Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wolterman Genealogy - Week 4

First, let me mention that the Woltermann families were members of the Lutheran Church in Germany. Their town of Stapelmoorheide was located in Church District V. To date I have been unable to identify which church they worshipped in. Perhaps it was the Cross Church in nearby Stapelmoor, which is one of the oldest churches in Ostfriesland.

Cross Church

Johann (John) Gerhard was the subject of last week’s post. This week I’ll be talking about his father, Gerrit Jans Woltermann. Gerrit was born 21 November 1792 in Stapelmoorheide, Ostfriesland, Germany to Jan Geerds Woltermann and Gepke (Boelen) Woltermann. His brother Jan was born 6 October 1797, and brother Hindertje about 1804 in the same town.

On 29 March 1829, Gerrit married Helena Jans Boze in Hannover. Helena was born in Brual, Emsland, Germany, which is 4 km from Stapelmoorheide but 260 km from Hannover. Why were they married in Hannover? The Cross Church in Stapelmoor would have been much closer since it was just 3.5 km away.

Gerrit and Helena set up their household in Stapelmoorheide, where son Johann (John) Gerhard was born on 24 June 1829. (Maybe they married in Hannover because Helena was 6 months pregnant at the time of their marriage?) Their daughter Antje was born 16 September 1832. Antje married Johann Eugene Williams around 1852, and they had three sons: Wilhelm born in 1853, Heinrich born in 1857, and Johann born in 1862. Unfortunately, Antje died on 23 October 1865 at the age of 33.

Gerrit and Helena made the decision to leave their homeland in 1869. His brother Hindertje had died in 1828, and his brother Jan in 1859, With the passing of their daughter Antje in 1865, perhaps they felt there was nothing keeping them in Germany. Especially since their son Johann had emigrated with his family in 1868.

When Gerrit and Helena left Germany, their daughter's three sons accompanied them. I have no information on whether Antje’s husband Johann was still alive at that time or not. He was not listed as being on the ship with them. Gerrit was 77, Helena 70, Wilhelm 17, Heinrich 12, and Johann 6. They traveled aboard the bark "Olbers".

bark Olbers
A bark (or barque) is a sailing ship of three or more masts, having the foremasts rigged square and the aftertaste rigged fore-and-aft. The journey from Germany to the United States on one of these sailing vessels could take anywhere from five to eight weeks, depending on the winds and weather. Passengers typically had to bring their own food, bedding, and pots and pans. Due to close living quarters and poor sanitary conditions, travel for the elderly and children was particularly hazardous.

The "Olbers" was named for Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (1758-1840), who was a famous physician and astronomer from Bremerhaven. It was built by J.C. Tecklenborg in Bremehaven and delivered to its owner, a shipping company named D.H. Watjen & Co., on 23 May 1863. Its gross tonnage was 894, the length was 151.5’, the beam was 32.1’ and the draft was 20.8’.

Herman Dieke was Master of the "Olbers", which sailed from the Port of Bremen to Baltimore, Maryland. There were 392 passengers on this particular passage. In notes that were transcribed by the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, it is noted that the Woltermann family was from Stapelmoor, Ostriesland, and that the three children were the grandchildren of Gerrit. It also states that Helena was the second wife of Gerrit, and that her maiden name was Boose/Boze. So far I have seen no records to indicate that Gerrit was married prior to his 1829 marriage to Helena. Most importantly, it is also recorded that Gerrit died on the journey and was buried at sea.

The "Olbers" arrived in Baltimore on 20 July 1869. Helena somehow got herself and the three children from Baltimore to Forreston, Ogle, Illinois where her son Johann (John) and his wife Anna and their children had been living since leaving Germany the previous year. In the Forreston 1870 census, Helena was in the household of John and his family, and so was her grandson Johann. I have found her other grandson Wilhelm living with another family in Forreston as a hired hand, but I don’t know where Heinrich was residing. He would have only been 13 at that time. In the 1880 census Heinrich was living with brother Wilhelm and his family in Forreston, and Johann was a farm hand living with an unrelated Forreston family.

By 1880 Johann (John) and Anna had moved to Carroll County, Iowa and Helena went with them. She died after 1880, probably in Wheatland Township, Carroll, Iowa. It is unclear where she was buried. I do not see a burial listing for her at Saint Bernard Cemetery in Breda, which is where her son and some of his family were laid to rest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wolterman Genealogy - Week 3

My husband’s paternal great-great-grandfather was Johann (John) Gerhard Woltermann. As mentioned previously, the name was spelled Woltermann in Germany. That is also the way it was spelled on the ship manifest when the Woltermanns emigrated in 1868. But the family seemed to drop the second “n” in America.

John was born 24 June 1829 in Stapelmoorheide, Ostfriesland, Germany to Gerrit Jans and Helena (Boze) Woltermann. He was baptized 28 June 1829 in Stapelmoorheide. John’s sister, Antje, was born in 1832.

Anna and John with family ~1886
On 6 May 1856, John married Anna Klaasen in Stapelmoorheide. He was 26 years old, and Anna was 21. Their first four children - Helena, Gerhard, Peter, and Gertrude - were born in Germany, while the last two - Anna and John - were born in the United States. I discussed their emigration to America in 1868 in the previous post, which can be found here. John was 39 and Anna 34 when they made the journey. The children were 11, 9, 6, and 1.

In the 1870 census, John and his family were living in Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois. John is shown to be employed as a carpenter. His 72 year-old mother Helena was living with them, as well as Anna’s mother Gertrude Peters, age  62. It is interesting that while I found a birth record in Germany for Anna Klaasen that lists Gertrude Peters as her mother, no father was indicated on the record. The fact that her name is listed as Gertrude Peters could mean that she never married Anna's father.

John and Anna's daughter, also named Anna, was born in Illinois about 1874. Their son John was born in Carroll County, Iowa in 1876. Obviously they moved from Illinois to Iowa between 1874 and 1876.

In the 1880 census the family was living in Wheatland Township, Carroll County, Iowa, where John was farming. His mother, Helena was still living with them at this time, but his mother-in-law was not. This is the only census that their daughter Anna appears in as she was born about 1874. Since she is not in the photograph above and I cannot find any other records on her, I'm guessing Anna died sometime between the 1880 census and the time this picture was taken.

John and Anna's farm in Iowa

Anna died 31 October 1901 in Breda. She was 67 years old. John died at the age of 78 on 30 November 1907, also  in Breda. They are buried in Saint Bernard Cemetery in Breda.

Anna and John's graves

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Wolterman Genealogy - Week 2

Last week I wrote about Frank Conrad Wolterman, my husband’s paternal grandfather. This week Frank’s father, Gerhard (George) Wolterman is the topic of discussion. George was the son of Johann (John) Gerhard and Anna (Klaasen) Wolterman, and he was born 18 December 1859 in Stapelmoorheide, Ostfriesland, Germany. He was baptized 19 December 1859 in Weener, which is 6.7 km from Stapelmoorheide.

George’s siblings included: Helena Maria born in 1857, Peter Johannes born in 1862, Gertrude Mary born in 1867, Anna born in 1874, and John born in 1876. The first 4 children were born in Stapelmoorheide, and the last 2 were born in the United States. The family name was spelled Woltermann in Germany.

Stapelmoorheide, Germany

Ostfriesland is an area in the northwest corner of Germany on the North Sea coast. It is located within Germany’s second largest state, Lower Saxony. Stapelmoorheide, in the County of Leer, is about 526 km west of Berlin, and 129 km west of Bremen. It was and is a small rural community. Nearby Stapelmoor was combined with Stapelmoorheide in 1974.

John, Anna and their children emigrated to the United States in 1868, arriving in New York City on 10 April aboard the ship “Manhattan”. It is interesting that they departed from Liverpool, England instead of much closer emigrant port of Bremerhaven. Perhaps the fare was cheaper from Liverpool, but it would be interesting to know how they got from their hometown to Liverpool.

The “Manhattan” was a steamship built in 1866 by Palmer’s Shipbuilding & Iron Co. at Newcastle, England. It had 3 decks, an iron hull, inverted engines, a speed of 10 knots, and accommodated 72 First Class passengers, and 800 Third Class passengers. The passage from Liverpool to New York averaged 14.7 days.  The captain of the ship was James Williams. John’s occupation was listed as Laborer.

Steamer Manhattan

From August of 1855 until April of 1890, immigrants arriving in New York were processed through the Emigrant Landing Depot at Castle Garden. Over 8 million immigrants came through this center during that time period, most of whom were from Germany, Ireland, England, Scotland, Sweden, Italy, Russia, and Denmark. More than 1 in 6 native-born Americans are descendants of the 8 million who entered the United States through Castle Garden.

Castle Garden, photo from National Archives

The Wolterman family first settled in Forreston, a small village in Ogle County, Illinois, but by 1874 they were living in Wheatland Township, Carroll County, Iowa where they had a family farm. On 6 February 1883, George married Catherine Woerdehoff in Breda, Carroll County, Iowa. George was 23 years of age and Catherine was 20. On the Wheatland Township land map from 1906, which I have enlarged below, you can see that the Wolterman land was adjacent to the Woerdehoff farm, so perhaps that is how George and Catherine met. George's brother Peter also owned a nearby farm.

Wheatland Township 1906

Wolterman land 1906

Catherine and George Wolterman
George and Catherine had the following children: Margaret born in 1883, John Alvis born in 1885, Anna C. born in 1886, Gertrude born in 1888, Catharine Margaret born in 1889, Gerhard Jacob (George) born in 1891, Bernadine born in 1893, Peter J. born in 1895, Leonilla Mary born in 1898, Frank Conrad born in 1899, Clara Helena born in 1901, Edmund J. born in 1903, and Albin A. born in 1907.

George continued to farm until his death on 31 March 1921. He was 61 years old. By the 1930 census, Catherine owned a home valued at $1,800 in the town of Breda. She was living next door to her daughter Catherine Margaret Ocken. Catherine died 15 August 1935, and she and George are both buried in Saint Bernard Cemetery in Breda.

George and Catherine Wolterman graves

Thursday, January 10, 2019

My 2019 Genealogy Writing Challenge

Having been unsuccessful in searching for a new genealogy writing challenge for this year, I decided to come up with one of my own. Each week I will be writing about the family I married into 40 years ago. As they say, you can choose your spouse, but you don’t get to choose the family that comes along with him or her. I’ve been blessed in both my husband and his extended family, who have always treated me as one of their own. This year I’m going to work my way backwards through the Wolterman clan, and in respect to the living, I will begin with my husband’s grandfather. Initially I will be focusing on the Wolterman men, and when I've gone back as far as my information allows, I'll switch to the females in the family tree.

George & Catherine Wolterman Family ~1915

Frank Conrad Wolterman was born 4 November 1899 in Wheatland Township, Carroll County, Iowa, the 10th of 13 children born to Gerhard (George) and Catherine (Woerdehoff) Wolterman. Frank’s siblings were: Margaret born in 1883, John born in 1885, Anna born in 1886, Gertrude born in 1888, Catherine born in 1889, Gerhard (George) born in 1891, Bernadine born in 1893, Peter born in 1895, Leonilla born in 1898, Clara born in 1901, Edmund born in 1903, and Albin born in 1907. All of the children were born in Carroll County, Iowa and grew up on the farm owned by their father.

Breda, Iowa ~1910
The nearest town was Breda, which was formed in 1877 when the Maple branch of the Chicago and Northwestern railroad was built through the territory. The town was named after the Dutch city of Breda. Many of the first settlers, however, came to the area from Galena, IL in 1869.

By 1899 there were 425 residents, mostly of German descent who spoke in their own native language. There were also 19 residents who spoke English and 11 who spoke Dutch. The vast majority of the community members were Catholic, and they attended church in Mt. Carmel. Tired of trudging the 5.5 miles on foot, by horseback or wagon, they petitioned the Catholic Church to construct one in their own town. By 1880 they had built the original wood frame St. Bernard Church in Breda. In 1888 a brick church was completed to handle the growing church population.

St. Bernard Church ~1910

When he was 18, Frank filled out a registration card for the World War 1 draft at the Local Board for the County of Carroll, State of Iowa. It was dated 12 September 1918. On it, he indicated that he was medium height, medium build, with blue eyes and black hair. It was very lucky for him that the war ended 11 November 1918.

Frank & Theresa's wedding day
Just a few short years later, it was at St. Bernard Church that Frank married Theresa Kathryn Determan on 6 June 1922.  He was 22 years old. Theresa, the daughter of Johann August and Mary Anna (Luchtel) Determan, was 19. The couple met at a shower for her stepsister, and they attended dances together. Theresa wore a wedding gown that had been sewn by her sister, Martha. Frank and Theresa had 11 children: Clarice, Rosemary, Duane, Gerald, Jeanette, Marilyn, Shirley, Stanley, Maribeth, Muriel, and Joleen.

Frank, like his father, was a farmer. They first farmed by Wall Lake in Sac County, Iowa, then in Maple River Township. The 1930 census from Maple River Township in Carroll County indicates that he was renting the property. Sometime between 1930 and 1935 the family moved to the Fonda, Iowa area. On the 1940 census Frank listed that they were renting a farm in Williams Township, Calhoun County, Iowa, and that the family had been in the same house in 1935. Williams Township is just south of Fonda. In 1950 they moved one final time to Fairfax, Minnesota, with Frank and his sons driving the combine and tractors all the way from Iowa to Minnesota. What a sight that must have been!

Frank & Theresa Wolterman family ~1945

On 9 October 1964 Frank died at the age of 64. He and Theresa had been married for 42 years. Theresa lived another 24 years, and was 84 when she died on 28 January 1988. Frank and Theresa are both buried in Saint Andrews Catholic Cemetery in Fairfax.

Wolterman graves