her confirmation record, but not a baptism record.  The confirmation record stated she was confirmed on 5 April 1914 and her parents were Carl Desens and Augusta Gabbie.[3]  She was born 23 March 1900 Forest Park IL and her church was St. Paul in Forest Park, Illinois.[4]  Although, I could use the confirmation record as a secondary source for proof of her parentage and birth date, I was disappointed.  The baptism record would be a secondary source too, but closer to the event (birth). But at least it told me that she was most likely baptized at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Forest Park.  I didn’t know that Forest Park had two Lutheran Churches. While I was there, I looked for anyone who had the last name Desens, and I did find some of her brothers and sisters who were baptized at this church, plus some cousins.  I left that day with the intention of calling St. Paul Church and going there to look for her baptism.  But since I did have the proof I was looking for, I put it off for many years.  I put it off so long that now with the Internet many records are online, and I found her baptism at St. Paul on Ancestry.com.  My grandmother was baptized Helene Margarete Auguste Desens on 12 May 1901.[5] It states she was born 23 March 1901 (the year different from the confirmation record). It lists the parents as Carl Desens and Augusta Gabbei (slightly different spelling than confirmation record).[6]

According to my father she went to church regularly and brought him up a Lutheran.  I am not sure of my grandfather’s religious beliefs.  My father did not mention him going to church.  I assume he was probably brought up Catholic because his mother was a Catholic.  My grandparents went to the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton, Illinois on the 22 March 1919 to be married.[7]  I find it interesting that my grandmother was married the day before her 18th birthday. Actually, if she was born in 1901, she was still 17 when she got married.  Marriage record lists her as 19 on the day before her birthday.  So did they lie about her age to get married, but then why didn’t they wait one or two more days until she was 18.  Why didn’t they have a church wedding?  Was it because of age, different religious beliefs, or could it be for some other reason?  I’ll never know the answer to that one.

There seems to be a discrepancy in her birth year. 

  • Confirmation says 1900[8]
  • Baptism says 1901[9]
  • Marriage cert says she is 19 years old and that would make the birth year 1900[10] 
  • She is not listed on 1900 census with the rest of her family[11]
  • Her death certificate says 1901[12]
  • My father said 1900 [13]

I decided to go with the 1901 because the baptism is closed to the event and the fact, she is not listed on the 1900 census with the rest of her family.   If born in 1900, she would have been 3 months old when the census was taken on 30 June1900. 

Week 10 Worship 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Copyright © 2022 Gail Grunst


[1] Told to me by father George Manfroid, Jr. in 1979.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Confirmation Record for Helen Desens,” born 23 March 1900, confirmed 5 April 1914, St. St John Congregational book 1908 – 1926, Page 227. Book located at John Lutheran Church, 305 Circle Ave., Forest Park, Cook County, Illinois.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Baptism record for Helen Desens,” Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Archives; Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Congregational Records Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1781-1969 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “George Manfroid marriage Record to Helen Desens,” Wheaton, DuPage, Illinois, 22 March 1919. Original located at DuPage County Government Offices, 505 N County Farm Road, Winfield, DuPage, Illinois.

[8] “Confirmation Record for Helen Desens,” born 23 March 1900, confirmed 5 April 1914, St. St John Congregational book 1908 – 1926, Page 227. Book located at John Lutheran Church, 305 Circle Ave., Forest Park, Cook County, Illinois.

[9] “Baptism record for Helen Desens,” Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Archives; Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Congregational Records Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1781-1969 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

[10] “George Manfroid marriage Record to Helen Desens, Wheaton, DuPage, Illinois,” 22 March 1919. Original located at DuPage County Government Offices, 505 N County Farm Road, Winfield, DuPage, Illinois.

[11] Year: 1900; Census Place: Proviso, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T623 294; Page: 53A; Enumeration District: 1182.

[12] “Death record for Helen Manfroid,” Elmhurst, DuPage, Illinois, 4 September 1946. Original located at DuPage County Government Offices, 505 N County Farm Road, Winfield, DuPage, Illinois.

[13] Told to me by George Manfroid, Jr. in 1979.

Court Records: Probate

We find our ancestors in a variety of court records such as; wills, probate, criminal and civil cases, divorces, and naturalization records to name as few. Through the years, I have found several court records that have helped me establish a relationship, and some that have given me a glimpse into my ancestor’s life.

One such court record is the probate file for my 2nd great-grandfather, John Desens. I was looking for proof that he was my 2nd great-grandfather. I was pretty sure I had the right person, but needed positive proof and I did find it in the probate file.

Proves Carl Desens is his son

Above it states that Carl Desens who resides at 111 Washington Street, Forest Park, Illinois is the son of John Desens, the deceased. Carl Desens is my great-grandfather.1 This was the proof that I needed for my family tree.

Also, it states in the probate file that John Desens suffered a violent death.2 I already knew about the circumstances of his death by newspaper accounts and a court transcript of criminal case against his neighbor.3

States John Desens died a violent deateh

What I did not know was that his neighbor, Fred Zell tried suing John Desens’ estate for $5000 because he was permanently disabled from the fight he had with John Desens’. But John’s estate counter sued and below is the statement from the probate file that gives the reason they are suing Fred Zell.4

Description of John Desens violent death

Above is a description of what Fred Zell did to John Desens. Since it may be hard to read I am going to transcribe that part. “Fred Zell did at said time and place unlawfully, willfully, wrongfully, and feloniously assault, strike, beat, bruise, cut, stab, kick, choke, throw down to ground with great violence and while so down cut, kick choke, stab, beat and bruise the said John Desens and put him greatly in fear of his life. That therefore the said John Desens (now deceased) was made sick, sore, bruised and disabled from attending to his business and to care for himself in any manner what ever from the 26th day of June A.D. 1907 to the time of his death.” John’s estate tried to sue Fred for $5,900. It was settled with John’s estate paying Fred $1.00.5 In the criminal case against Fred Zell for killing John Desens it was found that there was not enough evidence to convict Fred.6

In this probate file was the legal description of his farm and a list of all his belongings. The legal description helped me find John’s Farm. The list of belongings gave me a glimpse into his life.7

I have other wills and probate files that help me understand my ancestors life and their surroundings as well as prove heirs.

Week 8 Courting 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.

Copyright © 2022 Gail Grunst

___________________________________________

1Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

2Ibid.

3Criminal file for Fred Zell, Clerk of the Court, 517 Court Street, Room 405, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456.  Sent by Elizabeth Frost, Deputy Clerk to Abigail Grunst

4Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

5Ibid.

6Criminal file for Fred Zell, Clerk of the Court, 517 Court Street, Room 405, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456.  Sent by Elizabeth Frost, Deputy Clerk to Abigail Grunst

7Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

Curious and Branching Out

Branching out or researching collateral lines is a well-known technique used in the genealogy community when you hit a brick wall.  It was a brick wall and curiosity that caused me to branch out and research collateral lines.  In two ancestral lines, I was curious what brought them to the place they settled in.  What brought my 2nd great-grandfather, Charles Bowers, to Ottawa, Illinois in 1854?  Usually, people settle in a specific area because they know someone or have a job.  The job was out because he worked as a farm laborer and a school janitor.  He could have done these jobs anywhere.  He must have known someone, but who?  If I wanted to know why he settled in Ottawa, Illinois, it was necessary to research his collateral lines. 

William Linfor

Charles Obituary in 1897 said he had two brothers, Robert and William, living in Syracuse, New York.[1]  I did find a Robert living in Syracuse in 1900[2] and Richard Bowers[3] living in Syracuse, New York in 1892, but no William.  I often wondered if Richard was William.  Maybe William was his middle name.  I gave up looking for William and thought perhaps the newspaper or person giving the information had it wrong.

A few years ago, I ordered microfilm from the Family History Library in Utah to look for my 2nd great-grandfather Charles Bower’s baptism on 2 October 1828 in England.[4]  I knew it was there from the online index.  When I got the microfilm reels of the church records it covered the years 1772 – 1905.  I started looking for anyone and everyone with the last name Bowers.  I found my 3rd great-grandparents Bonnet Bowers and Eliza Linford marriage which stated that Eliza was a widow.[5]  I also found baptism records for a Richard,[6] Robert[7] and Eliza Bowers[8] born to Bonnet and Eliza Bowers.  I never found a William Bowers that was a son of Bonnet and Eliza.  Along the way, I found Eliza in the marriage banns to Robert Linford.[9]  I also found two children she had with her first husband, William baptized 28 August 1811,[10] and Elizabeth baptized November 30, 1814[11] and died on 5 December 1814.  I made copies of all the pages that listed these events.  I then came home and entered the Bowers information into my family tree.  I filed the documents in my file cabinet under their family name and moved on to another branch.

I decided to start scanning documents that I have collected over the years into my computer.  I started with the Bowers folder because it is the first one in my file cabinet.  As I was scanning them into the computer, I was looking over them again, when I came across the name William Linford born in 1811 to Eliza and her first husband.[12]  I guess it pays to take a second look at documents because at that moment it struck me that if William lived, he would be a step brother to my 2nd great grandfather Charles.  Could this be the brother William mentioned in Charles’ obituary?  The next thing I did was a search on William Linford, and the first thing that popped up was the 1850 census which had a William Linfor (spelled without the d) living in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[13]  This was most likely brother, William, and that is why Charles ended up in Ottawa, Illinois. 

I continued to search for William Linfor(d) and found out the following information. He married Dinah Essaby in 1833.[14]  They had four children John 1837, William 1840, Sarah 1844, Robert 1846.[15]  They came to the US 22 August 1849 and to Ottawa, Illinois on 1 October 1849.[16]  In 1851 William applied for citizenship and in 1854 he became a citizen of the United States.[17]  He worked as a Sexton at the West Ottawa Cemetery until the family moved to Section 20 in Allen Township, LaSalle County, Illinois in 1856.  William farmed the land until 1879 when Dinah died and he moved to Syracuse, New York.[18]

In 1911 William Linfor was living at 1516 Grape Street in Syracuse, New York.  At the age of 99 he was just beginning to carry a cane.  The previous winter he was seen climbing a ladder to clean snow off the roof.  He attributed his long life to never eating beyond what he knew he could digest.  He was still in possession of all his faculties except his hearing.[19] William Linfor died on 28 January 1912 of pleurisy at the ripe old age of 100.[20] 

Another 2nd Great Grandfather, Conrad Reinhardt, settled in Amana, Iowa after coming to the United States.[21] The Amana Colonies are religious communal way of life.[22]  All property was held in common and all decisions religious and secular were made by the same leadership.[23]  My grandmother always said that her grandfather’s sister started the Amana Colonies, however I could never find proof of this and in researching his siblings, they all would have been too young to be involved in the founding of the colonies.  I could find no evidence that any of his siblings ever lived there.  Who did Conrad know in Amana, Iowa?

While I was researching a great-uncle, John C. Reinhardt, I found an article in the Sabetha Herald about John’s recollection of his childhood in the Amana Colonies, Iowa.[24]  I found this interesting since he is my great grandmother’s brother and our common ancestor is his father, Conrad (my2nd great grandfather).  In the article John mentions that his great-aunt was a school teacher for more than half a century.  She weighed 225 pounds and was 6 feet 2 inches. The name of the great aunt was not mentioned in the article.  I figured this was my 2nd great-grandfather’s connection to Amana, and this is the reasons he chose to go there upon arriving in the US.

I had previously corresponded with the Amana Heritage Museum when needing information on my 2nd great-grandfather.  I wrote to them once again and they were able to provide me with information about the aunt.  The Aunt was Elizabetha Schuh born in Nussloch near Heidelberg, Baden, 26 May 1831.  Elisabetha is the sister to Conrad’s mother.  She came to Ebenezer Society in September 1847, then to Amana in October 1863.  The Internal records of Amana Society indicate that she came with the Bortz family. The Bortz Family and another outside source claims that her parents did not approve of her relationship with a certain boy so they shipped her to America.[25]  The Amana Heritage Museum history documents her as a woman of size and strength.  They also said that all of the teachers were men with the exception of teaching knitting.[26]  I was able to find her on the 1870 United States Federal Census[27] and the 1885 Iowa Census[28] and on both census records her occupation is listed as housekeeper not a teacher.  She died on 25 March 1908 and is buried in the Amana Cemetery.[29]

By branching out and researching collateral lines I was able to resolve my curiosity as to why both 2nd great-grandfathers settled where they did.

Note:  I combined last week’s 52 ancestors in 52 weeks prompt “curious’’ and this week’s prompt “branching out” for this week’s post

Copyright © 2022 Gail Grunst


[1] Obituary for Charles Bowers: Republican Times (Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois) February 18, 1897.

[2] New York, U.S., State Census, 1892 for Robert Bowers, Onondaga, Syracuse Ward 11, E.D. 02

[3] New York, U.S., State Census, 1892 for Richard Bowers, Onondaga, Syracuse Ward 07, E.D. 09

[4] Baptism for Charles Bowers baptized on 2 October 1828; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England

[5] Marriage Record for Bonnet Bowers and Eliza Linford married 27 April 1822; Register of Marriages in the Parish of Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1838 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 item 2; Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England

[6] Baptism Record for Richard Bowers baptized 20 April 1822; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[7] Baptism Record for Robert Bowers baptized 25 February 1825; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England

[8] Baptism Record for Eliza Bowers baptized 10 June 1827; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England

[9] England Marriages, 1538–1973 database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NVJ5-JXV : 10 February 2018), William Linfor and Dinah Essaby, 14 “Oct 1833; citing Gedney, Lincoln, England, reference , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1542146 IT 1

[10] Baptism for William Linford 28 August 1811; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Register Baptism and Burials 1772 – 1812  Item 2; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs., filmed 26 July 1988, Film Number 13640109, film unit # 2161 NCD 2 Roll # 5

[11] Baptism for Elizabeth Linford 30 November 1814; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Register Baptism and Burials 1772 – 1812  Item 2; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs., filmed 26 July 1988, Film Number 13640109, film unit # 2161 NCD 2 Roll # 5

[12] Baptism for William Linford 28 August 1811; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Register Baptism and Burials 1772 – 1812  Item 2; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs., filmed 26 July 1988, Film Number 13640109, film unit # 2161 NCD 2 Roll # 5

[13] Year: 1850; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; roll: M432_115; Page: 269B; Image: 191

[14] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 224 & 227.

[15] Year: 1850; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; roll: M432_115; Page: 269B; Image: 191

[16] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 227.

[17] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D. C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization service District 9 1840 – 1950 (M1285); microfilm Serial: M1285; Microfilm Roll 112

[18] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 227.

[19] Henley B. J., The Art of Longevity (Google eBook) (Syracuse, N.Y, 1911), p. 223 & 224

[20] Health News. Monthly Bulletin (Google ebook) (New York State Division of Public Health Education, Albany, New York), New Series, Vol. VIII, No 1, Full Series Vol. XXIX No 1,  January 1913

[21] Amana Church Membership Records, in archive collection of the Amana Heritage Museum, Amana, Iowa.

[22] Bourret, Joan Liffring-Zub and John Zug, Amanas yesterday: a religious communal society: a story of seven villages in Iowa: historic photographs 1900 – 1932. IA City, IA: Penfield Press, 2003

[23] Ibid.

[24] Sabetha, Kansas, Sabetha Herald, Wednesday, December 9, 1936, Pg. 4.

[25] Email from the Amana Heritage Society to Gail Grunst dated Friday October 13, 2017.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Year: 1870; Census Place: Amana, Iowa, Iowa; Roll: M593_396; Page: 131B; Family History Library Film: 545895

[28] Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.

[29] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/106053138/elisabeth-schuh

Favorite Picture: Three Generations 1938

Eva, Dorothy, Helen

I have many favorite pictures so it was hard to pick just one. This happens to be one of my favorite pictures because it is three generations of strong women.  The picture  was taken in 1938.  From the left is my great-grandmother, Eva Bowers, my mother, Dorothy Kaiser (age 14), and my grandmother, Helen Kaiser nee Bowers.  I think the picture was  probably taken in front of my great-grandmother’s place in Chicago.  By 1938 my grandparents were living in Villa Park, Illinois and this is not their home.  I wish I could have been in the picture to make it four generations, but I was not born yet and by the time I came along, Eva had already passed away.  I never knew Eva, but heard a lot about her from my mom and grandma.  Eva was born in Heidelberg, Baden, Germany to Johann Konrad Reinhardt and Anna Maria Schwebler on February 14, 1877. Eva came to the United States when she was almost two years old. Her brother John was a baby. Her first home in the United States was in Amana, Iowa.  They spent a few years in Amana and then moved to Ottawa, Illinois where Eva grew up with her brothers and sisters.  Eva grew into a young woman and sometime around 1896 she married Robert Bowers also of Ottawa, Illinois. The family story is that Robert and Eva ran off to Chicago to be married.  I have never been able to find a marriage record for them in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. According to family stories, Robert’s family never accepted Eva as his wife or acknowledged that any of the children were Roberts.  I started to wonder if they were ever really married and that is why Robert’s family didn’t want anything to do with Eva or their children.  However, when Robert’s father died, Robert and Eva as his wife signed a quit-claim deed to a piece of property to Robert’s mother.  I was told that if they were not married, Eva would not need to sign the quit-claim deed.  Perhaps they were married somewhere other than Chicago.  Robert and Eva had three children, Ralph born in 1897, Helen in 1898 and Frances in 1900.  Shortly after Frances was born Robert left Eva.  Again family stories say they were divorced, however I have never found divorce records for them.  In 1900 Eva was on her own and had to make a living for her and her three children.  She raised the three children alone in a time when there was no financial support for women. Robert did not have to pay child support and there was no welfare. Eva relied on family to babysit her children while she worked. She worked a milliner and seamstress for many years. She moved to Chicago away from her support system in Ottawa, Illinois. There were probably better job opportunities in Chicago. She had a couple of long relationships with men, but I can find no proof that she married them. She always kept the surname Bowers. Eva passed away on 23 December 1941 in Chicago, Illinois.

My grandmother married in 1923 to Fred Kaiser. Because of her upbringing with no father in her life, she was determined to have a long marriage and raise her children in a home with both a mother and father. She had my mother in 1924, a son in 1930 that lived only 11 days, another son in 1931, and a stillborn son in 1933. The son born in1931 was premature, weighed 4 lbs 2 oz and fit into the palm of her hand. She had a strong belief in God and I am sure that is what got her through those years in the 1930’s. Her premature baby boy survived and died at 80 years old. Grandma witnessed the depression during the 30’s and WWII. She was a true homemaker of the day, a good cook, seamstress, and housekeeper. She had a successful long marriage that ended in October 1980 after 57 years with the death of her husband. She only lived four months after the death of her husband and died at age 82 in February 1981.

My mother’s life was probably the easiest of the three. She married George Manfroid in 1945 and had two children. She was also a homemaker of the time. The depression of the 30’s affected my father’s family more than it did my mother’s, because of my father’s experience it made him determined that his family did not go without. He bought things that they really could not afford. My mother was the one that tried to keep things in check and watch the money. They were always living paycheck to paycheck. My mother was the worrier and this bothered her a lot. In spite of my father’s foolish spending, they were happily married. Once my brother and I were old enough she went to work. She worked part-time as a cashier for Walgreens, and went to night school to learn bookkeeping. She then found a job working as bookkeeper for Slater’s Shoe Store. This was a huge help to their financial situation. My mother was healthy during her life time, but not my father. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1967, my mother took good care of him through his treatments and worried she might lose him. He survived it and lived another 17 years. In 1984 he was diagnosed again with cancer this time with lung cancer, and he only survived a couple of weeks after diagnoses. My mother who had never been ill with more than a cold, died suddenly three years later from a brain aneurism.

All three women had their trials and tribulations and managed to stay strong and keep going in spite of them. In-between the hard times were good times too. My grandmother looks so happy in the picture above. They all had a hard life, but it was also a good life. I think for all of us life is full of those hard times, but it is our faith and family that get us through those times.

Week 3 Favorite Picture 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Copyright © 2022 Gail Grunst

Favorite Genealogy Find: Ancestor Killed in Wisconsin

John Desens Farm 2015

Of all my great genealogy finds, I think this one was my favorite. The family story was that some ancestor was killed by Indians in Wisconsin. That did not turn out to be true, but an ancestor was killed in Wisconsin by his neighbor. I first published this story in 2015 and here it is again today.

On a June day in 1907 John Desens was working on his farm in Clark County, Wisconsin near the town of Greenwood, when he noticed that something had eaten his grain.  He did not own any cattle and the only cattle nearby belonged to his neighbor Fred Zell.  John was walking his horses out to the pasture, when he saw his neighbor, Fred, on the road.  John called to Fred and said, “Your cattle have been eating my grain.”  Fred asked him, “How can you say my stock is eating your grain?”  John replied, “Come and see for yourself, you can see the grain is eaten off.”  Fred yelled to John, “You son of a bitch.  You come on the road and I will fix you!”  John said, “No, I don’t want to fight, I am an old man, and all I ask of you is to keep your stock out of my grain.”  John heard the gate open, and the next thing he knew Fred had him by the throat, choking him, and pushed him up against the fence post.  John took out his knife and tried to cut himself loose.  He cut where ever he could.  John fell and Fred fell on top of him. John didn’t want to get his eyes cut so he managed to roll over.  John woke up lying in the field and an officer was talking to him.  John said to the officer, “Leave me lie here a little longer and I will die.  I do not want to go to jail.”  The office told him that he wasn’t going to take him to jail, but to a doctor.  When the officer found John, he had been cut and bleeding.  John stated that his side hurt and asked for some water.  The officer got him some water and noticed that John was covered with dried blood and flies.  The officer also saw that there was blood oozing from John’s leg and at first thought that John had been shot.  He ripped the pant leg and saw that he had a gash on his leg.  The officer and some other men got a wagon, filled it with hay, got some blankets from John’s house, and took him into town to the doctor.  Later that day the officer got a call to take John to the local hotel.  He had taken Fred Zell there earlier that day.  There was only one room available so he put John in the same room as Fred.   This was in place of a hospital as there was no hospital in the town.  Two days later John went by the officer’s house and said he was going to walk home.  The next day Saturday the officer and district attorney went out to John’s house.  They showed him a knife they had gotten from Mrs. Zell and asked him if that was his knife.  John said that it was like his except that he had a piece of wood in it so that he could open it easier and this one had the tip of the blade broke off and a small piece of the blade was bent over. A week later on July 6, 1907 John succumbed to the stab wounds in his chest and died alone in his house.[1]

Fred Zell was seriously injured and it took him months to recover.  His hand was almost severed from his arm.  Fred did recover, but didn’t regain full use of his hand.  Fred died in 1932.  A newspaper account said that Fred Zell was resting his arm on the gate talking to John about the cattle when all of a sudden John started cutting Fred’s hand. [2]

When I first ran across this story, I had two newspaper accounts and a mention of it in a book.[3] [4] [5] I didn’t know if John Desens was my great-great grandfather or not.  His wife had the same name as my great-great grandmother (already deceased at this time) and his one son (also already deceased at this time) had the same name as a sibling of my great grandfather.[6]  I sent for John’s death certificate hoping that the informant would be some relative that I knew, but it did not list an informant.[7]  Then last summer I made a trip to Clark County Wisconsin.  I asked to see the probate file, but it was no longer kept there.  It was now in the state archives.  I then asked to see the criminal file for Fred Zell because the paper said most likely he would be charged with John Desens death.[8]  I had to pay $5.00 and they would search for it at a later date and send it to me.  Then I asked to see land records which I was able to see.  The Land records gave a legal description and I was able to locate the farm on a current day map, but it didn’t give me any clues to if this was my ancestor or not.  A few weeks later I received the criminal file.  There appears to be pages missing, but there are 21 pages of testimony from the officer who found John Desens lying in his yard that day in June.  So I only have John’s story through the officer. [9]

Fred Zell’s story is missing.  Although, the paper had Zell’s story about how John went after him first.[10]  In the end the court did not charge Fred Zell with John Desens death because lack of evidence as to who started the fight.[11]  I have some questions and they were not answered in the court documents to my satisfaction.  John was 74[12] years old and Fred was 46.[13]  It seems to me that Fred would have the advantage being younger and most likely be stronger than John.  If John cut first almost severing Fred’s hand, how could Fred have stabbed John?  Did Fred have a knife on him to stab John, or did he get John’s knife away from him and use it on John?  How did Fred get back to his farm or get help?  Why was John left to die? It sounds like he was left lying there in the field for a long time because of the dry blood and flies on him.  He was in and out of consciousness.   Paper also said Fred Zell was the worse of the two,[14] yet he lived for 25 more years.[15]  I think if the investigation was done today that they would be more thorough.

I sent to the state archives for John’s probate file and right on the first page is the evidence that John is my great-great grandfather.  It lists my great grandfather Carl Desens at 111 Washington Street, Forest Park, IL as his son.[16]  An interesting side note about the probate file.  Fred Zell was suing John’s estate for $5000.[17]  All of John’s 80 acres were only worth $1200.[18] He did not have much else and had some debts that needed to be paid out of the estate.[19]  Fred Zell received $1.00.[20]  I find this story very sad.  Although I never knew my 2nd great grandfather, I felt sad that he was left in the field to die.  I felt anger at the neighbor for his part in this and the fact that he was younger and probably stronger, and frustration at district attorney for not investigating it better.  There are so many unanswered questions.

I visited John’s grave when I was up there last summer, however at the time, I was not sure if he was my ancestor or not.  I also did not have all the details of the crime.  I would like to go back and visit his grave again and take some flowers.  I want him to know that someone cares.  That I care!

John Desens Tombstone

Week 2 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Favorite Find.

Copyright © 2015 Gail Grunst

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[1] Criminal file for Fred Zell, Clerk of the Court, 517 Court Street, Room 405, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456.  Sent by Elizabeth Frost, Deputy Clerk to Abigail Grunst.

[2] Neillsville times(Neillsville, Clark County, Wis) July 11, 1907.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Marshfield Times ( Marshfield, Wood County, Wis) July 17,1907

[5] Hub of Clark County (1853 – 1934)

[6] United Church of Christ East Cemetery Index(formerly the German Immanuel Evangelical & Reformed Church) Warner Township, Clark County, WI, Compiled by Stan and Janet Schwarze.

[7] Death Record of John Desens, Pre -1907 Wisconsin Death Record County Clark, Volume # 01 Page # 438. Filed at the State Historical Archives of Wisconsin, Miroforms room, 816 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

[8] Marshfield Times ( Marshfield, Wood County, Wis) July 17,1907

[9] Criminal file for Fred Zell, Clerk of the Court, 517 Court Street, Room 405, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456.  Sent by Elizabeth Frost, Deputy Clerk to Abigail Grunst.

[10] Neillsville times(Neillsville, Clark County, Wis) July 11, 1907

[11] Criminal file for Fred Zell, Clerk of the Court, 517 Court Street, Room 405, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456.  Sent by Elizabeth Frost, Deputy Clerk to Abigail Grunst

[12] Death Record of John Desens, Pre -1907 Wisconsin Death Record County Clark, Volume # 01 Page # 438. Filed at the State Historical Archives of Wisconsin, Miroforms room, 816 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

[13] Obituary of Frederick W. Zell.  Greenwood Gleaner (Greenwood, Clark County Wisconsin) August 25, 1932.

[14] Marshfield Times ( Marshfield, Wood County, Wis) July 17,1907

[15] Obituary of Frederick W. Zell.  Greenwood Gleaner (Greenwood, Clark County Wisconsin) August 25, 1932.

[16] Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

Our foundation: Grandpa

My Grandfather provided his family with a solid foundation on which to build our lives.  He not only provided this to his children, but also to his grandchildren.  I knew my maternal grandparents well and they influenced me in a big way.  Both of them died when I was 33 years old.  They passed away within four months of each other at ages 84 and 82.  I grew up just a few blocks from Grandpa and Grandma and I could walk or ride my bike to their house.  I spent a lot of time with them growing up.   I was just as close when I became an adult.

Grandpa was the foundation of the family. One knew where they stood with him.  He said it like it was and did not mince any words.  He was not mean, he just let you know what he thought.  He was a moral, dependable, hard-working, kind, and a good listener.  Many times, I told him my problems and he listened.  Sometimes he didn’t offer any advice, he just listened.  I found that he was the person that I liked talking to the most because he just listened.  When he did give advice, it was always solid. 

He had certain beliefs that I remember to this day. You don’t take off work unless you are really sick and a cold wasn’t reason enough to take off work.  You worked through your cold; you did not take to bed. You stayed with one job your whole life.  You did not quit and go from job to job.  Children should have chores, and he would check to make sure they were done. Everyone must be home for dinner and eat together.  If you didn’t like what was for dinner you had to sit there anyway until everyone was finished.  You were not offered something else to eat.  You ate what grandma made or you went hungry, and you must eat everything you put on your plate.  There were hungry children in China. 

He was definitely a disciplinarian.  As a kid you just knew you didn’t cross him and I never tried.  I can only remember a couple of times that he had to yell at me and I was devastated.  I could not stand for Grandpa to be mad at me or disappointed in me.  I mentioned this to my brother one time when were adults and Grandpa was long gone, and my brother said he felt the same way.  

Grandpa was a steady as can be.  He held down the same job for over 40 years.  He and grandma were married 58 years when they passed away.  They lived in the same house for over 40 years.  He kept his cars for years until he had no choice but to get a new one. 

Grandpa was frugal with money. He would repair things around the house until they could no longer be repaired before he would buy new.  His parents gave them furniture for a wedding present, and they had that furniture reupholstered twice and still had it at the end of their lives. 

My grandfather was a big man, who played sports in his youth.  As he got older, he loved watching them on TV.  He bowled into his old age and he loved to garden.  He had a beautiful yard with flowers and a big vegetable garden.  He was a big animal lover and he always had a dog.  The last one was a Boxer and Grandpa would take him for walks.  He’d save his last bite of food for the dog.  The dog knew when it was time for Grandpa to come home from work and he would wait on the front porch for him.

Grandpa loved his family and he passed on his values to his children and grandchildren.  So it is for this reason that I say he was our foundation.  I married a man much like my grandfather.  They both liked each other and got along well. 

In his late 70’s he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and it was with great sadness that we watched my once vibrant and intelligent grandfather decline.  In the end he did not know us. 

Copyright © 2022 Gail Grunst

Oh, where oh where have family traditions gone?

I find each year that the younger generation seems to care less about our family traditions.  I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I have talked with a few friends and they also say that their family traditions seem to be going by the wayside.  On Thanksgiving they are interested in eating and leaving to go shopping for deals.  They seem distracted by their phones and everyone sits looking at their phones instead of having a conversation.  If you try to tell family stories, that is old times and old stuff and no cares about the past.  They have no desire to know about their ancestors or the even my past.

Christmas 1948 Family

I came from a small family of maybe 10 to 15 people as it varied over the years.  We all got together on Christmas Eve and opened gifts. Santa would come and leave a bag of gifts on the front porch, ring the bell, and disappear.  My brother and I were the only kids in the family so Christmas Eve was at our house.  Christmas Day everyone gathered at my grandparent’s house for dinner.  The women would all contribute to the cooking, but my grandmother did the turkey and goose.  My grandfather had to have goose.  She had a stove in the basement as well as her kitchen.  She would run up and down the stairs while cooking both. My grandmother had a big heavy swinging door between the kitchen and dining room which usually remained open, but on holidays when she cooked, she closed it to keep the heat in the kitchen and the house cool.  The kitchen was so hot the women would sweat.  My job was to set the table and put the olives out.  They were lucky that there were olives left as I ate some while putting them out.  After dinner the men retired to the living room to watch TV and usually fell asleep, while the women cleaned up and did the dishes.  After dishes were done, the adults played cards while my brother and I played with our new toys.  I always enjoyed the conversations that went on and that is where I heard a lot of family stories.  After the card playing, we would have our dessert and then everyone would depart for home.  Thanksgiving was at my grandmothers and was pretty much like Christmas Day.  New Years Eve my parents often had parties and it would be mostly their friends and their kids, plus my grandparents and uncle.  New Years Day was again at my grandmothers for another big meal.  Easter I would find an Easter Basket on the dining room table and then I would hunt for eggs.  Then we would get ready for church.  Back then everyone dressed up so I always had a new dress, hat, gloves, and new shoes.  After Church we would go to my grandmothers and I would hunt for eggs again, but this time outside.  My Aunt and cousin would always bring us another Easter Basket.  There would be another big dinner at grandmas. 

After my grandmother got too old to do all that cooking, my mother started hosting the family dinners.  Grandma would still bring a dish to dinner, and she would still help clean up.  We still played cards or a board game after our dinners.  By this time, my brother and I were old enough to play games with the rest of the family.  After I married, I wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner at our house and so I started hosting Thanksgiving dinners, and my mother did Christmas.  When the children came along, I also started hosting Christmas Eve so Santa could come deliver the gifts to our house.  New Years Day and Easter were at my mom’s.  But other than the place we celebrated, everything else remained the same except for a few years when my kids were in a Christmas Eve presentation at church.  We would go to church first before opening gifts and Santa coming.   There were also a few years where we went to candlelight services at midnight. 

When my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles were all gone.  I still tried to carry on our family traditions.  There were years that it was only my husband, two kids, my brother, and I that were left.  It was up to me to do every holiday meal and plan the activities.  I always tried to find a new game every year to keep our game playing interesting.  When my kids grew up the family expanded once again.  Son number 2 married and eventually had three kids.  They would celebrate every other Thanksgiving with us and Christmas Day with us.  My brother had a girl friend he lived with for many years but never married.  Once again, we had 10 people for our holiday celebrations

At the present time it is hard to keep those traditions going because once again the family has gotten smaller.  Son number one never married and had kids.  Son number 2 got divorced and his kids are grown up now and they go their own way on holidays.  My brother passed away 6 years ago, and my husband two years ago.  I still cook for my two sons and we still play games on holidays.  I cook the same way my grandmother cooked and the same things.  But our holidays just are not the same.   They are as good as can be, but I miss those days with everyone.  I know when I am gone this family’s traditions will be gone with me. 

If they ever decide they are interested in family stories, they are all written down.  Some on this blog and all of them on paper in a book.

Seven Brides for one Brother

Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

We have all heard of the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, well this is the story of seven brides for one brother.  This is the story of my paternal grandfather’s brother.  In researching my grandfather’s brother, Theodore Arthur Manfroid, I kept finding more and more marriages. One would think that maybe I had two different people with the same name, however MANFROID is a very uncommon name especially in the United States.  I met this uncle when I was a little girl along with his wife Mabel and their daughter also named Gail.  I knew he was married at least twice, but had no idea what I would uncover. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how he could change wives so rapidly.

Theodore Arthur Manfroid came into this world on 19 January 1904.[1]  He was the fifth son and the seventh child born to Isidor George Manfroid and Mary Fiderius.  He came near the end of Isidor and Mary’s marriage.  By 1910 Isidor and Mary were no longer together and Theodore is found living in St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum in Chicago.[2]  In 1910, St Vincent’s was a place for unwed mothers and for children who parents could no longer take care of them.[3]  Mary remarried in 1911[4] and I assume at this time she reclaimed Theodore.  In 1920 he is 16 and living with his mother, Mary, and his step-father, Adam Beischer.[5]  In 1926 he marries for the first time to Josephine Staschak in Oak Park, Illinois.[6]  I don’t know how long this marriage lasted, but in 1931 he marries his second wife, Mary M. Freehill.[7]  Later in 1931 Theodore and Mary have their first child, a daughter, Joy,[8] and in 1933 they have a second child, Shirley.[9]  Again, I don’t know how long the marriage lasted, but in 1938 he has another daughter, Gail.[10]  Gail’s mother is Mabel Curphey.[11]  I could not find a marriage record; however, Mabel is listed as his wife on the 1940 census[12] and again in 1942 on his WWII draft card.[13]  But I did find a marriage record for Theodore and Mabel later in 1950.[14]  Perhaps they were married before Gail was born, divorced after 1942 and remarried in 1950.  The reason I say this is because Theodore had another child, a boy, born in 1946[15] and the mother is Charlotte Alberta David.  In the 1948 City Directory for Evanston, Illinois,Theodore is listed with his spouse Alberta.[16]  Charlotte continued to use the last name Manfroid for several years after she was no longer with Theodore.[17]  So I assume they were legally married even though I can find no marriage record at this time.  As I mentioned above, he married Mabel in 1950 and then in 1952 he marries Dorothy Audene Luehrsen in Texas.[18]  I find him living in Oak Park, Illinois in 1959[19] and 1960.[20] In 1960 he marries Frances Ione Stallion in Nevada.[21] This must have been a short marriage because he marries again in 1961 to Lorraine Evans Pierce.[22]  That is the last marriage I find for Theodore. 

Theodore is described as 6’1” and 168 lbs. with brown hair, blue eyes, and light complexion.[23]  During his lifetime he served in the Marine Corp during WWII,[24] work as a lubricator,[25] and he hauled freight between Chicago and Cleveland for the Cleveland-Chicago Motor Express at 1030 Washington Blvd, Chicago, Illinois.[26]  He also worked as a painter for the Layne Texas Company in Dallas, Texas.[27]

Theodore died on 14 September 1978 in a VA Hospital in Houston, Texas.[28]  The cause of death was Sepsis due to a urinary tract infection, and he also had Carcinoma of the lung and post Carcinoma of the prostate.[29]  He is buried in South Park Cemetery in Pearland, Brazoria, Texas.[30]

There is a big gap in my research from 1961 to 1978 where I can’t find any more information on Theodore. Theodore (Ted) Manfroid lived an interesting life that is for sure!  I wonder if he ever found his one true love. 


[1] “Illinois, cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1945.” Database. FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903,B8L1 : 18 May 16 2016), Theodore Arthur Manfroid, 19 Jan 1904; Melrose Park, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 20165 Cook County Clerk, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago: FHL microfilm.

[2] Year: 1910; Census Place:  Chicago Ward 21, Cook, Illinois; Roll:T624_264; Page: 16B Enumeration District:0923, FHL microfilm 1273177.  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the untied States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T24, 1, 178 rolls).  Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29.  National Archives, Washington, D. C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following Nara web Page: NARA.

[3] From website: https://chicagoancestors.org/place/st-vincent-infant-asylum

[4] Adam Beischer Obituary, Oak Park, Cook, Illinois, Oak Park Leaves, 17 Ma7 1962, p.76,

[5] Year: 1920; Census Place: Forest Park, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_362; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 185

Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).

[6] “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871 – 1968,” database, Familysearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q21V-ZWM3 : 28 November 2018), Theodore Manfroid and Josephine Staschak, 11 September 1926; citing Marriage, Cook, Ililnois, United States, citing Cook County Clerk. Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 10271050

[7] Ancestry.com, Cook County, Illinois Marriage index, 1930-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, Ut, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.  Original Data: Cook County Clerk, comp, Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records. Cook County Clerk’s Office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008

[8] “Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKDC-Y38M : 18 May 2016), Joy June Manfroid, 02 Sep 1931; Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 36457, Cook County Clerk, Cook County

Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm.

[9] “Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QL99-PNK3 : 27 March 2017), Shirley Rae Manfroid, 28 Aug 1933; Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 30901, Cook County Clerk, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .

[10] “Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVPC-4VHW : 18 May 2016), Gail Lee Manfroid, 11 Apr 1938; Melrose Park, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 88, Cook County Clerk, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 100,480,845.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Year: 1940; Census Place: Melrose Park, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00788; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 16-443.  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[13] National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1117.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[14] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Cook County Clerk, comp. Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records. Cook County Clerk’s Office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008.

[15] U.S. Public Records Index, 1950 – 1993, Volume 2 – Ancestry.com

[16] Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[17] Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Marriage Index, 1949-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.Original data: California Department of Health and Welfare. California Vital Records—Vitalsearch (www.vitalsearch-worldwide.com). The Vitalsearch Company Worldwide, Inc., Pleasanton, Ca

[18] Harris County Clerk’s Office; Houston, Texas; Harris County, Texas, Marriage Records; Pages: 2.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Select County Marriage Records, 1837-1965 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

[19] Oak Park Oak Leaves, Feb 5 1959, pg.4. NewspaperArchives.com

[20] Oak Park Oak Leaves, Nov 3, 1960. NewspaperArchives.com

[21] Ancestry.com. Nevada, U.S., Marriage Index, 1956-2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.

Original data:  Nevada State Health Division, Office of Vital Records. Nevada Marriage Index, 1966-2005. Carson City, Nevada: Nevada State Health Division, Office of Vital Records.  Clark County, Nevada Marriage Bureau. Clark County, Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-1966. Las Vegas, Nevada: Clark County, Nevada Marriage Bureau.

[22] Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Marriage Index, 1960-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.  Original data: State of California. California Marriage Index, 1960-1985. Microfiche. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.

[23] National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1117.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[24] From Website: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/72930044/theodore-a-manfroid

[25] Year: 1940; Census Place: Melrose Park, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00788; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 16-443.  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[26] National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1117.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[27] Texas Department of State Health Services; Austin Texas, USA.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Death Certificates, 1903-1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.  Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. Austin, Texas, USA.

[28] Texas Department of State Health Services; Austin Texas, USA.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Death Certificates, 1903-1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.  Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. Austin, Texas, USA.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

The Engraver

Phil’s house in New York

I’ve been scanning pictures of my father’s family. There are not very many, unlike my mother’s family where there are tons. I ran across one of a cute house and on the back was written, “Got these pictures year 1942 August 27. Phil home in New York. Mother and Dad were there.” Phil was my father’s uncle. I am assuming the handwriting on the back is that of my grandfather and the Mother and Dad referred to are my great-grandparents. I then did a search for a picture of Phil but could only find one and it is not very clear, and written on the back, “Georg and Muchie, Phil and Mabel and their friend. Our house on 13th Avenue, Maywood (Illinois).” I assume that this was taken before my grandfather or Phil were married as neither married a Muchie or Mabel. Out of the five children, my grandfather and Phil are the only ones who were married only once and had long marriages.

Phil is standing in the middle.

I did a search on Philip Felix Manfroid and here is a short biography.

Philip Felix Manfroid was born on 19 July 1896 in Cleveland, Ohio to George Manfroid and Mary Fiderius.[1] Sometime between 1896 and 1899 the family moved to Chicago, Illinois and then to Maywood, Illinois.[2]  Philip is described as having blue eyes, dark brown hair, ruddy complexion, 5’8” tall, and 116 pounds.[3]  In June of 1918 Philip was working for Root and VanDerVoort Engine Company in East Moline, Illinois.[4]  In 1920, Philip was Glazier for a glass place and living in Forest Park, Illinois.[5]  The 1930 census lists him as an engraver[6] and the 1940 census as a glass engraver.[7]  On the 18 March 1922 Philip married Frieda Schulz,[8] the daughter of Paul Schulz and Anna Frieda Elise Sophie Neumann born in Hamburg, Germany on 12 June 1899.[9] Frieda was a clerk at Lande’s Department Store in Forest Park, Illinois at the time of their marriage.[10]  Philip and Frieda had one child; a daughter Phyllis born on 21 November 1922.[11]   Sometime between 1930 and 1935 they moved to Long Island, New York.[12]  Philip was a very good Crystal Cutter and received Commissions from such stores as Tiffany’s, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and other places.[13] Around 1953 they moved to Palm Beach, Florida where he worked at Shuman Department Store in Riviera Beach, Florida.[14]  Philip died on 1 January 1962 at home in Florida.[15]  Frieda lived for 28 years after Philip’s death and died 29 August 1990.[16]  Both are buried in Glen Oak Cemetery in Hinsdale, Illinois.[17]  Phyllis married Jordan Rau in 1949[18] and they had two sons.[19]  Jordan died on 10 July 1997 in Florida[20] and Phyllis followed almost two years later on 9 June 1999 in Florida.[21]


[1] Ancestry.com. Ohio, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data:  “Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2011. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

[2] Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 10, Cook, Illinois; Page: 16; Enumeration District: 0293; FHL microfilm: 1240256.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

[3] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Rock Island County.  Source Information:Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.  Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

[4] Ibid.

[5 Year: 1920; Census Place: Forest Park, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_362; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 185.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).

[6] Year: 1930; Census Place: Proviso, Cook, Illinois; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 2305; FHL microfilm: 2340241.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[7] Year: 1940; Census Place: Hempstead, Nassau, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02688; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 30-152.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[8] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes, 1912-1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.  Original data: Private donor.

[9]  Ancestry.com Hamburg, Germany, Births, 1874 – 1901 [database on-line], Provo Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.  Original data: Best. 332-5 Standesamter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv, Hamburg., Hamburg Deutschland.

[10] Forest Park Review (Forest Park, Illinois) 25 March 1922 Sat. Page 1.

[11] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.  Original data:  “Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878–1922.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Illinois. Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878–1922. Illinois Department of Public Health. Division of Vital Records, Springfield.

[12] Year: 1940; Census Place: Hempstead, Nassau, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02688; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 30-152.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

[13] Forest Park Review (Forest Park, Illinois) 12 September 1990, Wednesday, Page 11.

[14] Obituary that appeared in Palm Beach Post on Tuesday 2 January 1962. Obtained from the Government Research Service of the Palm Beach County Library System on 3 July 2003.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014.  Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[17] From website Find-a-Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/214913183/frieda-m-manfroid

[18] New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017. Original data: Index to Marriages, New York City Clerk’s Office, New York, New York.

[19] Personal note sent to me (Abigail Grunst) in 2003 from son of Phyllis Manfroid Rau and grandson of Philip Manfroid.

[20] Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.  Original data: State of Florida. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998. Florida: Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, 1998.

[21] Obituary from St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) 11 June 1999.