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

The Bookie

My father had an uncle, Arthur Manfroid, who owned a tavern in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.  My father claimed Arthur was involved with the syndicate (mob) in Chicago.  I remember my father saying that as long as Arthur didn’t cross them (the mob) he was OK.  I think that the mob may have financed his tavern and they probably owned the slot machines.  I was a kid when I heard my father talking about Arthur so I don’t remember all the details.

One time we went into Chicago to look at used cars and my father said that Arthur’s tavern was nearby consequently we stopped in at his tavern. While my parents had a beer or two, I had a coke and free snacks. 

Another time we took my great-grandmother to a shoe store in Chicago.  She was in an accident many years before that left her with one leg shorter than the other one.  She had to go to a special shoe store that built up the sole of the one shoe for her short leg.  Afterwards, she wanted to go see her son, Arthur, and by this time he was married to his second wife Josephine.  I remember there was a long flight of stairs up to their apartment, and Josephine stood at the top, while my parents helped grandma up the stairs.  I only saw Arthur and Josephine a few times and it was long ago, therefore I barely remember them.

Arthur Anton Manfroid arrived on 5 January 1901 to George I. Manfroid and Mary Fiderius.[1]  He joined his 4 siblings in their Chicago home.[2]  His father was an iron moulder while his mother kept house and raised the children.[3] Two-and-half months after Arthur was born, his brother, Isidor, died of a pneumonia at two years old.[4]  A few years later, two more boys were added to the family.  The last one born in 1907.[5]

Somewhere between 1907 when the last child was born[6] and 1910,[7] Arthur’s parents divorced.  In 1910 Arthur is found living at the St. Mary’s Training School for Boys in Des Plaines, Illinois.[8]  St. Mary’s Training school for boys housed orphans left without means of support by the death of one or both parents, and children whose parents were unable to give them the necessities of life.[9]   Arthur’s younger brother Theodore is found in 1910 living at St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum (orphanage) in Chicago, Illinois.[10]  Apparently, Mary was unable to support her two youngest children after the divorce.  There was no back up for single mothers in those days.   The father was not required to pay child support and there was no assistance from the government. It was through the charity of the Catholic Church that Mary was able to find help.  In 1911 Mary married Adam Beischer,[11] and I assume sometime after her marriage to Adam she was able to be reunited with Arthur and Theodore.   In 1920 both Arthur and Theodore are living with Mary and their step-father Adam.[12] 

Arthur had a car accident on September 27, 1923 in borrowed car.  The newspaper account reads as follows:

“Anton Manfroid, a young man living at 148 Lathrop Avenue, and until recently employed in the Ed Roos Factory, driving Clarence Troost’s car in Madison Street near Ferdinand Avenue, Thursday evening, struck and seriously injured William Kreino 510 Ferdinand Avenue, a truck driver for Standard Oil Company, was walking across the street.  Manfroid had borrowed the car a few minutes before the accident happened.  After Kreino was taken to Oak Park Hospital, Manfroid drove himself to police station and gave himself up.”[13]

William Kreino survived the accident and died in 1950.[14]  The car owner Clarence Troost was involved with local politics in Forest Park, Illinois.[15]  I was curious about the Ed Roos Factory and thought it might give me some insight to Arthur’s occupation in 1923.

The Roos Manufacturing Co. of Chicago was established in 1871 by Edward Roos, who died in 1906 when two sons Edward and Otto took over the business.  In 1916. Edward split with his brother and started his own company, which made cedar chests.  The Ed Roos Building at 7329 Harrison in Forest Park, Illinois opened 1918 and hit its peak in the 1930’s.  The company used 3 million feet of cedar per year and produced 200 chests per day.” [16]  

Unfortunately, I still don’t know what position he might have held at this factory.

On 28 September 1929 Arthur married Isabelle Kiniec.[17]  Arthur worked as a book maker (bookie) for a sports restaurant and Isabelle worked as a telephone operator.[18]  They lived at 6256 Wabansia Ave., Chicago, Illinois.[19]  In 1942, Arthur’s draft card lists his employment as the Kildare Club at 1550 N. Kildare, Chicago, Illinois and his employer’s name as Joe Nicholson.[20]  I found a matchbook for sale on Ebay with horses racing on the cover.  It lists the address as 1550 N. Kildare at Grand and North Kildare.[21]  I’m sure it was a place where people bet on horses.

I believe that it was during the 1930’s and early 1940’s that Arthur worked as a bookie, probably at the Kildare Club and maybe other places too. 

“The Torrio-Capone organization expanded its limited gambling operations, especially after Prohibition. Mobsters took over the slot machine business. In the 1940s, the mob forcibly took over the racing wire service, and some policy operations as well, though it never achieved total dominance. Mob gambling reached Chicago HeightsBrookfieldGlenview, and other suburbs by 1940. In 1959, the Chicago Tribune reported that 10,000 employees worked at 1,000 gambling establishments in Cook County. Postwar Chicago gangsters profited from gambling in many other cities.”[22]

Arthur was short at 5’4” and weighed 120 lbs., and he is described as having a ruddy complexion and gray eyes.[23]

I have often wondered why Arthur chose book making as a way to make a living.  I wondered if his early life in a boy’s school and being separated from his mother and siblings affected him.  The other brother that was in St. Vincent’s Infant asylum had many problems.  The older boys who were probably working by the time the parents divorced seemed to lead more normal lives.  It appears the Arthur was able to stay out of trouble with the law and the mob.  His name did not come up in any of my searches through newspapers except for the accident he had in 1923. 

I don’t know what happened to his first wife Isabelle. Arthur never had any children with either wife. Arthur passed away on 19 August 1967 in Chicago, Illinois[24] and is buried at Chapel Hill Cemetery in Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois.[25] His wife, Josephine, passed away many years later on 10 June 1992 in Virginia.[26]

[1] Birth Certificate for Arthur Anton Manfroid, 5 January 1901, Registration number 72637, State of Illinois, Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, Illinois.

[2] 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 10, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T623 256; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 293.  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,

[3] Ibid.

[4] Death Certificate for Isidor Manfroid, 22 March 1901, Registration No. 12247, Department of Health, City of Chicago, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[5] “Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925.” Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 6 April 2021. Catholic Church parishes, Chicago Diocese, Chicago.

[6] “Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925.” Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 6 April 2021. Catholic Church parishes, Chicago Diocese, Chicago.

[7] Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 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

[8] Ibid

[9] Maryville History https://www.maryvilleacademy.org/about/our-history/

[10] Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 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

[11] Oak Park Oak Leaves (Oak Park, Illinois) 17 May 1962, p. 76, “Adam Beischer dies from stroke: Services held Friday”, location Newspapers.com.

[12] 1920; Census Place: Forest Park, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_362; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 185

[13] Forest Leaves (Forest Park, Illinois) 3 October 1923, p.12, “Borrowed car hits man”.  Location Google Books.

[14] Chicago Tribune, (Chicago, Illinois), 21 December 1950, P. 18, Obituary for William Kreino.  Location Newspapers.com.

[15] Forest Park Review, (Forest Park, Cook, Illinois), 3 March 1923, p. 4.

[16] From website: Chicagogeek https://chicagogeek.tumblr.com/post/60752283932/the-roos-manufacturing-co-of-chicago-was

[17] National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21

[18] 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00994; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 103-2256

[19] Ibid.

[20] The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; 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

[21] From Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/KILDARE-CLUB-1550-North-Kildare-Avenue-Chicago-IL-1940s-Front-Strike-Matchbook-/251236281701

[22] From Website Chicago History: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/496.html

[23] The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; 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

[24] Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988.  Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.Original data – Cook County Clerk. Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records. Cook County Clerk’s Office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008.Original data: Cook County Clerk.

[25] Chicago Tribune, (Chicago, cook, Illinois), 21 August 1967, P. 6, Obituary for Arthur A. Manfroid. Location: Newspapers.com.

[26] Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014:  Source Information

Ancestry.com. Virginia, U.S., Death Records, 1912-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.  Original data: Virginia, Deaths, 1912–2014. Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.

Anna Marie Schwebler’s Life

In the small village of Bairertal, Baden, Germany, Anna Marie Schwebler was born on 20 January 1855 to Peter Schwebler and Friederike Liecht.[1]  Baiertal is a village in the district of Heidelburg in Baden (now Baden-Wurttemburg) in Southwest Germany.  Baden-Wurttemburg contains Germany’s largest continuous forest area, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), which spreads westward to the banks of the Rhine River.[2]  This is where Anna was baptized Lutheran on 29 January 1855,[3] and where she grew up, married, and her first two children were born.  Anna was 22 years old when she married Johann Konrad Reinhardt on 26 April 1877 in Baiertal.[4]  Nine months later their first child, Eva Friederike Reinhardt, was born on 14 February 1878.[5]  A year and a half later their son, Johann Konrad Reinhardt, was born on 9 August 1879[6] (the birth record says Johann was born on 9 August 1879, but in all other documents he is listed as being born on the 10th.)  Shortly after Johann was born Anna and her husband left for America.  First, they traveled 284 miles through Germany to Antwerp, Belgium.[7]  Today it is a 5-hour trip,[8] but in 1879 it was much longer. It is unknown what form of transportation they used from Baiertal to Antwerp.  The Reinhardt’s probably left Antwerp somewhere between 19 November 1879 and 25 November 1879 on the ship Belgenland I (1878 Red Star Line).[9] The ship was 403’ x 40’ and went 14 knots,[10] and it was placed in Antwerp to New York service in 1879.[11]  The trip from Antwerp to New York was 3,827 nautical miles.[12]  If the ship went an average of 10 knots the trip would take about 16 days, and if it went top speed of 14 knots all the way it would take 10 days.[13]  The Reinhardt’s arrived in New York on December 5, 1879.[14]  At that time, they would have been processed through Castle Garden Immigration Center.[15]  Seventeen days later, on 22 December 1879 they arrived in Amana, Iowa.[16] Amana was the home of Johann’s aunt, Elizabeth Schuh.[17]

“The Amana Colonies are seven villages on 26,000 acres located in Iowa County in east-central Iowa.  The seven villages consist of Amana (or Main Amana), East AmanaHigh AmanaMiddle AmanaSouth AmanaWest Amana, and HomesteadIn 1714 in Southwestern Germany two men started a religious movement which later became known as the Community of True Inspiration.  A group of people from this movement came to the United States in 1842 settling in the vicinity of Buffalo, New York.  They built four villages known as Middle Ebenezer, Upper Ebenezer, Lower Ebenezer, and New Ebenezer in New York State.  They also built two villages in Canada.  The Buffalo area was becoming quickly urbanized so the group sought land to west, and in 1854 purchased the sight of the present-day Amana Colonies in Iowa.”[18]

“After arrival in this county, the group adopted a religious-communal way of life, with all property held in common and with all church and secular decisions being made by the same leadership.  The communal way of life lasted nearly a century until the people voted separation of church and state in 1932 adopting the free enterprise way of life that surrounded them.”[19]

“Mother and baby stayed home until the child was two and went to Kinderschule.  The child would be in school from 8AM to 11AM and then would be home for lunch with the mother, not the communal kitchen. After lunch Children went back to Kinderschule. The Children went to Kinderschule until age seven.” [20]

The Reinhardt’s settled in South Amana.[21]  Johann Americanized his name and went by Conrad.  Conrad worked as a shoemaker in Amana.[22]  Anna would have been at home and not working in the communal kitchen because she had two children under two.  On 10 February 1881, Anna gave birth to another daughter, Elizabeth, born in Amana.[23] Reinhardt’s decided that Amana was not for them and left there in April 1883.[24]  In 1885 they settle in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois and joined the Zion Evangelical Church in Ottawa.[25]

At this time, it is not known where they may have lived between 1883 and 1885.  In 1886 another daughter, Emma, is born in Ottawa Illinois,[26] followed by a son, Frederick, born in 1887,[27] Anna born in 1889,[28] and Agnes, 1891.[29]  Anna spent the rest of her life in Ottawa raising her children and keeping house.  My grandmother often visited her grandparent’s in Ottawa, but she didn’t tell us many stories about her grandparents.  Although, there were not many stories handed down about Anna and Conrad Reinhardt, there were traditions that were handed down.  I visited Amana, Iowa and ate at one of the many restaurants.  The food is served family style and when I took a bite, it was like being back in Grandma’s kitchen.  Apparently, Grandma learned to cook from her mother and grandmother.  In the museum, there were quilt’s just like the ones handed down to me that were made by my great-grandmother.  

Quilt made by my Great-Grandmother Eva Reinhardt

The family referred to their daughter Annie as being slow.  No one elaborated more than to say she was slow.  Anna Marie had a nervous breakdown sometime between 1900 and her death in 1910.  There is a gap in children between 1881 – 1886 so I wonder if she lost one or two in that time period.  It probably wasn’t easy in those days to have a mentally challenged child, and the possibility that she may have lost one or two children may have contributed to her nervous breakdown.  Plus, we will never know what else was going on in her life at that time that may have contributed to it.   

Anna Marie passed away on 11 June 1910[30] at age 55 years, 4 months, and 22 days.  She is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[31] A long way from Baiertal, Baden, Heidelburg, Germany. She shares her birthday January 20 with her 4th great granddaughter.

Other Ancestors born in January

George Manfroid – 1 January 1892

Arthur Manfroid – 5 January 1901

Charles Bowers – 7 January 1784

Johann Friedrich Reinhardt 10 January 1814

Mary Bowers – 13 January 1792

Sarah Bowers –13 January 1792

John Bowers – 22 January 1786

Hugo Kaiser – 26 January 1899

Augusta Gabbi – 28 January 1859

Copyright © 2021 Gail Grunst


[1] Ancestry.com. Baden, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1502-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.  Original data:Mikrofilm Sammlung. Familysearch.org. Originale: Lutherische Kirchenbücher, 1502-1985.

[2] https://www.britannica.com/place/Heidelberg

[3] https://www.britannica.com/place/Heidelberg

[4]  Germany Marriages, 1558 – 1929,  LDS Library, Salt Lake Ciry, Utah, microfilm # 1272787.

[5] Ancestry.com.  Baden Germany Lutheran Baptism, 1502 – 1985[database on-line]. Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.  Original data:  Mikrofilm Sammlung. Familysearch.org.

[6] Ancestry.com. Baden, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1502-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.  Original data: Mikrofilm Sammlung. Familysearch.org. Originale: Lutherische Kirchenbücher, 1502-1985.

[7]Maps, Google. “Google Maps Heidelburg to Antwerp.” Google Maps, Google, 2021, http://www.google.com/maps/dir/Antwerp,+Belgium/Heidelberg,+Germany/@50.2921341,4.2755556,7z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x47c3f68ebfc3887d:0x3eaf448482a88ab8!2m2!1d4.4024643!2d51.2194475!1m5!1m1!1s0x4797c1050eccdccd:0xefe6ea0044243ad7!2m2!1d8.6724335!2d49.3987524.

[8] Ibid.

[9]  Germans to America(Vol. 34). (1993). Wilmington, DE, DE: Scholarly Resources.

[10] Smith, Eugene W. Passenger Ships of the World: Past and Present. George H. Dean, 1978.

[11] Smith, Eugene W. Passenger Ships of the World: Past and Present. George H. Dean, 1978.

[12] “Port of Antwerp, Belgium to Port of New York, United States Sea Route and Distance.” Ports.com, ports.com/sea-route/port-of-      antwerp,belgium/port-of-new-york,united-states/.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Germans to America (Vol. 34). (1993). Wilmington, DE, DE: Scholarly Resources.

[15] “Castle Garden”. Castlegarden.Org, 2021, http://www.castlegarden.org/.

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

[17] Amana, Iowa,  Amana Heritage Museum, Anderson Cards, the Koch Verzeichnis

[18] 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

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Year: 1880; Census Place: Amana, Iowa, Iowa; Roll: 345; Family History Film: 1254345; Page: 146D; Enumeration District: 201; Image: 0155.  1880 United States Federal Census.  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ancestry.com. Iowa, U.S., Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data:  “Iowa Births and Christenings, 1830–1950.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

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

[25] Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, Illinois,Vol XXXII no. 291, 13 June 1910, Pg 4.

[26] Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1871-1998,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRN-D8VZ : 16 March 2018), Emma L Mataway, 18 Aug 1956; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .

[27] “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6DL-3XZ : 12 December 2014), Fred Reinhardt, 1917-1918; citing La Salle County no 1, Illinois, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,614,034.

[28] Illinois Births and Christenings, 1824-1940,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2LZ-4LN : 12 December 2014), Anna Reinhardt, 28 Apr 1889; Birth, citing Ottawa, La Salle, Illinois; FHL microfilm 1,710,998.

[29] 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.

[30] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSallle, Illinois cemetery records, Cemetery card CCY-TS, Burial Location BU, 47C (N ½) Record # 5856.

[31] Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSallle, Illinois cemetery records, Cemetery card CCY-TS, Burial Location BU, 47C (N ½) Record # 5856.

Water, Water Everywhere

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Bathing Beauties 1921

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge this week is “water”.  I thought about this for awhile and all of my ancestors came over to the United States on boats so there is nothing new there.  Then I thought about my mother’s family always seemed to live near water or take vacations that involved water.  I decided on more of a pictorial history of my mother’s family and water. 

My maternal grandmother was born in Ottawa, Illinois and lived there for part of her youth. “Ottawa, Illinois is situated at the junction of the Fox and Illinois rivers, nearly the geographical center of LaSalle County.  The Fox enters the Illinois from the northeast and with its rapid currents feeds the Chicago and Illinois Canal, which follows the banks of the Illinois River.” [1]    Both her mother and father were brought up in Ottawa, Illinois.  Her paternal grandparents lived on Chapel Street in Ottawa and across the street from the river. While still a child her mother moved to Chicago and they lived not far from Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park Zoo.  As adult she and my grandfather moved to Villa Park, Illinois and there is no lake or river near by.  But they did take vacations to lakes.  The one place they went most was to Fox Lake, Illinois. 

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Grandma and her best friend at Fox Lake, Illinois 

They also liked Lake Como, Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Dells was another popular place with them.  In fact my grandparents went to the Wisconsin Dells for their honeymoon.  

Helen at Lake Como

Grandma at Lake Como, Wisconsin

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Grandparents, Mom and ? at Big Smoky Falls, Wolf River, Wisconsin 1929

Starved Rock was another favorite destination. Starved Rock was close to Ottawa, Illinois and on the bank of the Illinois River.  This was the family’s favorite picnic spot.  They still picnicked there when I was growing up.  If we didn’t picnic at Starved Rock we picnicked at Buffalo Rock across the river from Starved Rock.  My grandmother would say that there were at least 2 or 3 drownings a year in the Illinois River because of the undertow. 

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Great Grandparents at the top of Starved Rock

My grandfather liked to fish and some of their excursions involved fishing.

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Grandpa, dog Rudy and friend with 3 Pikes and a Bass at Sand Lake 1929

Copyright © 2020 Gail Grunst


  1. Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of Ottawa Illinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 39.


Christmas 1927

Everyday until Christmas, I am going to try to post a picture from a past family Christmas. 

Mom on Horse with Santa 1927.jpg

Mom and Santa 1927

This is my Mom again with Santa in 1927. I don’t think I ever saw a Santa outfit quite like this one. Love the outfit my mother has on.  It looks like it would be warm.  My grandmother wrote “Howe Street” on the back.  So I am assuming that this was taken on Howe Street in Chicago.  No date on picture other than 1927, but I assume it is near Christmas and there is snow on the ground.  I wonder did Santa walk up and down the streets of Chicago to have his picture taken with children.  We are use to seeing Santa in department stores.  The picture appears to be a professional one, not just a snapshot.  

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

The Hawaii Years 1954 – 1955

Russell in Hawaii in 1954

This is a picture of my Uncle Russ when he was stationed in Hawaii at Hickam Field from February 1954 to October 1955.  He loved photography and was pretty good at it.  Most of his pictures from Hawaii were on slides.  I thought they were beautiful.  Unfortunately I do not have them.  In the 1980’s he was living in Arizona and and moved back to Illinois.  He left the slides with some friends who were suppose to send them, but never did.  So I am afraid they are lost forever now.  I remember he sent me a doll and a grass skirt from Hawaii.  In the picture he has the camera around his neck.  I love his crew cut and he wore his hair that way for many, many years after he was discharged from the Navy.

My son loves photography too and inherited some of his camera’s and lenses.  Below are a couple of more pictures from the Hawaii years.  In the one picture he has his camera in his hand.  Uncle Russ married three times and divorced three times.  He never had any children.  After the last marriage and divorce he said he was done and never married again.  He lived alone and became somewhat of a hermit in his old age.  Uncle Russ passed away on October 4, 2011 at the the age of 80 years, three months, and six days.  We all love and miss him.  RIP Uncle Russ!

The Navy Years

Uncle Russ in Navy 001

My Uncle Russ was 16 years old when I was born and oh how I loved and adored him!   When I was 5 years old he joined the Navy and the thought of him being gone for four years seemed like an eternity to me.  He was our mailman and I saw him everyday.  I would follow him down the street as he delivered mail to each house.  Before he left, he bought me a parakeet, and he sent me gifts from wherever he was stationed.  Of course, I saw him now and then when he had leave, but it was quite a change from seeing him everyday.  Here are a couple of pictures of my Uncle and me during those years.

Uncle Russ and me 1952
Uncle Russ and me 1952 at Great Lakes Naval Base
Uncle Russ and me 1952

Uncle Russ and me 1952 in front of Grandma and Grandpa’s house

Notice my sailor suit and I am wearing Uncle Russ’ hat.


Uncle Russ and me on September 7, 1953

This was taken in my grandparent’s backyard and that is my mother in the background.


Uncle Russ, me, and Grandpa 1953

This was in front of my grandparents house and that is my grandfather in the doorway. The dress I had on was homemade by my Aunt Frances. The shoes I had on were loafers. I remember how much I wanted loafers, but I had narrow feet and it was hard to find a pair that did not fall off my feet. My mother must have taken me to every shoe store in town and surrounding towns until we found a pair that didn’t fall off my feet.

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst

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.


First Son: Albert


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The 316th Field Artillery 81st division boarding a train at Knotty Ash Depot to Southhampton, Liverpool, England August 14 1918.  From: httpdigital.ncdcr.govcdmrefcollectionp15012coll10id1564

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  week 1 of 2019 the topic is “first”.  

Albert Grunst, Jr. was the first son born to Albert Grunst and Anna Schmerling.[1]  Albert was born on 5 August, 1892 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.[2]  Albert joined his older sister Alma at home and by 1900 two more siblings, Lillian and Walter, were added to the family.[3]  In 1901 the last sibling, Elmer, was born.[4]

Sometime between 1900 and 1910 the family moved from Chicago, Illinois to the suburb of Cicero, Illinois.[5]  In 1910 Albert’s occupation is a key fitter for a piano company.[6]   Twenty-two year old Albert married twenty-two year old Adeline Olsen on 12 February 1913.[7]  The age on Albert’s marriage certificate seems to be different from his birth certificate.  It lists his birth year as 1891 yet his birth certificate says 1892. I believe his birth certificate to be right.  Albert’s WWI draft card lists that he married and his address is 21 E. Van Buren St., Chicago, Illinois, however that address is crossed out and 3046 S. 48th Court, Cicero, Illinois is written in as his address.[8]   He is working as painter for a Harry Bloom in Chicago.[9]  Albert’s physical characteristics are listed as medium height, slender build, grey-blue eyes, and dark brown hair, and he is not bald.[10]  

On 5 August 1918 Albert left the Port of New York on the ship Aquitania with his fellow troops of Battery E 316th field Artillery 81st Division.[11]  “The 81st Infantry Division “Wildcats” was organized as a National Division of the United States Army in August 1917 during World War I at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. The division was originally organized with a small cadre of Regular Army officers, while the soldiers were predominantly Selective Service men drawn from the southeastern United States. After organizing and finishing training, the 81st Division deployed to Europe, arriving on the Western Front in August 1918. Elements of the 81st Division first saw limited action by defending the St. Dié sector in September and early October. After relief of mission, the 81st Division was attached to the American First Army in preparation for the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In the last days of World War I, the 81st Division attacked a portion of the German Army‘s defensive line on 9 November 1918, and remained engaged in combat operations until the Armistice with Germany at 1100 hours on 11 November 1918. After the cessation of hostilities, the 81st Division remained in France until May 1919; after which the division was shipped back to the United States and inactivated on 11 June 1919.”[12]  By the account of this article, it looks like Albert may have seen some action.  Albert departed Brest, France on 28 May 1919 aboard the Minnesota, and arrived back in the United States on 9 June 1919.[13] 

In 1920 Albert is living with his parents, brothers and sister in Cicero, Illinois, and his marital status is listed as single.[14]  He is working as a house painter in 1920.[15]  I can’t seem to find out what happened to Adeline.  In 1942 Albert is living in Chicago, Illinois and works for Wiebolts Dry Goods Co. at Milwaukee and Paulina in Chicago.[16]  Albert passed away on 26 April 1952 at 59 years, 8 months, and 21 days.[17]  He is buried in Bethania Cemetery with his mother, father, and brother.[18]  I can find no evidence that Albert remarried or had any children.

Copyright © 2019 Gail Grunst


[1] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, 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.  “Illinois. Cook County Birth Registers, 1871–1915.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. Illinois. Cook County Birth Registers, 1871–1915. Illinois Department of Public Health. Division of Vital Records, Springfield.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 10, Cook, Illinois; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0288; 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.
[4] Year: 1910; Census Place: Cicero, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_238; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 1539; FHL microfilm: 1374251
Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 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.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data:  “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health records. “Marriage Records, 1871–present.” Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
[8] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1452380; Draft Board: 01.  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.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 377.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
[12] From Wikipedia Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/81st_Infantry_Division_(United_States)
[13] The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 204.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
[14] Year: 1920; Census Place: Cicero, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T625_359; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 54.  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).
[15] Ibid.
[16] The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2097.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.  Original data:  United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration.
[17] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.  Original data: Cook County Clerk. Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records. Cook County Clerk’s Office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008.
[18] Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

Nice Uncle Ralph

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  topic this week is “Nice”.  The first person that came to mind was my grandmother’s brother Ralph.  Uncle Ralph died when I was 16 years old so I got to know him.  I loved him and thought he was the nicest person I had ever known.  I still think that.  I wrote about him a couple of years ago and decided to repost it.  Here is his story.


Uncle Ralph

Ralph C. Bowers was born 18 June 1897 to Eva Reinhardt and Robert Bowers in Chicago, Illinois[1].  He was my grandmother’s brother and my great uncle.  I remember Uncle Ralph as kind and reserved with a great sense of humor.  I can still hear his laugh even after all these years without him.

I was told by grandma that when he was young he contacted TB and was in a sanitarium for a while.  He had a hard time keeping jobs until he got a job at R. R. Donnelly in Chicago working the night shift.  The night shift was what he needed.  Apparently, he was not a morning person and the night shift worked for him.  For as long as I knew Uncle Ralph he worked at Donnelly.

Uncle Ralph married for the first time to Helen Treppa when he was forty six years old.[2]  He and his wife (Aunt Helen) would come to my Grandmother’s house for holidays and some Sundays in between the holidays.  Sometimes they would come to my parent’s house too.  I always liked going to their house in Chicago.  Sometimes we would just decide at the last moment to go visit Uncle Ralph and Aunt Helen.  We would go there unexpected and always got a warm welcome.  Aunt Helen would put out a spread of lunch meats and breads.  It always amazed me that she had all this food on hand.  It never failed they had plenty of food for unexpected company.

We would sit around the kitchen table and there was always great conversation.  Even though I was young, I loved to listen to the adults talk.  I always found it interesting.  Of course I always enjoyed the food too.  Their house was very warm and welcoming.  Aunt Helen’s sister, Martha (Marty) lived with them.  I loved Aunt Helen and Marty as well as Uncle Ralph.  Because Ralph and Helen married so late in life, they never had any children.

My mother loved her Uncle Ralph very much and after he passed away, she would say that he was her guardian angel looking after her.

Uncle Ralph passed away on 5 January 1964 from a stroke[3] and was buried on 7 January 1964 in the Elmwood Cemetery in River Grove, Cook County, Illinois[4]

If he knew I was writing about him, I can hear him say, “Oh, for the love of Mike.”

Copyright©2016 Gail Grunst


[1] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County:  Cook; Roll 1613573; Draft board: 53

Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. {database on-line}.  Provo, UT, USA; Ancestry.com  Operation  Inc, 2005.  Original Data:  United States, Selective Service System World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cares, 1917-1918.  Washington,  D. C. :  National Archives and Record  Administration.  M1509, 4,582 rolls.  Imaged from Family  History  Library Microfilm.

[2] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 [database on-line].  Provo, Ut, USA: Ancestry.ocm  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.

[3] From  his sister Helen Bowers Kaiser’s datebook.

[4] Ancestry.com U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600’s – Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012.  Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave.  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.