Friday, May 25, 2012

Looking at my mother's German family ties

I got an email this morning from Find A Grave notifying me I had a message pending. What a surprise to find out Alfred Decker was a descendent of my great aunt Helena (Voigt) Kaiser. So unexpected to hear from someone on my mother's German side.

My genealogy friends know I've been concentrating on my English ancestors. Not so many of them know I have German ancestors, too. My father is half English – half German, and my mom is mostly German with some English peppered around just to make it interesting. 

I have done some entries on mom's ancestors into my family tree program from what I already know from mom and aunt Florence. I haven't gone as far back in Germany as I have for my dad's English ancestors. One of the reasons is... I had no idea where in Germany they came from! Her ancestors came to America before the unification of the German states as Germany, yet most of the documents I have all say "Germany" instead of the particular State they were from. 

Although, the enumerator for the 1870 census in the 16th ward of Chicago, Illinois did put "Baden" for Henry's place of birth and "Darmstadt" for Anna's, it was unusual since the unification was in the 1850s. I never thought much of it until today. 

I have only touched the surface of this family history which lies mainly in Chicago. I haven't done any research in GermanyMaybe one of these days I will know just where they lived in Darmstadt and Baden. I've been in and around both places on trips to Germany, but that was before I even got interested in family history. If I had only known...

Anyway, Alfred is a Find A Grave contributor – as am I. He must have spotted Henry Voigt and Anna (Arnold) memorial I submitted to the site. His message said he was connected through his great aunt Louisa Decker who married Edmund Voigt. What luck! Edmund is one of eight children I knew nothing about, other than his name that is. I was able to fill in a few more blanks with birth dates, death dates, and a marriage date.

Edmund is the son of Henry (Find A Grave 57866200) and Anna Arnold (Find A Grave 57867366). He was born 24MAY1873 at Chicago, Cook, IL and died 03SEP1931 at DuPage Co., IL. On 05APR1902 at Chicago, Cook, IL he married my great aunt Louisa Decker. The marriage lasted long enough for them to have one child, Arthur O. Voigt, b. 1903 at Chicago, Cook, IL. Arthur died 1968 at St Louis Co., IL. I suspect Arthur's middle name is Oscar after Louisa's brother.

It pays to be a contributor on Find A Grave! <>


Henry and Anna are my great grandparents. The above pictures were identified in the family photo album as Anna Arnold Voigt and Henry Voigt by my mom's sister Florence. Henry and Anna's daughter Laura (married Edwin Luther Buschick) is my grandmother. Henry and Anna are buried in Wunders Cemetery in Chicago on the southeast corner of Irving Park Rd. and Clark St. Graceland Cemetery is on the Northeast corner. 

A nice history of the cemetery is given on Find A Grave's website <>

Henry Voigt 1824-1879
Anna Voigt 1835-1915
I have a copy of Anna's death record, but not Henry's. He is on my "ToDo" list.

The headstone shows 1835 as her birth date, but her death record has Nov 1, 1834 which is not an unusual occurrence. She died on September 4, 1915 at 11 p.m. at age 80. There is a lot of information contained in this record. I will refer back to it when I start again on this family. H(elena) Kaiser the informant is her daughter. Great grandma was living at the same address as Helena at the time of her death. I didn't know who her father and mother were, but there they are – Fredrick Arnold and Gertrude Schmidt. The length of time in the US was 67 years. She was 13 when Anna and her family immigrated, but 17 when she came to Chicago. I'll have to check for a passenger list for 1848 arrival. I have some answers and have more questions, too! This is a great document!

With my poking around this morning, I found on the 1910 census, that Anna had 12 children total, but only eight were still living at the time. I had listed in my program: Helena, Emma, Bertha, Laura, Henry (Jr.), Edmund, Frederick, and Ida.What are the names of the other four and where are they buried? 

So little by little, I am filling in more information on the Voigts. I'm thrilled Alfred contacted me. I love looking and learning!

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