Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More Homberger Family in Binzikon

More Homberger Family in Binzikon
Jean M. Hoffman, CG

I wrote two years ago about a Canton Zurich index of old marriage records [here]. In them I found that the furthest back Homberger ancestor in the gemeinde of Egg was originally from the gemeinde of Grüningen in the village of Binzikon. He was married twice before the move to Egg, the second wife, Elsbeth Buchmann being the Hoffman ancestor. The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City has microfilm of church records from Grüningen and viewing them was to be my next step.

Last summer when the FHL announced the end of microfilm lending, I quickly ordered the Grüningen film, no. 996915. It was only last Saturday that I was ready to look at it. First I checked it in the online catalog for details of what I would be seeing. It was a surprise to find it has already been digitized and put online. But it is in a “locked” state allowing viewing only in Family History Centers or affiliate libraries, so I can't view it at home. But I was in an affiliate library and spent time happily locating records of family members.

We now have images of the actual marriage records for Rudolf Homberger. Because he was first married in 1681, I estimated his birth about 25 years earlier. That was quite close. He was born (or probably baptized) on 10 November 1657. His father was Bernhard Homberger and his mother was Elsbeth Maurer. Her first name is a variant of Elisabetha. There were birth records of Rudolf's siblings and cousins. The cousins were the children of his uncle Diethelm Homberger and Elsbeth Hoffman. Later we'll get baptismal records of all his siblings and cousins, and hopefully his parents. The death of his first wife was in 1692 but he did not remarry until 1696. Both wives were from the adjacent gemeinde of Hombrechtikon. At the FamilySearch website in the family tree, this family is present with names even of Rudolf's grandparents who were probably born before 1600. The Homberger part of the Hoffman family tree is going to be growing.

We are also looking into details about Grüningen and Binzikon. One source is an atlas (ortslexikon) of Canton Zurich from 1835. We used to use in on microfiche at a Family History Center but now we can see color images rather than black and white film at Ancestry.com. Wikipedia has a little and the gemeinde has a website.

From his 1657 baptismal record you can see the date of 10 9bris (an abbreviation for November), the place of Binzikon (spelled Bintzicon), father's name, mother's maiden name, child's name (with an annotation we haven't deciphered yet), godfather Rudolf Walder and godmother Klienannlj Walder. The year only appears at the start of each new year.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day: Hoffmans in the U.S. Armed Forces

Hoffman Family in the Union Army: The Immigrant Generation

Henry and John Hoffman both served in the Union Army. While their service came at the end of the war, it was not without travail and even fatality as it cost the life of their cousin, Jacob Homberger.

Hoffman Family in World War I: The Next Generation

John Hoffman's youngest son, Rudolph served in the U.S. Army overseas in World War I. Ruth Whalen shared letters he wrote to her family. Both she and Lucille McCue, his nieces, shared photos of him in uniform. This photo from Lucille was taken when he returned home to Illinois.

Hoffman Family in World War I: Grandchildren

John Hoffman's oldest daughter, Margaret or Maggie, had a son, Clarence Rose, who was about the same age as his uncle Rudolph Hoffman. Clarence served in the war, also overseas, in a unit from his home state of Colorado. Ruth Whalen shared this photo of Clarence and his mother.

Regula Hoffman, wife of John Hagie of Elizabeth, Illinois, had three sons. Albert C. Hagie moved to Minnesota and at least one of his children, Albert Frank Hagie, served in World War I. Later he moved to Washington, DC, where he served in the U.S. Navy Band. When he died 14 August 1986, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Another of Regula's sons, Frederick, stayed in Elizabeth and his son, Franklin Eugene Hagie, was a doctor and served in World War I in that capacity. He moved to Richmond, Indiana, after the war. I believe more family members served in WWI, but these are stories I remember now.

Thanks to these and all the family members who have served over the years.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Canton Zurich Marriage Registers Extracted, 1525—1700

Canton Zurich Marriage Registers Extracted, 1525—1700

Jean M. Hoffman, CGSM

The State Archives of Canton Zurich (Staatsarchivs des Kantons Zürich) provided an extract of passport applications to America or Australia, 1848—1870 that I found in 2007. It was easy to use despite being in German. Eight members of the Hoffman family are listed in those extracts. I recently wanted to review the source and update any page links.

A brief page for genealogists in English has a link to the pdf file of passport applications at http://www.staatsarchiv.zh.ch/internet/justiz_inneres/sta/en/recherche1/themen/genealogie.html. I also found a link to marriage records extracted from parish registers that are housed at the state archives. The link leads to pages and information only in German, but I was able to peruse some of the marriages and found an interesting addition to the Homberger family.

The name of the project is Zürcher Ehedaten des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (Zurich Marriage Data From the 16th to the 18th Century) also defined as 1525—1800 though few parishes kept the records as early as 1525. The reports currently only go to 1700. The marriages are in alphabetical order by surname then first name and chronological within name. Grooms and brides are each indexed. The pdf files of the reports are fairly large (10 to 16 MB,) so prepared in four segments for the men and four segments for the women. Columns contain the names of the couple, comments, marriage date, marriage place, and the archive numbers to locate the page in the register. The numbers link to a chronological list for that parish. Other parish books will be listed as well. The data looks like a real treasure.

I had to look first at grooms named Hoffmann from Oberglatt. The surname was only spelled Hofmann even though both spellings were used and for different families. Other “normalization” of names seems to have been used. For example, where I copied a name as Elsbeth, the list reads Elisabeth. I found other similar changes.

Elisabeth Homberger, widow of Johannes Hoffmann, was the mother of our immigrant Hoffman family and also came to Illinois. Her father was a citizen of the gemeinde (community) of Egg, adjoining Oetwil am See where the family lived after her husband died. It was the home of her mother's family. Elisabeth was the 2nd great-granddaughter of Rudolf Homberger and Elsbeth Buchmann the most distant Homberger ancestors we've found.

Rudolf and Elsbeth had children baptized in Egg beginning in 1701 but had older children by 1697. We estimated they married about 1696 but found no marriage record for them in Egg. Now we know why. Rudolf Homberger was from Binzikon (which is a small place, possibly not a gemeinde) and Elisabeth Buchmann was from nearby Hombrechtikon. They were married 30 June 1696 in the parish of Grüningen, very close to Binzikon. Rudolf was a widower. The preceding record in the list was also for a Rudolf Homberger of Binzikon marrying Elisabeth Hürlimann of Hombrechtikon in Grüningen on 21 June 1681. It is very likely she is the wife who died leaving him a widower fifteen years later. All because of the arrangement of this data we found an actual marriage record we had only guessed at and the new data that Rudolf had a prior marriage. The map shows how close all the communities mentioned are to one another.

There is additional information in the pages of the state archives, but I will need German translation to understand much of it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Henry Hoffman: Family Stories, Part 1

The Hoffman Family News was usually four pages printed each month from December 1998 through December 2002. Since then I’ve put out two or four pages each year. I have the blog version of the newsletter at http://hoffman-news.blogspot.com/ for updates to research finds and items of interest. News of living family members remains in the print version that only goes to family members.

The newsletter and blog have served as a record of research on this family of Swiss immigrants to Illinois. In 2009 I decided I wanted to begin piecing the story together so we could all see the ancestral family members in a unified way. I wrote a little on the Hoffman line but soon bogged down. Over three years later this is my new start on providing ancestral Hoffman stories. During this February I’ve joined a challenge (http://familyhistorywritingchallenge.blogspot.com/) to write every day. I set a word count goal of 500. That seems rather ambitious, but we’ll see how it goes. Some of the time I will be writing on other projects. I am currently finishing an article on my Williamson family that I plan to submit for publication.

Today the first Hoffman immigrant takes center stage. Heinrich Hoffmann was a citizen of the community of Oberglatt in Canton Zurich even though he never lived there. Oberglatt is still a small town a little north of the runways of Zurich International Airport. Dick has translated some historical information on their website (http://www.oetwil.ch/de/) including some interesting tidbits about the bridge over the River Glatt.

In Illinois Heinrich gradually changed to the English version of Henry and dropped the second “n” at the end of his surname. Two sources told of the location of the family before they Switzerland. Henry’s youngest brother, John Hoffman, has a biographical sketch in a Carroll County history. In it he named the place from which he came. He came to the U.S. in 1864 with other family members included his widowed mother. She is buried in a rural cemetery where Henry and some of his sons were later buried. Her tombstone, engraved in German, also tells the place she was born: Oetweil, Ct. Zurich, Schweiz. The current spelling of the name of the community is Oetwil am See. That was all that was needed to begin finding the family in Swiss records.

The Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) has microfilmed records all over the world. They have an extensive collection of Swiss church books. They loan copies of the films to the many Family History Centers around the world. We spent many hours pouring over church records hand-written in old German script, some of them over 400 years old. Most are the registers in which pastors recorded baptisms, marriages, burials, and sometimes confirmations. The Reformed Church in Canton Zurich was the protestant denomination founded on the teachings of Ulrich Zwingli and governed by the Zurich Synod. The synod required additional records that are of enormous genealogical value. One type, haushaltungsrodel (household list), had a listing for every family in a parish and included ages or birth dates for a man, his wife and his children. Earlier population records (1633-1767) have briefer entries, but with family units together. Today digital versions of the microfilms are created and put online with free access.

Finding Henry (actually Heinrich Hoffmann) in records of Oetwil am See was easy. They also pointed to his place of citizenship where many more records were of great help. The location of his family between the marriage of his parents and the births of some of the younger siblings in Maur, a little north of Oetwil, is still a mystery. Tomorrow will bring more details about Henry Hoffman.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Follow Friday: The Register of Swiss Surnames

I recently learned from a post by Wolf Seelentag that the Register of Swiss Surnames is available online. This is an extremely important resource for Swiss genealogical research and the very first place to check when starting out on a name.  A search engine, guidelines and a table of abbreviations are presented in English (here) and in German, French, Italian and Romansh, Switzerland’s four official languages.

In the early days of our Swiss research I got look-ups or used the three-volume set at the library of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Titled Swiss Surnames: a Complete Register, it was edited by Emil Meier and published by Picton Press in 1995. Its original German name is Familiennamenbuch der Schweiz. This is a list of all surnames with Swiss citizenship in 1962 for each community in which citizenship was held. When you don’t know the community from which your Swiss family originated, finding records is nearly futile.

We first learned that our Hoffman immigrants came from Oetwil am See in Canton Zurich. Church records there included members of the family because they did live there. However, they were always noted as “von Oberglatt” (of Oberglatt) the community in which they were citizens – even though our branch hadn’t lived there since about 1750. If you look for Hoffmann or Hofmann in Canton Zurich, you will find that HOFFMANN (2 Fs) is listed for Oberglatt from before 1800. Our immigrants included the widowed mother of seven. Her maiden name was Homberger. The listing for Egg, a community just north of Oetwil am See was one of the places that name appeared before 1800. Her father was a citizen of Egg (remember that’s German and sounds a little like “eck” not that thing you scrambled for breakfast). Her mother’s family were the ones who were citizens of Oetwil am See. Their surname was Muschg. A potential problem with the list shows here. Older church records show the family as citizens in that location, but the register does not have them as citizens before 1800. The reason is that eventually all the descendants I could trace were daughters and the family surnames changed to that of the husbands. In other words, the name “daughtered out.”

It is a big advantage to have this list so handy now. If you have, or may have, Swiss family to research, be sure to check their surnames in the register.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aunt Elsie in North Carolina

Dick spent so much time working on the index to the 1940 U.S. census that he is quite comfortable working with it. He remembers his Aunt Elsie and her husband Art Makk visiting when they moved from North Carolina to Arizona. It seemed likely they lived in North Carolina at the time of the 1940 census. He found them in Guilford County in the piedmont city of Greensboro.
Art & Elsie after their move to Arizona
Arthur J. Makk gave his occupation as sign painter which is what he did, but in reality he was an artist designing signs. Both Art and Elsie are listed with a birthplace of Ohio. Elsie Elizabeth Hoffman was apparently born in Brooklyn, Ohio, even though her parents lived in Tennessee. Her mother must have stayed with her cousin Elizabeth Hückmann for the birth of her first child 4 April 1901. There is no Cuyahoga County record of the birth, but family records seem to be reliable.

Art is the first family member we have found who was also recorded in the supplemental questions at the bottom of the page. Since Elsie's line is marked with the circled x, she gave the information to the enumerator. She did not give accurate birthplaces for Art and his parents. His 1930 census entry when he was living with his mother showed both of them born in "Hungary." If you click on the image below you'll be able to read all the information on the Makk household.
This is what the entire page looks like:
1940 U. S. Census, Guilford County, North Carolina, population schedule, Morehead Township, Greensboro, enumeration district (ED) 41-48, sheet 14B, dwelling 243, Arthur J. Makk household; digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 5 September 2012), NARA digital publication T627, roll 2920.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

1940: Colorado Roses

John Hoffman's oldest daughter, Maggie (Margaret K.) moved with her children Clarence and Alma Rose and her second husband Frank Rush from Illinois to Colorado. They lived in farm country of eastern Colorado, first in Lamar, Prowers County by 1913, then in McClave Township, Bent County by 1920. Maggie died there in 1924. Colorado was one of the first states in the 1940 U.S. census to be searchable on the FamilySearch.org website. Maggie's family was there.

Her son, Clarence John Rose, served in World War I and after became an electrical engineer. About 1929 he married Mary M. Spangler. In 1930 they lived in Iowa where their sons James Allen and Lawrence J. Rose were born. In 1935-36 Clarence worked for Otis Elevator in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The 1940 census finds them in Denver where they remained. Clarence was a salesman for an elevator company. James A. and Lawrence J. were nine and seven respectively. Their address was 2844 Dahlia St., a three-bedroom house in the Park Hill District built in 1925.

In 1930 Frank Rush lived with his stepdaughter Alma and her husband Hugh Jenkins and children Margaret Rose Jenkins and Hugh L. Jenkins, Jr. in rural Prowers County. Hugh, Alma and Hugh, Jr. were still on the farm in 1940. They had survived the dust bowl and depression years there. Their daughter Margaret lived in nearby Lamar with her husband Cleo Thompson and his parents. Cleo was a grocery store clerk. I still regret finding Margaret (known as Marge) almost too late. She and Ruth Whalen had a nice phone conversation catching up on the many years since they had corresponded as children. Marge died soon after, her daughter notifying both Ruth and me. Ruth had happy memories of her and we wished we could have had more time getting to know her.

1940 U. S. Census, Denver County, Colorado, population schedule, Tract 41, Denver, Election District Z, enumeration district (ED) 16-298A, page 310 (stamped), sheet 62A, dwelling 48, Clarence J. Rose household; digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 27 April 2012).

1940 U. S. Census, Prowers County, Colorado, population schedule, Election District 6, enumeration district (ED) 50-9, page 146 (stamped), sheet 8A, dwelling 138, Hugh L. Jenkins household; digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 27 April 2012).

1940 U. S. Census, Prowers County, Colorado, population schedule, Ward 1, Lamar, Election Precinct 1, enumeration district (ED) 50-1, page 52 (stamped), sheet 11A, dwelling 252, Elmer Thompson household; digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 27 April 2012).