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.