Thursday, May 28, 2015

Funeral Card Friday - Terry Delveaux

Funeral Card - Terry Delveaux
Funeral Card - Terry Delveaux (reverse)
In my memorial card collection I have a funeral card for Terry Delveaux. In fact he's the only Delveaux in my collection, but not the only Delveaux in my family tree. There I have two...Richard Delveaux and Alice Dart nee Delveaux. Terry died relatively young. He was 44 years old. So it was likely that at least one of his parents survived him.

I did a search on for Terry with his birth and death information included in the search and didn't come up with much. There were hits, but they were from the Wisconsin Death Index and the SSDI which confirmed the information on the memorial card. There was also a hit on the Wisconsin Marriage Index that shows Terry got married on September 15, 1973 to a woman with the surname of DeGrand. No first name is given (even when I performed a search on her). Of course it pays to not just read the transcription but to actually look at the record because when I look at the record Terry isn't married to a woman with the surname of "DeGrand." He's married to Rebecca Jean LaLuzerne. Even how old she was is off. Still none of it tells me who his parents were.

So I went to FindAGrave, but there was no memorial created for him. I then jumped on Google and did a search for "obituary Terry Delveaux" and hit gold. The first hit was an obituary for Joyce Colle-Delveaux. While she isn't one of the Delveauxs listed above she is in my family tree. Her maiden name was Cravillion and her mother was a Cayemberg. So it looks like Terry could go in my tree. The second hit was for Richard Delveaux who is one of the people in my tree...married to Joyce. As you can see by reading the obituaries (as long as the links remain active) that Terry is a child of Richard and his first wife, Lilian Massey, who died in 1989. So Terry was the step-son of Joyce. I'll still put him in my tree. I just need to link Richard to his first wife. I know plenty of people wouldn't because he's not blood related, but family isn't just about blood. Joyce is related and it was important enough that she include her step-son who predeceased her in her obituary. Her husband also predeceased her so he wasn't the one to put him in there. He was important to their family so he is important to me.

Of course we don't just put the important people in our trees (or obituaries). Sometimes important people are left out because of divorce, crimes, arguments, etc. I'll have an example of that one in the near future though.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Anna Steichen nee Melzer

Close-up of Anna Steichen nee Melzer's tombstone*
Information can be wrong. It just can and if you obsess over it then it can really give you a headache. You can see in the tombstone for Anna Steichen nee Melzer that she was born on September 1, 1840 and died on April 8, 1900. The tombstone is in German, but even if you don't understand German you  should be able to figure it out. They just put the day of the month before the month and usually there is a period after the day is how they make it an ordinal number (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc). The tombstone doesn't show the period. Some do some don't.

So what's wrong with the tombstone? Possibly nothing, but the information on the tombstone is slightly different from her death certificate. I had pulled her death certificate during one of my trips to the Wisconsin Historical Society. I discovered it in my Melzer file when I started dedicating time to this line in an effort to see if my Katherine Boegel nee Melzer is a child of Wenzel Melzer and Ursula Christof. I haven't made that possible connection yet, but I had pulled this certificate because when I did a search for Melzers in their search engine I got a hit on Anna Steichen...or rather Anna Steigen.

Anna Steichen nee Melzer tombstone*
That's one of the differences between the tombstone and the certificate. The "g" changing to a "ch" isn't a linguistic reach. Seeing the change when comparing the certificate and tombstone can help to soothe a genealogist that may be having a difficult time making the jump and acknowledging that this is the same person. The next difference between these two sources can be a little harder to swallow for some researchers though.

The death certificate lists her date of birth as October 15, 1840 in Germany. The tombstone has September 1st. That's a month and a half of a difference. So some researchers might freak out and think that this is a different person. It's not though. You can see that her death on the certificate is April 8, 1900 and that matches the tombstone. So why is the date of birth off? You need to remember that both the death certificate and the tombstone are not primary sources of information. They are created based on the information submitted to the county in the case of the certificate and the information submitted to the person/company that made the tombstone. The information could have been written down incorrectly or the person submitting it could have just been not thinking clearly. They are grieving after all. This death certificate also doesn't tell you who is submitting the information. It most likely was a family member, but you don't know who. I don't have a birth certificate or baptismal record for Anna, but I'd lean toward the information on the tombstone being more accurate. I know if a family member's dates or name came back wrong on the tombstone I'd be more likely to tell them to go fix it. Still, either could be correct or both could be wrong. It still doesn't change the fact that this is the correct record.

All of those details while important weren't the focus of my retrieving this record. This record shows that Anna is a child of Wenzel Melzer and Ursula Christof (photo bottom left). Anna is also buried in St. Kilian's Cemetery (photo bottom right) with Joseph who is believed to be a child of Wenzel and Ursula and Katherine Boegel nee Melzer who may be a child of Wenzel and Ursula. Joseph's obituary doesn't name Anna or Katherine or his parents. That made it incredibly unhelpful in attempting to link my Melzer line with his. I don't know if Anna's obituary will show her siblings. She died in 1900 so she may not even have a very detailed obituary in the newspaper, but now that I know who her parents were and know when she died I can add that to my to-do list, AKA my research calendar, and see if it takes me anywhere.

(*Thank you to John Uhlman who gave permission for me to use the photos from his FindAGrave memorial for Anna Steichen nee Melzer!)

Here you can see that she died in Wayne, Washington
County, Wisconsin and is buried in St. Kilian's
You can see Anna's name, her parents' names,
her DOB and death, and husband's

Honoring a Friend

What a wonderful picture! SFC Sandoval went to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to a mutual friend, colleague, and mentor of our, CSM Christopher Alan Raines. Chris was my First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major when I was a Drill Sergeant at the Defense Language Institute and he knew my hubby (a retired First Sergeant) back when they were both young military pups. Thank you for doing this, Rico.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Military Monday - Memorial Day is Not for Me

That title might be a bit confusing. I don't mean that I don't celebrate Memorial Day. I mean that I don't expect or want you to thank me for serving on Memorial Day. There's a holiday to thank me and other veterans and it's called Veterans Day. Memorial Day is the day that we remember those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

Memorial Day is for people like this man:

And this man:

And this one:

And this one:

Last, but certainly not least, two Soldiers that went through the Defense Language Institute when I was a Drill Sergeant. First is Andrew James Creighton...a sweetheart of a Soldier. I don't think there was a single one of us who wasn't proud of him and heart-broken when we got the news that AJ Creighton died in Afghanistan. You can see a very touching tribute to AJ here and read more about this man's life here.

Second, Jacques Earl "Gus" Brunson. He went to DLI for awhile before reclassing Infantry. He kept in touch with the drills after leaving and we knew he was in Iraq collecting items to give to the Iraqi children. He was in the National Guard and volunteered for this tour in Iraq because it would be better money for his two children. He was the first casualty for our cadre of Drill Sergeants to hear of.

These Soldiers may not have been members of my family tree, but they are members of my Army family.

That's not to say that there aren't women that need remembering, but I don't have any in my family tree to be memorialized on this day.

As far as family traditions Memorial Day seemed to have little to do with the military in my family. Memorial Day was the time when flowers were placed on the graves of all of my ancestors. My mother still treks to the old family cemeteries each year to visit their graves. I make the trek as a part of going home, but not as a part of Memorial Day. I probably would if I lived anywhere near "home," but I don't.

I actually like the thought of remembering ancestors on Memorial Day even if it isn't the intent of the holiday (you can read more about Memorial Day here), but I still don't want to be thanked for my service today. What I want is for you to remember those that died so you could live in the country and world you do...even with all its flaws. When you're grilling and sitting in the backyard having a beer have a drink in honor of those men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Elizabeth Melzer nee Batzler

Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter
07FEb1962, pg 26
"Mrs. Joseph Melzer

Funeral services for Mrs. Joseph Melzer, Town of Wayne, will be Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Killian church at St. Killian.

Mrs. Melzer died Tuesday at St. Joseph's hospital, West Bend. She was born Elizabeth Batzler April 17, 1903, in the Town of Wayne, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Batzler. On Nov. 15, 1927, she married Joseph Melzer at St. Killian.

Surviving are her widower; two sons, Robert, Town of Wayne, and Joseph, Jr., at home; one sister, Miss Anne Batzler, Town of Wayne; and three brothers, Oscar, Town of Ashford, and Joseph, Town of Wayne.

Friends may call at Miller's Funeral home, Kewaskum, after 2 p.m. Thursday. Burial will be in the parish cemetery."

I previously shared Elizabeth's husband's obituary here. She is buried in St. Kilian Catholic Cemetery and has a memorial on FindAGrave. Her funeral cards (below) were also passed on to me by my mother-in-law. I had posted them before, but thought I'd include them here as well.

Also something to keep in mind is that the city and parish of Saint Kilian is sometimes seen with one "L" and sometimes with two. People weren't always sticklers for spelling.

While her obituary doesn't give me any information that helps me link her husband's Melzer line to mine it does provide information on family that I may need to add to my tree if I ever make that connection. It's there. I can feel it, but it's still eluding me...

Funeral card -Elizabeth Melzer
Funeral card -Elizabeth Melzer (reverse)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Funeral Card Friday - Mary Melzer

Funeral card - Mary Melzer
Funeral card - Mary Melzer (reverse)

Mary Melzer nee Schweitzer (according to the memorial on FindAGrave and confirmed by an earlier obituary post I made on her son, Joseph) passed away on April 24th 1967. She was the wife of Frank Melzer who died in 1935. According to the Wisconsin Death Index she died in Dodge County, Wisconsin, but the SSDI has her as passing in Allenton, Washington County, Wisconsin. Whichever is correct she is buried in Saint Kilian's Catholic Cemetery in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. These differences don't deter me from knowing this is the right Mary since Saint Kilian is on the border of Fond du Lac and Washington counties and about 2 miles east of Dodge county. They're all right there next to each other.

I can find her in the 1940 US Census widowed and living with her son, Joseph, in Wayne, Washington County on that same farm that belonged to Mary and Frank as well as his parents before him (at least it would appear that way by using the Ancestry map feature linked in the census index).

I don't have much else on Mary. I'm researching if this Melzer line merges with mine somewhere in the 1800s and while I don't expect her obituary to help me make this connection I'll be pulling it anyway when I get the chance.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary LaJoie nee Villers

LaJoie surname tombstone in Calvary Cemetery, Jamestown, North Dakota*

Mary D, 1872 - 1958*
I'm breaking away for a day from tracing my husband's Melzers, but there's more on them in the works!

Mary LaJoie nee Villers is my husband's 2nd great aunt and sister to Florence. I'm always delighted when I find new information on Florence's siblings. Much of the family research on my husband's family doesn't go laterally, but I always enjoyed discovering where those lines went. Where new cousins can be found. Sometimes that's the best way to break brick walls. Perhaps that cousin knows something that I don't. Lateral lines are too often ignored, but can be oh so important.

In my discovery for Mary's FindAGrave memorial and subsequent photo I also discovered her obituary transcribed in it. Now a good genealogist isn't going to just cut that and paste it into their own work. I'll be looking for the Jamestown Sun for July 3, 1958 and grab a copy for my records. I'll verify that nothing was transcribed wrong, but I'll have the record. I'll also keep in mind that while obituaries aren't primary sources of information they are valuable. The people submitting them are mourning and errors are possible even if the newspaper printed everything exactly as they were told. The information in there will help me with dates to get a death certificate as well as know who survives Mary and who predeceased her.

Mary was a tricky bit in my research. Her name seemed to vary in records and I had her down as a very long "Mary Ann Mina Octavia Villers" in my family tree. I had known that she married Felix LaJoie, but this memorial and obituary on FindAGrave helped to firm that up a bit. I look forward to seeing what new information I might find from what was posted on this memorial!

*Images posted with kind permission from FindAGrave contributor BJ Brewer. Thank you!