Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - A Diamond Anniversary

I decided to look for a clipping for a wedding in one of the scrapbooks I have and came across this clipping for a 60th anniversary. It's not often that you see a Diamond Wedding Anniversary!

The surname Hermans is in my husband's family tree (on his father's side), but I don't have George Hermans in my tree.  It doesn't really mean that he's unknown to our family, I just don't put anything in my tree unless I can get sources first.  It's evident (at least to me) that this must be a relative of some sort since the majority of the clipping in these scrapbooks are family, so let's see what I can find.

The clipping says that they were married in Dykesville which is an "unincorporated" place in Brown and Kewaunee counties, in other words, it's on the border.  The newspaper was from 1966 so 60 years earlier would be 1906 and the Wisconsin Historical Society (gosh, I love that place!) has a searchable index of pre-1907 births, marriages, and deaths.  Perfect!

There were actually TWO George Hermans that were married in 1966.  One in June in Manitowoc county (nope) and one on October 17th in Kewaunee county (bingo!). So I click on the "details" link to see the record for the George in Kewaunee county and get the information I need to track down this record on my summer visit to the WHS (and duly noted the information in my research calendar so I don't forget!).

Now there's this cool feature when you're on the information page for a marriage record on the WHS' website.  You can click on a link that says, "Search for possible spouse matches."  It's not always correct (even if you only find one match...heck sometimes there is no match which I find funny, but is undoubtedly some kind of flaw in the grand-design.  A fly in the ointment), but it can give you a good lead.  There was only one match for George and that was an Adele Welis.  So was Adele my George's wife?

Well, looking in the 1910 US Federal Census, I see that there are 3 George Hermans that come up on an "exact match" search on Ancestry.com.  Only one of them is in Wisconsin and he lives in.....Kewaunee county with his wife, Ida.  Same woman?  Probably.  The name is similar, but I want to check some other censuses and records to be sure.  Plus the record on the WHS website could be wrong.

An extra jewel in the 1910 census tells me that George's 64 year old mother is a widow living with them.  Her name is Antonetin (-ish).  That should make is easier to find George before he got married too.  It does appear the this Adele belongs to this George since I found them both in the 1930 census. Yay!

Now I didn't find George with any Antonetin/Antoinette/Anton-anything born around 1885 (a guess-timate from the 1910 and 1930 censuses), but I did find a George Hermans in the 1905 Wisconsin state census with his mother, Antoniette [sic]!  She was still widowed so no dad for this census and no luck in the 1900 US census looking for George.

So since there is no 1890 census for Kewaunee, Wisconsin and George was born after the 1880 census, let's take a look at who I have for Antoinette's (born abt 1849) children in the 1905 census with estimated birth years:  Jule (1877), Anton (1879), and George (1886).  Let's see what I can see in the 1880 census.

In the 1880 US Federal Census there is a J. Baptiste and Antoinette "Ermans" living in the Charles "Ermans" household with their children, two of which are Julius and Anton!  Now I don't speak Belgian, but I do know that many of the documents from Belgium were in French, Charles and his wife Josephine, were born in Belgium and if one of them gave the information to the census takers....well, let's just say that I can do a pretty good absurd Monty-Python-outrageous-taunting-of-the-French accent, and can see Hermans being "Ermans" when pronounced (plus someone else corrected the surname in the Ancestry database, but that doesn't always mean they are correct).

Now, Charles and Josephine Hermans nee Landeck are in my family tree.  They are my hubby's 3rd great grandparents.  So, for now, my deduction after this short-lived-online research and half a glass of wine is that the happy couple celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary is Charles and Josephine Hermans' grandson.  Not proven yet, but just you wait until I get to WHS in June and see if I can find some newspaper articles, birth, marriage, and death records on them!  I've already found possible death record matches in the WHS database for Charles, Josephine and J. Baptiste in Kewaunee.  We'll see if I turn up real gold or fool's gold!

"Wed 60 Years - Mr. and Mrs. George Hermans, Luxemburg, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary recently.  They were married in Dyckesville and have three children, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren."

[From the Green Bay Press-Gazette, hand-dated Oct 16, 1966]

UPDATE:  ...Yep...already.  As it turns out, I don't need to pull these documents at WHS because I already did.  They were in my file for research that still needed to find a home.  My deductions were right and George, John Baptiste, and Antoinette will be finding their way into my family tree soon.  As for Adele's maiden name.  It was wrong in the spouse search on WHS.  It's Nelis, not Welis.  Close, but no cigar for the transcriber!