Sunday, October 9, 2011

Surnames for a Sunday Afternoon

Haven't posted anything for a good long while, so I think it's time to start again...

The following surnames are the ones I'm hunting down:

Schittkowski (and many variations) from Prussia to Cleveland, Ohio

Schell which is what Schittkowski was changed to in 1918.

Reckmann from Poland to Ohio

Sonnenberg from Ukrain to Ohio

Lacquement (and many variations) from France to Illinois

Shamray found in Michigan and Ohio

Krueger from Germany to Wisconsin to Ohio

Newsome from North Carolina to Kentucky to Ohio

Reschke from Prussia to Cleveland, Ohio

The locations are just generalizations. I do have some more information, but if you think we may possibly be related, HELP!!!

More info can be found on these names at:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Herman and Caroline Sonnenberg

These are my grandparents. They were the brave souls that came from Europe to start a new life here in America. I think the child in Grandpa's arms is my uncle.

Grandpa came over first, possibly from Ukraine, around 1911. We are still trying to figure out all that mess. (Seems he sneaked over under someone else's name... ) Grandma came over from Poland (or was is Prussia?) about 1920 or so. Yes, it's all very confusing. When they came over, boundaries were changing on a regular basis, and alliances were also changing.

They settled in Ohio, found each other, and married. No, they did not know each other in Europe. And I really don't know how they met. But that may be a story for another time... I guess I need to talk to Daddy...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finding Carl Krueger

Krueger... such a simple, elusive, and confusing surname. I have followed my great grandfather in the Cleveland area with much ease. However, I have found that he did not come here directly, as my mother's maternal grandparents did. Carl is my mother's paternal grandfather and the proverbial thorn in my side.

Arriving in America in 1882, he apparently went to Wisconsin. I have some documentation showing one of my grandfather's sisters having been born there. However, I have no idea just where in Wisconsin.

Once upon a time, I got really lucky, or so I thought, when the Wisconsin Historical Society put their birth records online. I found a birth record for Emma Krueger, one of my grandfather's older sisters. It showed Karl Krueger as the father. Ok, spelling changed so many times, I wasn't concerned about the spelling. I've gotten used to checking different spellings. The date was just off by a week or two, and even that was acceptable.

So, being the wonderfully lucky person I felt I was, I sent off my $15.00 to the historical society for this wonderful find. It would show me where they were in Wisconsin, and give me more information... Or so I thought...

Weeks went by, and finally, the birth record arrived!! I was all a-flutter with excitement! My first new find in years! Oh Joy, oh Rapture! The wonder of all wonders, that elusive piece of information that was going to solve the mystery for me! I could hardly breathe!

I tore open the envelope, eager to see the document. I started reading the record... Father: Karl Krueger; the name of the child was Emma Krueger; the mother (which would make it official) was BLANK!!!! Accckkk!!! How could this be??? Where the mother's name should be was a blank line! Well, not actually "blank", there was a line drawn through the space where the mother's name should have been!

How could this be?!?! How could the Wisconsin Historical Society do this do me? How could they send this knowing that I needed this information so desperately?

We know the Society didn't do this to me... But it's easier to blame them than to blame the person that failed to fill out the record back in 1885. I still have no clue as to where in Wisconsin my great-grandfather decided to go first before moving to the Cleveland area. Or even why he came to Cleveland to begin with. My Kruegers have been a bit of a total mystery to me, as none of them had much to do with my mother in later years.

My grandfather was Louis Elmer Krueger. I'm still hunting them, and eventually, I think I will find them... but it's just a matter of time...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Angel

When I was a little girl, I would spend a week with my maternal grandmother in the early summer. (Didn't understand about work vacations back then. Had to do it when Gram was on vacation, too!)

The best part of those times were cutting peonies from the back yard (she had a zillion of them it seamed!) and taking them to the cemetery, for her to put them on her parents graves. We would get a 1lb. coffee can out (back then they were actually metal!) and wrapping it up with "tin" foil to make it look nice. Then we would walk to the corner (almost a mile, I guess) and catch the bus. The bus would stop right in front of Lutheran Cemetery and we would make the walk to the back of the cemetery where her parents were.

On our way, we would pass "my angel". She is a beautifully larger-than-life angel, standing in front of a cross, with her hands outstretched. I fell in love with her then, all those years ago. And I still love her.

Only now, as I look at her, I realize she really isn't an angel. And it's amazing that after all these years, I never really noticed that before. You see, she has no wings...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finding Freddie...

Way back when I started playing this silly game called "genealogy", I found my great-grandfather's Naturalization papers at the archives of Cuyahoga County. To my confusion, it said that he came to America for the first time, in 1886 or somewhere there-abouts...

After searching and searching and searching, I finally came upon him and my great-grandmother and two children, all arriving in 1889. Well, gee, Germans to America can't be wrong, so he must have lied on his papers. But folks from the "old country" never lied. I was confused.

Mind you, this was about fifteen years ago. I had given up trying to find any other record of his arrival... That was until last weekend.

I was home, "under the weather" and bored to tears. I hadn't worked on any of my genealogy stuff for the last year and a half. I had no desire, after a terrible event in my life. Genealogy was the last thing I was interested in.

Wellllllllllllllll.... There was absolutely nothing on TV. I was having some problems with my hands, and decided to sit with my laptop and play around on Ancestry.

I had searched before, but after playing around, I tried using the wildcard in the middle of the name this time. Not that I really think that's what did it, but I found him! I found him from Hamburg to Liverpool. Now to find him from Liverpool to America, that's another thing... but I have proof that he at least went that far.

Next step is from Liverpool to the States... Hope that doesn't take another 15 years!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Madness Monday... "There was a murder in the family..."

My mother, bless her silly soul, once told me that. I said "really?!?!" with great anticipation of some juicy scandql. Well, I was sadly disappointed.

"Where?" asked I, hoping I could get all the gorey details. "Near Scranton and Castle avenues (in Cleveland, Ohio). Ok, I know exactly where that is!! Great! Next question...

"When?" asked I, expecting more information. "Before I was born" was all she could tell me. Well, Mom was born in 1930. Next question...

"Who was it??" asked I, sure Mom had the answer that would narrow down the year of the murder.

"I don't know. Some girl in the family." Hmmmm... female murder... should be either a Krueger or a Schell, or a Schittkowski... or so I thought...

What my mother basically told me was "there was a murder in the family, before I was born, at the corner of Scranton and Castle Avenues." Nothing else...

So I put my thinking cap on...

Ok.. great-grandparents on both sides of Mom's family arrived in Ohio after 1880. So that gave me a span of 50 years to look through. I found an index to the coroner's files up to 1900 or so for Cuyahoga County. Nothing there for anyone I had knowledge of in either family.

I searched death notices, and all kinds of other goodies... What did I find?? Nothing, Nothing and more nothing... So I put that unsolved issue on a back burner. I decided to start putting the limited information I did have online in the form of my own personal webpages.

After a few years, I'm not really sure how long it actually took, but I got an email from a gal in Canada. She was the step-cousin to one of my maternal grandfather's brother's in-laws.

She told me she had done extensive research on the Raddatz family and that part of that family had been in Cleveland and stayed there, while the rest of the family went to Canada.

Guess what... She had the name of the murder victim!!! I hit the jackpot!! Of course, all the info that mom had passed down was incorrect, as family stories without any actual knowledge go. But! Now I had her name, where she was killed, the date of the murder, and all the other base information that helped me find *all* the information...

I got the death certificate for Florence Raddatz. On it, it stated there was an autopsy preformed. I proceeded to obtain a copy of the coroner's report (which was not listed on the index as it happened in 1921). It was all very interesting. She turned out to be the half-sister to my grandfather's sister-in-law. All very complicated, and very anti-climatic.

I have re-created a copy of the newspaper article I found here: The Murder of Florence Raddatz.

I did get a ton of information on that collateral line, including another death that I have my own "suspicious mind" on, but that's for another time...

What's the point of this story?? Well, I guess it's just that if you get your information out on the internet someplace, it will be seen. It may very well get you some information that you didn't have. May not be the breakthrough you have been hoping for, but it could be something like the answer to a simple statement like the one above.

I was lucky enough to get this information before my mother's passing, so she finally knew the actual information.

By the way, that murder was never solved...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Me, My Mom, & I ; Part Three

Ok... I'm back to Mom and myself again. Seems she's been a bigger influence than I thought!

As I sit here, bouncing back and forth between two computers, digitizing her albums, I realize she's also responsible for most of my musical tastes. Notice, I say "most". She can't be blamed for the heavy metal stuff or hard rock. That blame goes entirely to my sons!

My mother was working in a record shop when she and my father met. So music was there all along. She loved music. So did Dad, but not the same stuff. Since he was "first generation" born here in his family, he liked the old world German stuff. Polkas and the good old "beer drinking" German music. And of course, just to keep things interesting, he also liked Hank Williams (Sr, of course), and other "hillbilly" music artists.

In listening to "Rhapsody In Blue" played by Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops Orchestra, I miss her more than ever. You see, she won this set of 10 albums (she always was so lucky, it made me sick!) and because their record player died, and they never got another because of the new technology of cd's, she never heard them. So, now I'm making them into cds for Dad. And I'm sure she's listening to them, here with me right now.

I know she was listening when I digitized one album my father got for her. It was titled "How to Belly Dance for Your Husband". No, it's not a typo. Really, that's the title. It came with a little booklet and all. But that's a story for another time...

Going back to the music thing... She liked swing, jazz, Bobby Darin, Robert Goulet and Jack Jones, not to mention Ragtime! I could mention songs, and a lot of folks my own age wouldn't know what they were! All because of my mother. And, then there were Dad's favorites... Not everyone out there can sing "Mack the Knife" in German, can they? I can!

So as my boys were growing up, the poor kids were subjected to not only the Beatles, Tomy James & the Shondells, The Knack, and countless others, they also had to tollerate my mother's influence with things like "Rhapsody in Blue", and the like. And they really ran, when I pulled out Caterina Valente's German songs!!

To add insult to injury, I was left an Edison record player. Not too many folks know what those are, either. It was probably made about 1911 or so. My grandmother's brother bought it. (Another story for another time...) But he had opera, and if I remember correctly, there even may be some Caruso platters in the mix. (Those puppies are almost a quarter inch thick and weigh a lot for a record!) But I used to play some of those, too. My poor boys...

What this all boils down to, is when you really, and I mean really start thinking about things like music, it's amazing how much influence your parents have on you.

I'm not complaining... As a matter of fact, I'm proud of my music collection. I have cds sitting next to each other that if the artists knew, they'd have fits!! Can you imagine polka recordings next to hard rock recordings?? Well, they are in my house!