Sunday, August 12, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 32 "Youngest"

This week’s prompt is “youngest” and once again I will turn to the Burbach family as the source of my family’s youngest immigrant.

Logo of current Burbach's Meat Market from their facebook page.
My great-uncle Johan Burbach was two years old when he migrated with his parents and older brother Hermann to the United States. They left Villmar, a small village in the Duchy of Nassau and province of Hesse in 1856[i] and began their journey to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They didn’t choose Milwaukee arbitrarily since Catharina Caspari Burbach (mother of Johan and Hermann) already had an aunt and uncle who were farming in the area. Both of Johan’s parents had already lost their parents, so they were ready to brave the voyage to provide a better life for their children.

The little family settled on Walnut Street in Milwaukee, where they became involved in the local German community. Both the boys had been baptized in the Catholic faith in Villmar at Saints Peter and Paul Church[ii] and so they continued their faith education at St Joseph Church in Milwaukee. They attended the German schools, which were very available in Milwaukee at the time, while their father worked to provide food and housing. Since they came from an area of Germany where farming and raising cattle were common occupations, Georg pursued the cattle industry, becoming first a cattle drover before advancing to cattle broker. His sons, Hermann and Johan watched and learned from their father.

On 17 Sep 1875, John Burback married Steffonia Grumber in Brooklyn, New York.[iii] By 1880, John and Stefanie were the parents of daughters Catherine and Eva living with John’s parents on Walnut Street while John and his brother Hermann ran the Burbach Brothers Butcher shop which they had opened about 1876.

According to the 1900 census, John and Stefanie were living at 2327 Lisbon Street in Milwaukee with their six surviving children. John’s brother Hermann had died, and John was the sole proprietor of the butcher shop.

John died on 31 May 1929 at his home at 519 4th Ave in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. “John Burbach was one of the oldest and best-known butchers of the city and one of the founders of the Milwaukee Mens Market Association. Until a few years ago when he retired, the deceased had a butcher shop at 2327 Lisbon Ave. for many years and previously, for 17 years at the corner of 16th and Walnut. On the whole he was in [iv]the business for 46 years.”

John’s funeral was on Monday 3 June 1929 from J H Becker and Sons funeral parlor to St Michael’s Church, where he was a member.[v] He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee next to his beloved wife Stephanie who died in 1922.

[i] "Passenger and Immigration Lists (PILI)," database on line, Gale Research Company, ( : online 2004), Immigration of Georg Burbach and family; Edited by William Filby, with Mary K Meyer.
[ii] Villmar Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Villmar), Kirchenbuch 1632 - 1884, 16 Apr 1854, Birth and Baptism of Johan Burbach; FHL microfilm 1272247.
[iii]  Marriage, (17 September 1875), "New York, New York City Marriage Records 1829-1940: FHL film 1543916; New York City Municipal Archives, New York, New York.
[iv] Milwaukee Herold, 01 June 1929, pg 2 col 7
[v] ibid

Sunday, August 5, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 31 "Oldest"

The prompt for this week is “oldest”, so I am writing about the oldest documented ancestor I have my fifth great-grandfather Johann Jacob Burbach.

Johan Jacob Burbach was born about 1732 in Oberselters, Hesse-Nassau, Germany. Oberselters is now a suburb of Camberg, a metropolis about 40 kilometers northwest of Frankfurt, Germany. Currently Oberselters is known for its mineral waters, although in the 18th and 19th centuries it was primarily a farming and mining community.[i] As part of Germany’s “Golden Triangle”,  it is valued for the fertile land and favorable weather for crops.

St Anthony Catholic Church in Oberselters is where the births, marriages, and deaths of Johann Jacob Burbach and his descendants would be recorded for the next century and a half.

On 23 November 1756, Johann married Helena Müller, the daughter of Johann Müller and Anna Bauer in Kamberg, Hesse-Nassau.[ii] They would make their home in Oberselters until 1782 when Johann died, Helena having preceded him in 1775.

Johann and Helena had six children Anna Maria, born 5Feb, 1758;[iii]Maria Elisabetha born 7 Dec 1759[iv]; Wilhelm, my fourth great-grandfather, born 29 Oct 1764, married first Catherine Gross (1763-1800) they had eleven children. He married second Helena Michels (1770-1817) they had five additional children before died 30 May 1819[v]; Maria Elisabetha born 11 Aug 1767, married Phillip Görz13 May 1783 in Kamberg, Hesse-Nassau[vi]; Johann Burbach, born 13 Sep 1770[vii]; Anton Burbach born 2 Dec 1773, died 25 Aug 1795 in Oberselters.[viii]

Given the location of the family, I believe the family was engaged in agriculture of some kind. Occupational records of the time were scarce but I will go back and review the church Baptismal records since I recently learned that the father’s occupation was noted there.

The Burbach saga has just begun!

[i] Wikipedia
[ii] Katholische Kirche, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Kamberg, Hesse-Nassau), Kirchenbuch, 1598-1900, , marriage of Johann J Burbach and Helena Müller; FHL microfilm 1200886.
[iii] Kirchenbuchduplikat 1818 - 1874, Dupilcate Church Book 1818-1874: 8 May 1819, St Anthony Catholic Church, Oberselters, Hessen-Nassau, Germany.
[iv] ibid
[v] ibid
[vi] ibid
[vii] ibid
[viii] ibid

Sunday, July 22, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 29 Music

Adolf Hansen and family 1894

“Adolf Hansen<ß--- HAN DRYSSET MEOLDIER UT AV ERMEY …>>[i]
This is the title of the book written about my great-grandfather Adolf Hansen a Norwegian Military musician and composer. The Norwegian phrase in the title translates to “he sprinkles melodies out of the sleeve.”  An apt phrase to describe a prolific composer.

Adolf was born on 4 October 1852 , the son of Martin Hansen and Sofie Johannesdatter. His original christening record shows his name as Johannes Adolf Waldemar Hansen.[ii]

Little is known of Adolf’s life before the 1865 census of Oslo, Norway, where Adolf appears with his mother Sofie living at 2 Grondelandsleret with 47 other people.[iii]
By 1875 Adolf’s profession in the census is listed as musician, since he had joined the 2nd Brigades Musikkorps at age 15 and played clarinet  under the direction of Paolo Sperati. In 1868, 16 year old Adolf went to his director and showed his two musical pieces he had composed, one a march and one a galopp He was allowed to sit in the orchestra and play his compositions!

Adolf kept playing in the various bands and orchestras in Oslo, including the Christiania Norske Theater and the Tivoli. In 1880, Adolf was married with four children when he was sent to Paris for further study on the clarinet.

Adolf continued to direct the bands of the Norwegian Army while adding to his list of compositions until his death 24 Jan 1911 in Bergen, Norway. His composition of most note is the “Honor Marsj” .

Adolf had a total of ten children, five with each of his two wives, I don’t know if any of them inherited his musical talent, but I do remember his granddaughter Dorothy had a grand piano in her living room and I have been told that another granddaughter, Dorette Campbell was an opera singer. Both of my children were in the high school band and my daughter was a music major. She married a music major who continued the tradition by serving in the US Army Band for 26 years.  All three of their children have also been talented musicians in High School. It has often made me wonder if a talent skipped several generations. I guess we’ll never know until a music gene is discovered.

[i] Egil A. Gundersen, author, Adolf Hansen << - HAN DRYSSET MELODIER UT AV ERMET...>>, first edition (Skien, Norway: self-published by author, 2002), .
[ii] Church of Norway (Aker, Oslo, Norway), Ministrial Book #19 birthssz 1842-1852, page 395, Birth and christening of Johannes Adolf Waldemer Hansen; digital image, digitalarkiv of Norway ( : online 31 Nov 2017).
[iii] 1865 census for Oslo,

Sunday, July 15, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 27 Travel

For the Adolf Hansen family of Bergen, Norway, things began to unravel in the late 1880’s. Dorette Hansen died 4 July 1887[i]after giving birth to a daughter Aagot Dorette in June of 1887. In February of 1889 their father Adolf married Nathalie Bull Egbert and began another family. That Nathalie was only five years older than Adolf and Dorette’s oldest child undoubtedly contributed to the friction in the family.

Several of Dorette’s siblings had immigrated to the United States already and had settled in Chicago, Illinois. Hearing of the family friction they encouraged the motherless children to come to Chicago to establish their lives. On 21 May 1894 three of five of Adolf and Dorette’s surviving children: Adolph Halfdan Hansen, then twelve years old, along with his sister Dagny Amanda (16) and brother ArturDaniel (15)  walked to the police station in Bergen, Norway and registered their intention to emigrate to the United States. Adolph traveled as Halfdan Hansen.[ii] 

On 21 May 1894 they boarded the Norge to sail to New York via Copenhagen.
SS Norge photo credit:wikipedia

The Norge was built in 1881 by Alexander Stephen and Sons of Linthouse, Glasgow, for the Belgian company Theodore C. Engels & Co of Antwerp; her original name was Pieter de Coninck. The ship was 3,359 GRT and 3,700 tonnes deadweight (DWT), and the 1,400-horsepower (1.0 MW) engine gave a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). She could carry a maximum of 800 passengers.[iii]

On June 8, 1894 the Norge docked in New York, New York at Ellis Island.[iv] The manifest of the Norge shows that the three children sailed alone and brought with them a total of $6.00. ($209.78 in 2018 ) Not a large sum to get them from New York to Chicago.

They did travel safely to Chicago where the 1900 census shows Artur and Adolph living with their aunt Olga Pederson and her family where Adolph was a packer.[v] Sister Dagny was working as a domestic and living with the family she worked for.

In 1901 their brother Sigurd would immigrate to New York leaving only their brother Thorolf in Norway along with their five half siblings from their father’s second marriage. 

This wasn't the end of the Hansen immigration from Norway. Lili Augusta, the daughter on Adolf and Nathalie would settle in New York and Thorolf's daughter Lili Riis Hansen would immigrate in the late 1930s shortly before WWII.

[i] Norwegian Lutheran (Oslo fylke), Ministrial Book #12 Dode og begravede, page 300, death and burial record of Dorette Christiansen;, Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
[ii] "," Norwegian Digital Arkiv,  ( : accessed 6 June 2002), transcription, "Emigrants from Bergen 1874-1930," .
[iii] wikipedia
[iv] Arrival of Adolph Halfdan Hansen; Norge passenger manifest, 8 June 1894, ; in Ellis Island Records; (Washington, D.C.: National Archives), .
[v] 1900 U S Census, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Ward 28, enumeration district (ED) ED 844 precinct 4 West Town Chicago city, 11B, 204, Adolph Hansen; digital image, ( : accessed 6 February 2013); United Stated Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Sunday, July 8, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Independence the Story of a Patriot

There is a “Patriot” in my husband’s family tree! Men who served in the Revolutionary are referred to as Patriots.

John Ferguson was the second child born to William Ferguson and Elizabeth LeMaster in 1754. They lived in Poquoson, York, Virginia. About 1769, John and his parents settled at Hick’s Ford in Meherrin Parish.

John married Hannah Barrow about 1774-1775 in Brunswick, Virginia and in 1776, John bought 166 acres from Hannah’s father, William Barrow.

Battle of Monmouth, 28 June 1778
photo credit

John joined the Continental Army and in 1778 and 1779 served under Captain Harry Dudley in the 2nd Virginia State Regiment.[i] He was in the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778 under Major General George Washington. 

Perhaps it was this event that prompted John and Hannah to sell their land on 22 October 1779 and move to Kerby’s Creek in Guilford County, North Carolina. They eventually received a Patent of 166 acres from the State of North Carolina.[ii] John and Hanna’s plantation was next to that of her brother Moses Barrow. About that time Hannah’s parents and siblings all moved to Guilford County, North Carolina. By now John and Hannah were the parents of three daughters, Mary, Martha, and Rebecca as well as a son, William.

By 1795, John and Hannah were the parents of 12 children as mentioned by Hannah’s brother David Barrow in his diary. “(Aug) 19th. Wednesday. Agreeable weather. My brother-in-law came home in the afternoon. They are blessed with twelve children: Mary, Martha, Rebecca, William, David, Nathan, John, Elisabeth, Joseph, Benjamin, Hannah, and Moses. After an exhortation and prayer to and for them all, we went to my father’s in the evening.”[iii]

Possibly David Barrow’s reports of the lands across the Ohio River motivated John to move his family to the Ohio Territory and the area that would eventually become the State of Indiana.

After the family moved to Indiana, Hannah was never mentioned, and she is reported to have probably died in North Carolina about 1811 or possibly in Kentucky on the way to Indiana. There is no record of her death or burial.

John and some of his family members settled in Boone County, Indiana where in 1828 he married Bethena Deacons and had two more children Jonathan J born in 1829 and Bethany born in 1831.

John Ferguson died in Boone County on 14 Feb 1842 and is buried in Cox Cemetery.
His son Benjamin, my husband’s 4th great-grandfather moved to Jasper County, Illinois before 1850, where the family farming tradition continued for several more generations.

[i] "United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 March 2018), John Ferguson, Oct 1778; citing Oct 1778, Virginia, United States, citing NARA microfilm publication M246. Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Services, 1980. FHL microfilm 830,375.
[ii] Rockingham County Deed Book C, 1790; pg 189, at Wentworth, NC
[iii] Reverend David Barrow’s Diary, May to September 1795

Sunday, July 1, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 26 Betty the Later Years

The theme for this week is "Black Sheep" but I haven't found any yet so I am posting the last of three posts about the life of my mother Betty Connery Hansen.

photo credit Elmhurst Press, publ 8 June 1965
l-r Peggy, Alice, Mike, Donald, Betty, Paul, and Mary

January 1, 1960, the beginning of a new year and a new stage in the life of Betty Connery Hansen. The funeral with its attendant decisions was over, but the grief and shock had not yet lessened. Betty was now a widow with nine dependent children to care for. The youngest two were not even in school yet. However would she manage to provide for her family?

It was a time of “stay at home” moms and Betty hadn’t worked outside her home in over twenty years. She didn’t even drive! As Betty reviewed her options, she found much to be grateful for. About two years earlier she and Donald had looked at buying a larger house in a more residential area of Elmhurst. It was a serious consideration that they eventually decided against. Now Betty was very glad for that decision since their current house was ideally located for her children to attend their activities without the need to be driven. Another decision that they had made was to cash in the small life insurance policies they had purchased for the older children and use the proceeds to increase Donald’s insurance. What a wise choice that proved to be.

Family came to the rescue both emotionally and financially. Fortunately, the Connerys believed in helping when it was needed and not waiting until a will was read. Betty’s sister Kathleen whisked daughters Mary and Peggy (then in second and first grade respectively) off to Florida with her for the rest of the school year. While in Florida, the girls attended Rosarian Academy, a boarding school in West Palm Beach. Donna returned to Mount St Mary Academy for her final semester of high school. Tom, Paul, Suzy and Mike returned to school in Elmhurst and Betty was left to figure out the rest of her life.

Dealing with financial matters after Donald’s death, Betty was informed that Social Security would give her the maximum allowance for her family but that was the same amount that she would receive if she only had three children. In other words, every time one of the children turned 18, she needed to report it to Social Security but her monthly amount would not change until Peggy (#7) turned 18.

 Adding to Betty’s pain that year, her mother-in-law Henrietta (Bockie) died in April, just four months after her son. Bockie had often come to stay and help with the children and some of the cooking. 

As Betty started making plans for her future, she looked at her strengths and decided that being a mother to so many children would help her to be a good teacher. Since she had attended Mundelein College for a year, she could complete the education requirements for a teacher’s degree in less time. As a teacher, she would not need childcare because her school days would match up with those of her children. And so, it was decided.

In the fall of 1960 Betty enrolled in Elmhurst College and began her degree work. Evening classes were her route since Alice had just started Kindergarten and Donald was not yet in school. She also took home study classes through Loyola University in Chicago. This would lengthen the time that it took to get her degree, but it would not affect her determination to complete her plan.

In June of 1965, Betty graduated from Elmhurst College, having already secured a teaching position at Stella May Schwartz School where she had done her student teaching.

Betty loved teaching and truly enjoyed both her students and fellow teachers. She stayed at Stella May Schwartz for several years until her health forced her to move to a warmer climate. Florida was chosen because her sister Kathleen and brothers Tom and Jack had all relocated to Fort Lauderdale in their retirement.

In 1971, Betty and the children still living at home, Peggy, Alice, and Donald moved to Pompano Beach, Florida. The move was a major change for all of them as they left a five bedroom, two story house for a three bedroom condo on the second floor and also adjusted to a new climate.

Betty took a teaching position at a school in Pompano Beach and also taught religious education classes during the school year. Over the next several years Betty’s health continued to decline until she was forced to give up the condo and move to her daughter Peggy’s home.

Betty died on 24 October 1977 at the age of sixty having lived a full life of loving her family, her students and friends and above all God in whom she put her complete trust.
Betty’s legacy includes her nine children, 21 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren with one on the way and still counting. She taught all of us to be kind, loving, to act with honesty and integrity and to respect others. It is up to each of us to honor her memory by passing on her values to the younger generation.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

52 Ancestors - Week 24 Same Name

For this week’s prompt “Same Name”, I am reposting a blog post first published on July 24, 2012. It is the story of two John Burbachs, one my grandmother’s brother, the other her cousin Johnny. There have been some changes and revisions made for this post.

It began with the answer to a question I asked my Grandmother when I was about eight years old.  "Bockie" I had asked "why don't you ever go swimming when we are at the lake?"  She relied that she was afraid of the water since her brother had drowned as a child.  I accepted her statement at face value and moved on.

Years later when I began researching our genealogy and recording census forms, her answer to my question came to mind.  My grandmother was the youngest of six children, two girls and four boys.  Which of the boys had died?  As I was using HeritageQuest online one day I happened on one line from the diary of a Milwaukee policeman.  The line said only "Burbach's boy drowned today".  This I felt totally substantiated my grandmother's statement.  It was true.  Of course, in my excitement, I neglected to cite the source!

I still didn't know which of her brothers had drowned and to complicate matters further there were two related families with children of similar ages.  Brothers John and Herman Burbach operated a butcher shop in Milwaukee in the 1880s and 1890s.  Both men were raising families at the same time.

I used to find the quote "Burbach's boy drowned today" and this time I cited the source and noted the date of the occurrence.[i] 
“5-8-1892 Went to SS with the childre. Then went out walking with Minnie. Called at Rohdes and found no one at home. Went to Foster's and staid a while. When we got back found Christie Roder and her cousin at the house. Burbach's boy drowned this PM.”  

Next I checked the Wisconsin Death Records online at for the family name and year of 1892.  I found the name John Burbach as having died on May 8, 1892.

Using obituary records from Milwaukee German Language newspapers (ordered from and translated by Gary Rebholz) I found obituaries for both a John and a Johnnie,  Burbach cousins, both aged 11. The death dates were 1892 and 1895. Who was who?
Using the 19th century newspapers online, Milwaukee Archdiocese Cemeteries online, and the Milwaukee City Directories online to determine which John/Johnnie lived at which address with which father, I was able to document the story of my grandmother's brother John.  An additional nugget or information disclosed in the 19th Century Newspapers was the fact that John Burbach had made his confirmation at St Joseph's Church on the morning of his death.

On Sunday afternoon the Burbach family, living at 1535 Walnut Street, has been affected by a sad blow.  The 14 year-old John Burbach, and two companions 16 year old Peter Altman and 14 year old Frank Berninger, hired a boat for a fun ride on the Milwaukee River.  When the trio arrived in the vicinity of the Schlitz dam, the boat was caught in the strong currents prevailing there, causing it to sway and tip over, so that the three occupants of the saame fall intothe water.  While Altman and Berninger were clinging to the boat until help arrived, the young Burbach was swallowed by the waves and never again appeared.  The police were notified of the accident, and the patrol wagon rushed to the scene and brought the wet, cold, shivering boys to their homes, respectively. Up to this point, Burbach's body had not been found.[ii] 

John Burbach drowned on May 8, 1892 in the Milwaukee River.  His two friends were rescued but John's body was not recovered for two weeks.  He was finally buried on May 22, 1892 in Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Sadly, the other John ”Johnny” Burbach “died following a long illness on 18  Aug 1895 also at the age of eleven years 5 months, and 5 days.”[iii]

[i] William Bramwell Sizer Diaries May 1892, Milwaukee County Police Department
[ii] Excelsior! Fur den Katholischen Familien Kreis (Catholic Weekly) 12 May 1893, pg 8 col3
[iii] Germania (daily ed.), 19 Aug 1895, pg 5, col 7