Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Wishes for 2011

While the family saved lots of postcards over the years, I sometimes browse antique malls for old postcards. This is one I found last fall at a shop in Missouri on our way to Tulsa. As it says, good wishes for the New Year.
Designer Credits: Bohemian August by Miss Crow's Magickal Emporium

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Greetings from Christmas 1970

I did this page last December with a photograph of Dick and me opening a Christmas present in 1970. Hard to believe that was forty years ago!
Designer Credits:
-papers, frame, bow, lace, clocks, green deco: Retro Designs - Pretty Shabby
-gold designs, pine cones: Ptitesouris - Les Tres Ors de Laura
-tree: Chili Designz - Holiday Blog Train
-alpha: Retro Designs - 2 Elegant Art Deco Alphas
font: Kristen ITC

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mappy Monday: Snohomish County, Washington, homestead of John B. Kelly

I think I could get to really like this Monday map theme as I really love maps and also find they can shed much light on our families and their past. I wrote earlier about Aaron H. Kelly, son of John B. and Louise (Hoffman) Kelly. John B D. Kelly was born in New Brunswick, Canada about 1851. I've found him recently at the FamilySearch Beta site in the 1851 and 1871 census of Canada. In 1886 he was in the state of Washington, a long way from the Canadian Maritimes. He filed his Declaration of Intent to become a U.S. citizen and days later filed a homestead claim on 160 acres on the southern edge of Snohomish County. His son Aaron apparently kept the property, running it as a dairy farm. By 1947 Aaron was a deputy sheriff and his address was Woodinville according to the Everett city directory that year. Everett is the county seat and where he must have worked. A current search for Woodinville shows it as a town in King County, home of Seattle and Redmond. It borders the land of the homestead. That land in a current map looks totally developed. The post office there must have been his mailing address. Here is a map showing the homestead location and modern boundaries and towns.
This is a composite of two maps, one from Snohomish County and another of the town of Woodinville in King County, Washington. I have colored in the section where the homestead was located and further colored its parts. The map has the land description written on it. Be sure to click on the map to see it larger.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

(not so) Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Tree in 1940

Alice Minnie Hoffman, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Hochrein) Hoffman, was born 18 December 1902 in Jackson, Tennessee. She was an older sister of Gladys, the aunt in last week's picture. She married Albert Kaltenstein on 3 November 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio. For a few years they lived in the upstairs of the duplex her mother had built next door to her own house in Cleveland. This Christmas tree was photographed in that upstairs by Al and based on similar pictures was probably in 1940. Not long afterward they moved into their own new house. Though seventy years ago, doesn't that tree still look shiny and bright? It was lacking a bit in branches, but not in spirit.
Designer Credits:
-blue paper, lined paper: TaylorMade Designs - Composure Add On
-mask: ZuzannaH Designs - Let Love Be Your Energy
-gray papers, elements: Kitty Designs - Shimmer
fonts: Classic, Corbel

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

(not so) Wordless Wednesday: Aunt Gladys (ready for the holidays)

Gladys Louise Hoffman was born 23 September 1910 in Jackson, Tennessee, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Hochrein) Hoffman and granddaughter of the immigrant Henry Hoffman. Her mother soon moved with the children to Cleveland, Ohio, where her older cousin, Elizabeth (Hochrein) Hückmann lived. Gladys lived most of her life in Cleveland. She was married briefly to George Svec, but had a long marriage to Paul E. Davis from 22 July 1943. She was a special person and dear to us all. She succumbed to complications of cancer treatments on 29 May 1991. Her remains joined those of her husband in the crypt of Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River, Ohio.

This lovely photo was taken by her brother-in-law, Albert Kaltenstein. I thought it would grace this holiday page nicely.
Scrapbook Designer Credit: kit by Deb Ammerman: Christmas Goodies

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Freda E. (Hoffman) Grill

Freda's gravestone is the last of those of John Hoffman's children in the Savanna City Cemetery. She was born in Savanna, Illinois, 15 August 1888 and married Otto Grill there on 28 June 1916, Paul Froehlke, a Lutheran minister, officiating. Otto was born in Chicago to Bohemian immigrant parents. They lived their lives in Savanna where Otto worked for the railroad. They lived next door to Freda's sister Tillie and her Bowers family. The Grills had no children.

The cemetery photo is from 19 June 2002. Freda's picture is cropped from a portrait of all five of John Hoffman's daughters copied from an original provided by Ruth Whalen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday’s Obituary: Irene (Hoffman) Anderson, 1987

Irene Anderson was a special person that it was my misfortune never to know. She was a granddaughter of Caspar and Louise (Schmidt) Hoffman, the daughter of Henry H. and Alice (Houlton) Hoffman. She gathered photos and stories from her family and those of her Uncle Albert and Aunt Suzie. She copied them and compiled them into books for herself and her children. Her children have shared that treasure with the rest of us in the family. The obituaries for Irene and her husband were provided by the San Mateo County Genealogical Society from their Redwood City Tribune files.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Mathilda K. (Hoffman) Bowers

Another of the children of John Hoffman buried in the Savanna City Cemetery is his daughter Mathilda K. (Hoffman) Bowers who was known as Tillie. She was married 28 June 1906 to Clarence Elmer Bowers who died 10 April 1951. Tillie passed away 8 September 1973 in Florida but was buried with her husband in Illinois. John and Kunigunda (Schneider) Hoffman had twelve children. Five of them died very young and are buried in the Elizabeth City Cemetery in neighboring Jo Daviess County, one without name or stone. Four of the remaining children are buried in the Savanna City Cemetery as are their parents: Emma, Mathilda (Tillie), Freda, and Rudolph. Margaret (Maggie) is buried in Colorado, Bertha in Wisconsin and Harry in another Carroll County, Illinois, cemetery. (Photographed in June 2002.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday’s Obituary: Clarence J. Rose, 1977

Clarence John Rose was the first grandson of immigrant John Hoffman. Clarence was born 14 October 1892 in Savanna, Illinois, to Emil and Margaret "Maggie" (Hoffman) Rose. Like his uncle, Rudolph G. Hoffman, and second cousin, Aaron H. Kelly, he served in World War I. He later lived in Denver, Colorado. About 1929 Clarence married Mary M. Spangler. As noted, they had two sons, James Allen Rose and Lawrence J. Rose.
    Funeral Notice of Clarence J. Rose, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Aug. 8, 1977.
    Funeral Notice of Mary M. Rose, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, Jan. 25, 1988.
This photograph must have been sent to Clarence's Aunt Bertha. He is with his mother who was by that time married to James Frank Rush and living near Lamar, Colorado.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(not so) Wordless Wednesday: more on Rudolph G. Hoffman

Ruth remembered this photo as special because of its connection to this letter sent by her Uncle Rudolph from France in 1918. To create this scrapbook page I looked into his area of service finding he must have been working in intelligence. That was probably because of his knowledge of German learned, no doubt, from his parents John and Kunigunda (Schneider) Hoffman.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Rudolph G. Hoffman

Rudolph G. Hoffman, youngest child of immigrant John Hoffman is buried in the Savanna Cemetery, Savanna, Illinois. Buried with him is his wife Celia Azalea (Vandervate) Hoffman. Rudolph's dates are 13 August 1892 to 27 January 1958. Celia's are 23 October 1897 to 18 September 1970. They were married 21 June 1923 in Savanna by Rev. G. W. Fischer. They had no children. (Photographed in June 2002.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Military Monday: Sgt. Rudolph G. Hoffman

Rudolph G. Hoffman (or George Rudolph) was the youngest child of immigrant John Hoffman. Rudolph grew up in Savanna, Illinois, and worked for the railroad. In 1918 he joined the army, going to Europe in the AEF. As a fluent speaker of German, from his German mother and Swiss father, he was useful to the army both during and after the war. In January of 1919 he wrote letters to his sister Bertha in La Crosse, Wisconsin, from Coblenz, Germany where he was happy to have a feather bed to sleep in. His address was then Sgt. R. G. Hoffman, Headquarters 3rd Army, G 2 B Coblenz Germany. I believe a set of photos shared by two of his nieces, Ruth Whalen and Lucille McCue, are from the family's celebration of his return home. They were thankful for his return and that the entire family survived the influenza epidemic.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday’s Obituary: Aaron H. Kelly, 1947

Immigrant Caspar Hoffman left four young children when he died. The youngest was his daughter Louise. Like her siblings she eventually went to San Francisco, but then wed John B. D. Kelly and lived in Snohomish County, Washington. They had three children, the oldest their only son, Aaron. He was born 17 August 1893 in Snohomish County. He appeared in the census with his parents through 1920 on farms near the Snohomish/King County border. During World War I he served, between 10 April 1917 and 6 December 1918, in the U.S. Navy as a Seaman 2nd class. Aaron was enumerated on 3 April 1930 in Snohomish Road, Maltby Precinct, Snohomish County as a boarder in the Nels W. Pearson home. He was a farmer on a dairy farm. He registered as Aaron Hoffman Kelly for the World War II draft on 25 April 1942. He lived with his mother at 3803 Meridian and worked at the University Dairy in Seattle. He was recorded as 6' 1" tall, weighing 190 pounds with brown hair, hazel eyes and a ruddy complexion.

At the age of forty-nine he married Isabelle Mullin on 22 June 1943 at the University Methodist Temple, Seattle, King County, Washington, Rev. James Brett Kenna officiating, witnesses Bernice O. Jobson (Aaron's sister) and G. F. Martinson. I don't know if Mullin was her maiden name or not. By 1947 he resided in Woodinville and worked as a deputy sheriff in Snohomish County. In that capacity he must have spent time at the county courthouse in Everett. It would then have looked similar to this postcard though today it is dwarfed within the county complex.
As indicated in his obituary, he died on 30 May 1947. He was in the Providence Hospital in Everett where he died from complications following surgery related to a peptic ulcer. He was fifty-three. His widow was a witness to the marriage of his sister Bernice O. Jobson to Hugh J. Stack 17 July 1950. I have yet to find evidence of children of Aaron or his sisters.

Aaron's name was recorded in a scrapbook of his San Francisco cousin, Irene Anderson, as John. One census recorded his name as the homophonic counterpart, Erin. His signature on his marriage certificate authenticates Aaron.

  1. 1900 U.S. census, Snohomish County, Washington, population schedule, Bear Creek Precinct, ED 210, sheet 15B, dwelling 319, family 322, John B. Kelly household; National Archives microfilm, T623, roll 1750.
  2. 1910 U.S. census, Snohomish County, Washington, population schedule, Bear Creek Precinct, ED 269, sheet 4B, dwelling 83, family 84, John B. Kelly household; National Archives microfilm, T624, roll 1668.
  3. 1920 U.S. census, King County, Washington, population schedule, Maple Leaf Precinct 2, ED 351, sheet 5A, dwelling/family 41, John B. Kelly household; National Archives microfilm, T625, roll 1925.
  4. 1930 U.S. census, Snohomish County, Washington, population schedule, Maltby Precinct, ED 31-89, sheet 2A, dwelling/family 41, Nels W. Pearson household; National Archives microfilm T626, roll 2519.
  5. Aaron H. Kelly, Certificate of Death State File # 231 (June 4, 1947), Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics, PO Box 9709, Olympia, WA.
  6. "Aaron H. Kelley (death notice)," The Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, 1 June 1947, p. 21, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 24 May 2010).
  7. Descendants of Caspar Hoffman (1837-1877) Hoffman Family Notes by Irene Hoffman Anderson including photographs, information provided to which the author was a witness plus information handed down to her by older family members and completed Aug. 1, 1979; copies provided to the author by her sons.
  8. King County Marriage Certificates, 1855-1990, Kelly - Mullin 1943, King County Archives, Seattle, WA, digital images online, Washington State Digital Archives ( : accessed 14 November 2010).
  9. “Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration” draft cards, Aaron Hoffman Kelly card no. 2158, Draft Board 4, Seattle, Washington; digital images, ( accessed 14 November 2010); from National Archives records.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: At Albrecht Cemetery & "Is it a genealogy poem?"

I just read Harold Henderson's post at Midwestern Microhistory from last month in which he asked if Wallace Steven's poem "A Postcard from the Volcano" was a genealogy poem. I was so impressed that I created a scrapbook page with the poem and some ideas it inspired. Click on the image to see it larger.

The images are: 1. the gravestone of Jacob Weible, M. D. who died 5 June 1875 at the age of twenty-four; 2. the gravestone of Casper Hoffman, his second wife, her second husband and infants (see previous post); 3. A document from Kaspar Hoffman's probate packet in Carroll County, Illinois; 4. the gate to the cemetery. The name on the sign is Albrecht but it is also called Albright and also Fehler for a family in the area.

The note appears to be in the hand of Henry Hoffman, administrator of the estate of his late brother Kaspar. (Note different spellings of the name.) It was signed by George Weible who was a neighbor. Young Jacob was his son. Mr. Weible acknowledged receipt of the full amount of all his claims against the estate. It is dated 28th March [18]79. There were debts to most family members, but while the Weibles were not relatives, they were related in the way of friends and neighbors. The lives of the mostly German immigrants in Derinda Township were intertwined in various ways, but most often I don't write about these others. Perhaps I should.
Scrapbook page credits:
All from Oscraps:
-sandy paper: Fei-fei's Stuff - .. Like Home
-flower overlays: Fei-fei's Stuff - Profiles no. 2
-striped paper (blended): Fei-fei's Stuff - Party On Add On
-wrinkled paper (reduced and blended): Vicki Stegall - Rock On (sneak peek)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Family Recipe Friday: Grandma's Coffee Cake

I don't think anyone has tried to follow this recipe since I found it, but it seems to elicit memories in Dick's family and that is the important part. He says he didn't like it because it was too much like bread, but he does recall his grandmother holding a loaf in the crook of her elbow and slicing off pieces. His brother remembered the flavor when he saw this. Their cousin is the one who told me about it originally. Grandmother was Catherine (Hochrein) Hoffman Klich. She came to the U.S. from Bavaria in 1894 to live with her Uncle Michael Keller in Massbach, Illinois. She cared for his ailing wife until her death. The Hoffman family lived close by.
Scrapbook page credits:
Kit Information: Grandmas Home Cooking (July 2010 Club Deco kit): all contributing designers
Fonts Used: Vintage, Chalk, Tw Cen MT Condensed Extra Bold, Kristen ITC

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Alma Rose posed with pooch

This photo of young Alma Rose and the pooch is quite charming. I wonder if it was her dog or the photographer's? The photo is a postcard mailed to her Aunt Bertha. Bertha was very fond of her older sister Maggie, Alma's mother and kept in touch, even visiting after Maggie moved to Colorado. It passed down to Bertha's daughter Ruth who shared it with me so that I could share a scan of it. I think all these old family photos are real treasures.

Alma E. Rose was born on 29 October 1894 to Emil and Margaret K. (Hoffman) Rose in Illinois. She was the second grandchild of immigrant John Hoffman of Savanna, Illinois. Her brother Clarence turned two fifteen days earlier. In 1900 Alma and her mother lived in Pearl City in Stephenson County, Illinois. Margaret, also known as Maggie, was working as a milliner and claimed to be a widow. Clarence was living with his grandfather Hoffman. Frank Rush became step-father to Alma and Clarence and in 1910 they all lived on Main Street in Pearl City where Frank had a barber shop. His full name was James Frank Rush. Not long after, the family moved to eastern Colorado and took up farming.

About 1916 Alma married widower Hugh L. Jenkins who had a son, Roy M. Jenkins. Hugh was a farm worker near Lamar in Prowers County, Colorado. Alma gave birth to a daughter, Margaret Rose, in 1917 and a son, Hugh L. Jenkins, Jr., at the end of 1918. Alma’s mother died in 1924, buried in Home Cemetery near McClave in Bent County, Colorado. Her step-father lived with the Jenkins family in 1930. Prowers County is part of the area affected by the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, but Alma and Hugh must have continued to live there as both were buried in Lamar’s Riverside Cemetery with Hugh’s first wife Lillian M. Jenkins. Alma died on 20 February 1949 at the young age of fifty-four.

1900 U.S. census, Stephenson County, Illinois, population schedule, Pearl City, Loran Township, ED 100, sheet 6A, dwelling 95, family 99, Margaret Rose household; National Archives microfilm T623, roll 346.

1910 U.S. census, Stephenson County, Illinois, population schedule, Pearl City Village, Loran Township, ED 110, sheet 1B, dwelling/family 22, James F. Rush household; National Archives microfilm T624, roll 327.

1920 U.S. census, Prowers County, Colorado, population schedule, Precinct 6, ED 185, sheet 5A, dwelling 87, family 94, Hugh L. Jenkins household; National Archives microfilm T625, roll 169.

1930 U.S. census, Prowers County, Colorado, population schedule, Precinct No. 6, north, ED 50-11, sheet 7B, dwelling 144, family 149, Hugh L. Jenkins household; National Archives micropublication T626, roll 248.

Leon Barton, “Find A Grave Memorials,” Home Cemetery, McClave, CO, Memorial# 31922399 (Margaret Rush), Dec. 3, 2008, digital images Find-A-Grave ( accessed 28 October 2010)

Leon Barton, Riverside Cemetery, Lamar, CO, Memorial# 54570168 (Hugh), 54570097 (Alma), 54581885 (Lilian), Jul 06, 2010, digital images Find-A-Grave ( accessed 28 October 2010).

Scrapbook page credits:
-template: MommySpice - O-Scraps October Copycat Challenge featuring MissMoxie
-background paper: TaylorMade Designs - Composure Plus
-blue patterned paper, buff tag, ribbon, flower: Merkeley Designs - Get Together Add On
-stamp: Fei-fei's Stuff - Crazy Beautiful
-swirl: Fei-fei's Stuff - Something Pop
-circle frame: Fei-fei's Stuff - Cool Bliss
fonts: Ahnberg, ScriptSERIF, James Fajardo

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hoffman Hotel - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

I loved Randy Seaver's SNGF topic tonight! He urged us to visit the website and explore their FREE offerings and there create one or more posters. When I saw the old painted sign on the old building it just reminded me of being in Savanna, Illinois, and trying to imagine John Hoffman's hotel there long ago. So here is my little poster.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mary Donner, First Wife of Henry Hoffman

The immigrant Henry Hoffman apparently lived in Jo Daviess County, Illinois after his arrival in the state in 1854. He did work on the early railroads and that may be how he came to know a Bavarian woman living in more central Illinois in the town of Peru in LaSalle County. He went to the LaSalle County courthouse in Ottawa on 2 April 1858 where he obtained his naturalization papers and a marriage license for himself and Mary Donner (see the license in this post.) They were married two days later. In the 1860 census they were both recorded in Derinda Township, Jo Daviess County. They had no children and Mary died of heart trouble on 11 September 1872. Her funeral is recorded in the German language records of the nearby St. John's Lutheran Church in Massbach (that Henry did not attend) but she was buried in the Elizabeth City Cemetery. The age on the tombstone allows calculation of her birth date as 22 April 1819, making her almost nine years older than Henry.

The cousin who has this photograph says that it depicts Henry's first wife. She claims they developed a close relationship that was evidenced by their correspondence during the time in 1865-66 that Henry spent away in the Union Army. There is no sign today of their letters, however. Henry remarried and had children, but it appears that was not the happiest of unions, at least according to his widow's comments to a pension claims examiner.
Scrapbook digital materials by Retro Designs kits Flight of Fancy and Golden Memories

Sunday, July 11, 2010

John Hoffman of Savanna, Illinois, with Three Daughters

I have been creating digital scrapbook pages with family photos and stories since 2004 and a number of more recent pages have been posted in this blog. (see scrapbooking label link) When I read that the August 1st 2010 Carnival of Genealogy topic was "Scrapbooking Your Family History!" I knew I had to join in. I've created a new page with a photograph of John Hoffman, youngest of the Hoffman family immigrants, with three of his daughters. Though elderly, he looks so handsome and all the daughters have lovely smiles. This is one of the many photos, letters, and other memorabilia shared by his granddaughter, Ruth Whalen. If you look closely, I believe the ribbon on his vest is his GAR Ribbon. The photo appeared in the February 2000 issue of the newsletter, but looks much more interesting here, but remember to click on the image to see it full size and make the text legible.

If you enjoy scrapbooking your family, especially digitally, I used to host a monthly "challenge" to help folks come up with ideas and a little push to get pages done. You can find other sites now with these types of ideas.
This page has the following credits:
Lavender Time, Part 1 (Digital Crea)
-pictorial paper, clock: Chouk77
-dried plants, ribbon: Fanette
Lavender Time, Part 2
-hat, leaves: Albina Design
-bird string, patterned paper: Ange
-purple paper: Sev Design
frame: Retro Designs - Shabby Chic Rooms, Part 3, Freebie Frame (Retro Designs)
fonts: Fraktur BT, Ziggy Zoe, Korinthia
>>photo courtesy of late granddaughter of John Hoffman
>>letter: signature on last page of 1865 letter by John to aunt in Switzerland:
.....The letter, in old German script, was written after John's cousin, Jacob Homberger, died while they were in the Union Army on the Texas coast at the end of the Civil War. The aunt, as a widowed mother, successfully applied for a pension based on Jacob Homberger's service. John's letter became part of her application making it available today from the National Archives. Dick's translation of the letter appears in the April 2002 issue of the newsletter.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Catherine (Hochrein) Hoffman Klich

Donna is also the youngest great grandchild of the immigrant Henry Hoffman as well as the youngest grandchild of his oldest child, also Henry Hoffman

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Emma Anna (Hoffman) Acker

Some of the adult children of John and Kunigunda Hoffman are also buried in the Savanna Cemetery in Savanna, Illinois. The oldest of those buried here is Emma Anna Hoffman. She was born on 14 May 1878, probably in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. On 23 April 1902 she married John Acker in Savanna. He was involved in politics and earned a name for himself. They had two daughters, Clara (Acker) Gholson who lived in their house on the hill until her death in 2001 and a baby who died 10 December 1910. The gravestones in the front row of the photo are those of Emma, John, the family marker, and the baby.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Hans Jakob Hoffmann (1704-1758)

Prolific Father of 15 Children

Joining in on Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) on Sunday, Father’s Day, I looked at the Hoffman family and found one father far surpassing all others in the number of his children.

Hans Jakob Hoffmann, a citizen of the gemeinde (community) of Oberglatt in Canton Zürich, Switzerland, was baptized there on 26 October 1704. His parents were Hans Hoffmann and Barbara Albrecht. He was the last generation in our line to remain in Oberglatt. On 13 January 1728 he married Anna Margareth Meier, daughter of Anthony Meier and Euphrosina Bünninger. This Meier family had citizenship in the village of Seeb in nearby Bülach.

With Anna Margareth he fathered twelve children, the second of whom was our progenitor Hans Kaspar Hoffmann baptized 4 September 1729. He would marry Rosina Vetter and settle in Burg across the Rhine River from Stein am Rhein. Anna Margareth died 19 September 1748 in Oberglatt. Widower Hans Jakob married a second time to Elsbeth Rösch, apparently from Kloten, another nearby community. Elsbeth presented Hans Jakob with three children the first of whom, also named Elsbeth, was baptized 25 January 1750. The last of the fifteen children was named Felix and he was born 28 November 1756. The patriarch of the family died on 3 August 1758.

I have followed very few of the other children in this family mostly because many of them died very young. The first one after our Hans Kaspar to survive and marry was the eighth child, Jakob, born in 1740. The youngest two children, another Jakob and Felix, born in 1752 and 1756, also survived and married. With so few children surviving, this huge family suddenly appears much smaller and their hard lives illustrated.


All the documentation came from Oberglatt parish records on microfilm at the Family History Library. In addition to church registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths, there are household registers (haushaltungsrodel) and population registers or census (bevölkerungsverzeichnisse, 1633-1767) of Reformed Parishes in the Synod of Zürich, Switzerland.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Workin' On the Railroad

[reprinted from the Henry Hoffman Family News of January 2002]

Henry Hoffman arrived in Illinois as the railroads boomed

When Henry Hoffman arrived in the U.S. in 1854, according to his 1889 biographical sketch, he “soon made his way to Chicago believing that the Great West offered the best opportunity for the poor man to acquire a home.  On his arrival in Chicago, he secured work on a grading train, and made his way to Scales Mound in [Jo Daviess] county.  Here he determined to make for himself a home, and, returning to Chicago to get his baggage, he came back to Scales Mound, and upon getting there had but twenty cents in his pocket.”

If Henry only had twenty cents, he needed other work. In an 1854 U.S. Gazetteer is the tantalizing statement in the description of Galena, Jo Daviess County: “A branch of the Central railroad from Peru to Galena is about to be constructed.” The grading train on which he worked his way from Chicago was probably part of the construction of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad to Freeport, or the Illinois Central from Freeport to Galena.

From the map you can see that in 1850 Illinois had barely begun the construction of rail lines, the total perhaps 120 miles, none extending across state lines. The newspaper in New York when Henry arrived in March of 1854 advertised rail travel to Chicago with connections to St. Louis or Dubuque, Iowa, but there were still no bridges then and much had yet to be constructed. Henry's arrival coincided perfectly with the expansion of rail lines in Illinois and the development that followed.

The Illinois Central Railroad (IC), a private company, was chartered by the state of Illinois in 1851 and from the state received the first federal land grant for railroad construction. The interior of Illinois was then thinly settled and the railroad was expected to encourage development and provide cheap transportation of grain and livestock for the settlers. Of course the railroads needed the new customers as well.

The charter to Illinois Central did not dictate the route which had been chosen to run north-south, but did require the inclusion of five specific places: Galena and Dubuque, Chicago, Cairo in the south and the southern terminus of the Illinois and Michigan canal. This last was an eye-opener for me—what was this canal and where was the terminus?

Actually, it might be a bit of a puzzle solution. The canal ran from Chicago to La Salle or Peru in central Illinois on the Illinois River linking Lake Michigan to the Mississippi. The two towns fought over designation for the railroad and I'm still not sure which won. Finally though I see how Peru could be an important place, first as part of the important waterway transport and then for the railroad. The 1854 gazetteer says the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad intersected the IC there and I've seen an historic map that makes it look like a major junction. Finally we might understand how Henry Hoffman came to marry a woman there and even file his naturalization papers in La Salle County.

Segments of the IC were completed and a painting of a work crew in 1856 shows piles of ties and a tent town along the rails. Fourteen miles of track from Warren to Scales Mound was done on Sept. 11, 1854, so was probably where Henry worked. The railroad opened in September 1856, but it was only partially completed. It wouldn't have been a comfortable ride.

By 1860 Illinois supported many miles of rail lines all across the state in a network that played an important role in support of the Union Army during the Civil War. Bridges did eventually span the Mississippi River carrying the trains, but the first to do so at Rock Island, Illinois, was destroyed by a steamer, thought by many to have struck the bridge intentionally.

Steamboat owners and all those connected to river and canal traffic were fighting a strategic battle against the railroads in which the Mississippi bridges were vital. The owners of the ship that struck and burned the bridge sued the railroad claiming the bridge caused a change to the river currents that swept the riverboat out of control.

The case came to trial in Chicago on Sept. 1, 1857 with the railroad represented by Springfield, Illinois, lawyer Abraham Lincoln. The case is now represented as pitting Northern versus Southern economic interests as stifling the railroads would continue shipping of Midwestern produce southward on the rivers making St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans national centers of trade. But victory of the railroads took that flow eastward making Chicago and New York primary markets.

I found it amazing to imagine the country at that point when shipping was on rivers and canals. Henry Hoffman's part in the building of Illinois rail lines was small, but he would have endorsed the shift away from the south that benefited the north in the Civil War.

Henry's selection of Derinda Township over Scales Mound in Jo Daviess County took him somewhat away from the railroad, but as he later specialized in the Chicago yearling market for his calf production, he was able to benefit from the railroad's existence.

Brought to light by the World War I draft registrations was that nearly all the men of the family in Savanna, Illinois, and La Crosse, Wisconsin, worked for the railroad. So while the first generation made use of building the railroad, the following generations became part of it.

Jacob Benz's son George in Savanna and Henry Benz in La Crosse were employed by the CB&Q while the others (La Crosse: Louis Kjarsgaard; Savanna: Lawrence O'Neal, Harry Hoffman, Clarence Bowers, Otto Grill and Rudolph Hoffman) worked for the CM & St. P. I reported these facts, but was chagrined (having been drilled on railroad abbreviations as a child) to have no idea what the acronyms stood for. Of course it was easy to learn about these railroads and the Library of Congress even has historic maps of their routes on the Internet.

Burlington Route. The CB&Q was The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (or just the Burlington) an 1856 merger of four short lines near Chicago. It was a line that expanded through land grants and also remained fiscally sound. In 1970 the CB & Q merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad along with the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific. Burlington Northern merged again in 1995 with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad creating the current BNSF railroad.

Perhaps the Burlington's best-known achievement took place in 1934 with the introduction of the Pioneer Zephyr - America's first diesel-powered streamlined passenger train.

The Milwaukee Road. The CM & St. P was the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (the last “P” a later addition) and was in fact a familiar face when I saw its logo. A Granger Railroad like the CB & Q, its focus was the midwestern farmland.  The CM & St. P did not fare as well financially as it underwent bankruptcy at several points, the final blow coming in 1977. Thousands of miles of line were abandoned and what remained was sold to the Soo Line in 1986.

Sadly 1970s hopes of revival of U.S. passenger trains have not been realized.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Steam Engines and the Railroad

The photo shows Bertha (Hoffman) Kjarsgaard, a daughter of John Hoffman with her older children, Elsie and Alfred. This was about 1914, probably when the three of them went from their home in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to visit Bertha's sister. The sister was Margaret or Maggie, John's oldest child. At the time she was married to Frank Rush and living near Lamar, Colorado. Earlier I posted a photo of Bertha, Maggie and Maggie's daughter Alma Rose during the visit.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Jesse R. and Helen A. Hoffman

Jesse Ralph Hoffman and his wife Helen Anna Charlotte Dianiska are buried in the Brooklyn Heights Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. New graves like theirs have these flat stones so they can be mowed over. Helen's parents and two siblings are buried here as are Jesse's mother, step-father and cousins of his mother. This is lot 410 in the Roselawn section, graves #3 and #4, reading:

Beloved Husband, Jesse R., 1904 - 1997
Beloved Wife, Helen A., 1907 - 1990

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday - Henry H. Hoffman Wedding Day 1905

Henry H. Hoffman was born 25 December 1865 and baptised as Joh[annes] Heinrich Hoffmann on 7 January 1866 in Bussnang, Canton Thurgau, Switzerland. His parents were Kaspar Hoffmann, whose citizenship was in Oberglatt, Canton Zurich, and Louise (geb. Schmid.)1 Henry traveled with his parents, older sister Susette, grandmother Barbara Schmid, probable uncle Heinrich Schmid and aunt Margaretta Hoffmann to Antwerp, Belgium. They sailed from Antwerp on the SS Medway arriving in the port of New York on 2 May 1867. Henry was recorded as Heinrich Hoffmann age eleven months.2 Their names altered slightly when they settled in northwestern Illinois.

Caspar Hoffman's children were orphaned at his death in 1877 leaving an estate in debt. Henry lived with and worked for his uncle John Hoffman at his hotel in Hanover, Illinois, in 1880. Eventually Henry, his older sister Susie and their younger siblings, Albert and Louise went west to San Francisco. There Henry met and married Alice Houlton. They were photographed in the elegant auto in 1905. They had one daughter and a number of grandchildren.

1 Kirchenbuch, 1600-1920 (Oberglatt, Zürich); FHL microfilm no. 0,996,482 from Zurich Staatsarchiv, Book 4, p. 40, 1865.
2 Manifest, S. S. Medway, 2 May 1867, p. 4 for Hoffmann and Schmid family; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 24 April 2005); from National Archives microfilm M237 (New York Passenger Lists, 1851-1891), roll 278, list 356.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Daughters of John Hoffman

The text about these daughters of John Hoffman, youngest of the immigrant family, is in the scrapbook page. Click on the image to see it larger and read the text. All photos were shared by John's granddaughter, Ruth Whalen.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: John Hoffman plays accordion

Youngest of the immigrant Hoffman generation, John Hoffman enjoyed music and in this photo is playing accordion with a friend at a gathering in Savanna, Illinois. John is the bearded one on the left. The photo was shared by John's granddaughter Ruth Whalen.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Catherine (Hochrein) Hoffman Klich

A summer gathering along Lake Erie in Ohio probably in the 1930s. Catherine's second husband, Charley Klich, is the one in the photo.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jesse Hoffman's High School Record

Jesse Ralph Hoffman, son of Henry and Catherine (Hochrein) Hoffman and grandson of the immigrant Henry Hoffman, graduated from West Commerce High School in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1924. He was nineteen then. That September he enrolled in Wittenberg College in the southwestern Ohio city of Springfield. That Lutheran-based school is now Wittenberg University. When Dick notified Jesse's alumni association of his death, we learned that he had been in college later than we expected. It took a while to locate the right source of records, but eventually the school sent Dick his father's college records. One page was the high school transcript in the scrapbook page below.
There is another page listing the courses Jesse took each year in college. It has no record for the 1925-26 school year and the last session listed is the first semester of 1928-29. Although we always thought that he had graduated, it seems that he did not. He took three courses in Business Administration and had the best grades in one of them. The photos above are possibly from high school and later, after college. The later photo was taken in the upstairs of the house where he lived next door to his mother. The photographer was his brother-in-law, Albert Kaltenstein.

After college Jesse had a job as a bookkeeper where he was an office worker among a group of laborers at the C. O. Bartlett & Snow Co., a structural iron works. He told us that they called him the professor. He said it was in part because of the glasses he wore. It seemed to have both pleased and embarrassed him, but he did like to tell the story. Most of his working life was as a painting contractor, first with his step-father, Charles Klich, and later as head of his own business.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Family of John Hoffman

Maggie was the oldest daughter of John Hoffman, Bertha Kjarsgaard one of her younger sisters and Alma Rose was her daughter. Maggie was named Margaret and was first married to a Rose and then to Frank Rush.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Hoffman Family Timeline

Randy Seaver in his post Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - a Family Timeline got me interested in creating a similar timeline for the immigrant generation of the Hoffman family. I've included the parents Johannes and Elisabeth (Homberger) Hoffmann though he died in Switzerland and only she came to Illinois. All of their children and their spouses fill the rest of the chart which is sorted by birthdate. That seems to have excluded Regula's husband John Hagie for whom I do not show a birthdate. Interesting that the younger people seem to have lived longer to some extent. Click on the chart to see full size!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Honored to be "Ancestor Approved"

I am surprised/honored/humbled/pleased to be the recipient of the Ancestor Approved Award from Laura Ann of Dreaming About Home, a fellow GeneaBlogger on 7 April (sorry for the delay.)

My thanks goes to her and the group for designing and sharing this award with me.

The Ancestor Approved Award asks that the recipient list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud.
Here are the 10 things I have learned from my ancestors (and my husband's.)

  1. Humbled: by the daring of Henry Hoffman to leave everything familiar in Switzerland and travel alone to America on a sailing ship in 1854.
  2. Surprised: by the way Henry enabled/encouraged all the rest of the family to follow him to Illinois over the years.
  3. Enlightened: by contact with a granddaughter of Henry's youngest brother John. Ruth Whalen was a treasure both for the knowledge and documents she shared and for the pure joy of knowing her.
  4. Surprised: to learn that cousin Jacob Homberger, who died in the Union Army in Texas after the Civil War, would have a pension file created when his mother in Switzerland successfully applied for a pension based on his service.
  5. Surprised: to find her home village in Switzerland engraved on the gravestone of Henry's mother Elisabeth Homberger Hoffman.
  6. Humbled: to learn of the many hardships so many of our ancestors faced and often overcame.
  7. Surprised: to find divorce and suicide among our ancestors was not as uncommon as expected.
  8. Surprised: to find a record of the death of Christian Hoffman in Toledo, Ohio, on his journey from Switzerland to Illinois.
  9. Enlightened: to learn how much employment by the railroads sustained families and led to migrations.
  10. Enlightened: by realizing how much of our ancestors is still present in us, especially apparent in some of the words and sayings we retain.

I salute my fellow genealogy bloggers by passing along the "Ancestor Approved" award to them for what they have taught me and how they encourage me.

  1. Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog
  2. The Slovak Yankee
  3. What's Past is Prologue
  4. Kinexxions
  5. Nick Gombash's Genealogy Blog
  6. Shades of the Departed
  7. Random Relatives
  8. ThinkGenealogy
  9. The Chart Chick
  10. Bluebonnet Country Genealogy
Of course there are many more wonderful blogs, but some of my other favorites have already been given this award!

1905 Wisconsin State Census: Henry Benz

I realized that I needed to check for Henry Benz, grandson of Jacob Hoffman, in the 1905 Wisconsin state census that is now available on the FamilySearch pilot site. Henry's great-grandson had told me the family moved to La Crosse in 1905, so it was interesting to see if he was on the census, the official date of which was 1 June 1905.

Sure enough, Henry Benz was enumerated in La Crosse with his second wife, Nettie, son Clarence, and a Byron Benz who is also listed as his son, but is not in fact his son. I think I got a rundown on some of the other Benz relatives, but don't remember who this one is. The birthplace of Henry's parents is given as Illinois though both Mary Hoffman and Ambrose Benz were born in Switzerland.

Here is the page with the Benz family down at number 183:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In the Year 1609

Tonight we watched a PBS Nova special that spent a lot of time discussing telescopes. It reminded me of the piece I wrote for the newsletter on 1609. Following is a reprint of the article from the Henry Hoffman Family News of January/February 2001.

In the Year 1609: The moon was first drawn using a telescope, Heini Hoffmann was born in Oberglatt.

    For Christmas [2000] I gave Dick Galileo's Daughter, a book by Dava Sobel, just because it looked fascinating. It was a fortunate choice; he enjoyed it enough to encourage me to read it too. It is a very readable account of the life of Galileo (1564–1642) in Pisa, Padua and Rome, enlightened by letters from his elder daughter, a cloistered nun.
     Fueled with interest in the 17th century I read Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier's novel based on a painting by Dutch artist Vermeer in the 1650s. The plot was a disappointment, but the book brought to life that time in Delft. I learned that details were mined from the excellent Vermeer and His Milieu, a Web of Social History by John Michael Montias who looked at all sorts of documents of the painter, his friends and three generations of family. The last required genealogical assistance to weave together the names, places and dates to create historical biography. I wish I had access to and could read similar documents in Zürich!
     Galileo's intellectual and aristocratic world is informative for all of Europe, but daily life in conservative, mostly Protestant, Delft was surely closer to that in Zürich. Not having the Catholic faith's need to hurry, probably the same custom was followed in Zürich as in Delft to baptize a child one or two weeks after birth at a service following the Sunday sermon. Creating a 1609 calendar shows the March 5th date of Heini Hoffman's baptism was on a Sunday.
     Bibliographies led me to other books. Interesting is Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery which has entries for each year like Grun's The Timetables of History, but only covers a few events, but in some detail. In ArtBook Vermeer I was surprised to learn that the map on the wall in one of his paintings had west, not north, at the top, supposedly common at the time. It looks strange.
     I was especially taken with the pages from Galileo's notebook with the first illustrations of the moon's surface as seen with a telescope in 1609. The telescope was accidentally invented in Holland the previous year but kept secret as a military advantage, but rumors quickly ran through Europe and Galileo easily built his own. He is the first known to have turned it to the sky where he could distinguish the stars of the Milky Way and the mountains and “seas” of the moon.

     Galileo's inventions include a pendulum clock, but that didn't come until the end of his life in 1641. He was blind by then and the model built for him by his son. Try to imagine life in 1609 with no clocks as we know them. He died in January of 1642; Isaac Newton was born Christmas of that year, one of my favorite men of science.
    Exploration was big in 1609 when Henry Hudson, searching for a Northwest passage, reached New York Bay (Manhattan, located by Verrazano in 1531) and sailed his ship Half Moon up the river that would be named for him all the way to the site of Albany. One of Vermeer's ancestors had dealings that year with founders of the East India Company.
     In Oberglatt, the baptism register was begun in 1600. Men named Hoffman first appear as witnesses, Claus in 1602 and Hans in 1605. Soon their own children appear. For some reason the name Hoffman is underlined in these records though others are not. This continues for some years, then another name is underlined. Sadly, around 1609 many baptisms do not list the mother. The given names in this record are diminutives which at this time are very common in the records. These are probably for Heinrich, Jacob, perhaps Gertrude. Heini was always so named. In 1654 his son Hans was born who would become the Ehegaumer.

     I also brought home from the library books on The Thirty Year's War (1618-1648—Switzerland just managed to stay out of this one, but the ending of it had important results for its autonomy and neutrality) and The Black Death or plague which was still a scourge of the 17th century. It was a time of great invention and discovery, but was still very primitive in health and education.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Alice Minnie (Hoffman) Kaltenstein

Immigrant Henry Hoffman had only one child who had offspring. His oldest child, son Henry, had three daughters and one son. The oldest was Elsie. Next was Alice whose middle name of Minnie was in honor of her father's sister. The photo is undoubtedly from the 1930s and was taken in front of her mother's house in Cleveland, Ohio. The photographer would most likely be her husband (or husband-to-be), Albert Kaltenstein.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Clarence Benz

Clarence W. Benz (1897-1978) was the son of Henry Benz, one of the grandsons of Jacob Hoffman mentioned in the discussion of when did Jacob die.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: No marker for Christian Hoffman

Instead of a tombstone for Christian Hoffman, next to the youngest of the immigrant family, all we have are these pages from the Lucas County Infirmary in Toledo, Ohio.

Lucas County Infirmary, County Home Registers, 1855-1882, (Vol. 1, filmed by Bowling Green State University), p. 88, "Name: Christ Hoffman, Age: 35, Place of Birth: Germany, When Received: July 11, When Discharged: July 12, No. of Days: 01, Township: Toledo, Remarks: Died July 12 th 12 1864 Congestian brain."

Henry Hoffman's brothers Christian and John came from Switzerland with their mother. They arrived in the port of New York on June 25, 1864 aboard the Goeschen from Le Havre.1 Having this information, I was puzzled to find no other records of 25-year old Christian. The sad answer came in Henry's 1889 biographical sketch which states that Christian had died at Toledo, Ohio, from smallpox.2

I couldn't imagine how to verify this death from long ago. At the Western Reserve Historical Society I looked at the books for Lucas County, Ohio, and checked cemetery transcriptions. Then I found a slender volume, an index to the register of the county home infirmary 1855 - 1882. And there was "Christ Hoffman" on a page immediately following the census of residents in June of 1864.3 This did not look like coincidence.

Dick and I later went to Toledo to visit the Lucas County Courthouse. At the Toledo library we viewed microfilm of the original register of the county home and printed the pages reproduced here. Three things seem to be in error: the name is shortened, the age is 35 and the birthplace is Germany. Since the 1889 bio said Christian was in delirium when accompanied there by a stranger from Switzerland, he probably couldn't provide information himself and we don't know if the stranger spoke English. I don't think this could be anyone else.

The entry shows Christian arrived on July 11 and died the next day, July 12, 1864, of "congestian [of the] brain." We don't understand how he came to be left at the home. The family must have traveled from New York by canal or train to Buffalo and then to Toledo on a Lake Erie steamer. There Christian was clearly too ill to transfer to land transportation.

Did they speak English? Did they have money to cover an emergency? And had they purchased tickets for their travel in advance in New York? It is likely that leaving Christian was the only thing they knew to do. Giving the contagion of smallpox and the awareness of it at this time, I wonder if the fatal disease was something else. It could easily have been epidemic typhus which can induce high fever and delirium and had common names such as "ship fever" and "brain fever."

Originally the poor farm, the county home and infirmary had a small cemetery, but it was moved for development. Most graves were unmarked. I hope to find records from the move, but it is unlikely Christian's grave was marked.

1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897, microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives, ), roll 242; Ship Goeshen, 25 June 1864, Christian Hofmann, p. 3, line 100.

2. Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess County, Illinois: containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of the State, and of the Presidents of the United States (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1889), 780, biographical sketch of Henry Hoffman: "[died] at Toledo, Ohio, from small-pox contracted on the vessel on the passage across the Atlantic. The particulars of his death were never fully known, as he was accompanied to that place by a stranger from Switzerland, who left him there in delirium. from which he never recovered."

3. Beverly Reed Todd, Indexer, Lucas County Home Infirmary Register: Vol. 1, Book 1, March 1855-February 1882 ([Ohio]: Lucas County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society, 1994), 42.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Madness Monday: When did Jacob Hoffman die? Where was he buried?

It is frustrating (maddening?) to be unable to locate death or burial information for one of the last surviving members of the immigrant Hoffman family.

Jacob Hoffman was the first born of the Hoffman family. As with all of the older family members, I do not know his birthplace, but the date is recorded in Oberglatt, their community (or gemeinde) of citizenship, as 16 December 1825. In the 1840s records show them residing in the community of Maur in Canton Zurich. There he married Elizabeth Zollinger on 6 October 1851. Their daughter Maria or Mary was baptized when they lived in Uessikon, a village in Maur. Her birth date was recorded as 5 December 1851.

Jacob’s brother Henry left Switzerland and took up residence in northwestern Illinois in early 1854. Jacob applied for a passport in August and followed on a long, arduous, journey to New York arriving 24 November 1854. With his occupation of carpenter, Jacob must have had plenty of work opportunities in the growing rural area of Derinda Township, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, where they settled.

Jacob’s wife and daughter followed him to Illinois in 1856 and they lived close to Henry for many years. Daughter Mary married another Swiss immigrant, Ambrose Benz, 6 December 1870. Two grandsons were born, Jacob in 1871 and Henry in 1873. Sadly Mary died 17 January 1875. In the 1880 U.S. census Jacob and his wife were enumerated with his niece Louiza, orphaned daughter of Caspar Hoffman, as well as son-in-law Ambrose Benz and the grandsons. They then lived in Woodland Township, Carroll County, which is adjacent to Derinda Township. The close family connection is illustrated by the fact that Jacob and Elizabeth stood witness to Ambrose’s second marriage in 1882.

Jacob experienced another loss when he wife died 29 December 1892. His next residence I’ve located is in the 1900 U.S. census when he was enumerated in Woodland Township as a boarder in the household of David Burk. David Burk (or Bork) has another family connection as the person in the process of purchasing land from Henry Hoffman at the time of Henry’s death in 1897.

When we visited the Carroll County courthouse in 2002 we were happy to find that the county has land record books that list all property transactions for each quarter section. Following the land Jacob owned, we learned that after his wife’s death he began selling his holdings in the NE quarter of Section 8, T25N, R4E (Woodland Township). He had some problems with it as one purchaser defaulted on his mortgage and on 2 June 1900 Jacob accepted a transfer of the mortgage to his grandsons Jacob and Henry Benz. A blank line was left for the money conveyed in the transfer. On 16 June 1900 the original mortgage holder, Samuel Larsen, and his wife signed a quitclaim deed to the Benz brothers. They, however, did not file the transfer until 25 June 1903. The transfer is recorded in Carroll County Miscellaneous Record Book 5 on page 123.

We have found no later record of Jacob Hoffman. We searched probate indexes in the Carroll County Circuit Court and found nothing. A book of funeral home records for Savanna does have a record for his wife’s burial, but not of his. The cemetery where she and their daughter are buried does not have a marker with his name. No cemetery transcriptions for either Carroll County or Jo Daviess County have his gravestone listed. Carroll County kept death records during this time period, but none could be found for him by a researcher at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository that holds microfilm of them.

Without any record of Jacob Hoffman’s death or burial, we can only approximate the date of his death. He was alive in June of 1900, but the land transactions seem to point to his demise sometime prior to 25 June 1903. We can only guess at reasons why his death and burial are not recorded, but the date seems to be in those three years.

Youngest brother John Hoffman of Savanna in Carroll County, Illinois was then the only surviving sibling in the family.

Hoffman Immigrant Family

Here is a chart of the immigrant family with the parents on the left and the children and their spouses on the right. At the top is Jacob, the oldest; it continues in chronological order. Remember to click on the image to see it full size!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hoffman Red Cabbage Recipe

I've just seen a blog post on family recipes (Sharing Family Recipes) and was reminded of a scrapbook page I did over three years ago featuring the red cabbage at family dinners as done by Jim Hoffman. Remember to click on the image to see it big enough to actually read the recipe.