In search of Henrietta

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52Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic this week is Challenge

One of my biggest challenges has been trying to find my 2nd great-grandmother, Heneretti.  My great-grandfather, Carl Desen’s, death certificate listed his parents as John Desens and Heneretti Gressiers.[1]  I found John living in Clark County Wisconsin around 1900.[2]  He owned a farm and was killed by his neighbor in 1907.[3]  His son, Herman Desens owned the farm next to John, and Herman was accidently killed by a gunshot wound to the chest in 1901.[4]  The United Church of Christ East Cemetery Index lists Herman’s parents as John Desens and Henrietta.[5] I do not find Heneretti with them in Clark County Wisconsin.  My assumption is that she died prior to John buying the farm since she cannot be found in Wisconsin.   I do not know where John lived before buying the farm in Wisconsin,  however,   I assume it to be Illinois, since all his children lived in Illinois.  I searched different spellings of first and surnames that I could think of such as Henrietta, Henrietti, Heneretti, Henriette, Gressier, Gressiers, Gressens, and many more variations.   All the searches resulted in a dead-end.  Sometimes I feel I am getting close only to find out that it is someone else with the same name or similar name.  I found a Henrietta Desens living in Michigan married to a John Desens and they had a son Carl.  When I first saw this I thought it was my great-grandfather’s parents, but the Carl Desens in Michigan had a different birth date then my great-grandfather.  Once I found my 2nd great-grandfather, John, in Wisconsin, I knew that the John and Henrietta living in Michigan were not my 2nd great- grandparents.  I have wondered if Heneretti was a middle name that she used, and records have her first name. But without more information about Heneretti, it is like looking for a needle in haystack.  I will continue to search for Heneretti and hoping one day to finally break this brick wall.

Copyright © Gail Grunst 2019


[1] Standard Certificate of Death, State of Illinois, Cook County, Forest Park, Registration Dist. 3104, Registered no. 1050. Health Department Record, City of Chicago.

[2] Grantor Index Book, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900.  Filed at Clark County Courthouse, Recorder of Deeds, 517 Court Street, Room 303, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456. 

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

[4] Wisconsin, Clark, Greenwood, Greenwood Gleaner, 25 October 1901.

[5] 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.


One thought on “In search of Henrietta

  1. Maybe information about Henrietta will emerge at some unexpected time. Genealogy can be like a jig-saw puzzle. Often I find pieces of my genealogy puzzle when I least expect it.

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