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.