Showing posts with label Wagner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wagner. Show all posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

52 Ancestors: John Jacob (John Jacob) Hailer 1804-1882

I decided to stick with my wife Ellen's family lineage this week, in part because I have a real fondness for the history of Waterloo County in Ontario, Canada and in part because the only true family artifact that we possess is one that belonged to this week's subject Johann Jacob (or John Jacob) Hailer, Ellen's third great grandfather. He is perhaps better known simply as Jacob Hailer.

Johann Jacob Hailer


Jacob began his life in Wilferdingen, Baden, Germany on December 20, 1804 and records indicate that he was baptized just three days on December 23, 1804. Jacob was the son of Christian Hailer and his wife Maria Barbara Zachmann. It's possible that Jacob was not seen as a healthy baby so the need for a baptism as soon as possible. Perhaps the baptism occurred quickly with respect to the Christmas festivities.

In 1911, one of Jacob Hailer's grandsons, William H. Breithaupt, who was also the first president of Waterloo Historical Society, wrote a book that includes the story of Jacob's immigration to North America. In short, we know from passenger lists that Jacob Hailer, described on the list as being a "turner" by profession, arrived in the port of Baltimore, Maryland sometime between July 1st and October 1st, 1829. On board the ship that carried him across the Atlantic Ocean were members of the Riehl family, noted by William Breithaupt as being a father accompanying his son and daughter to the United States. Once in Baltimore, Jacob was introduced by the senior Riehl to another daughter Margaret and her younger brother who had sailed to the U.S. in 1828.

Jacob followed his new friends, the Riehls, when they moved to Buffalo, New York in 1830 where that same year, he married Margaret. Records show that Jacob and Margaret Hailer established a home across the river in Chippewa, Upper Canada (now Niagara Falls, Ontario) where their first child, a daughter they named Margaret was born in 1831. Just a few months after the child's birth, they moved again, this time following the trail laid out over the previous three decades by various small waves of the group known as the 'Pennsylvania Dutch.' It was a long difficult journey on rough hewn roads, passing around and over swamps near present day Hamilton, Ontario, to reach Waterloo Township.

For their first year, the Hailers lived in a log house in German Mills, a tiny village located just north of the village of Doon. In 1833, Jacob Hailer purchased one acre of land, located at what is now the intersection of Scott Street and King Street East in central Kitchener, from Bishop Benjamin Eby. This was the same Benjamin Eby who suggested the name of Berlin for the town which beforehand had often been referred to as Ebytown due to five of the villages six houses being occupied by members of the Eby family.

Jacob immediately established a home for his family along with a woodworking shop in which he could ply his trade of manufacturing wooden furniture, including chairs, spinning wheels and lamp stands.

Jacob is described as a deeply religious man who was instrumental in establishing the Evangelical Association (sometimes referred to as the German Methodist) church in Canada. Jacob used his workshop as both a church meeting place and Sunday school. Travelling ministers would preach in the workshop and then stay in the house as guests of the Hailer family. It was through this that the Hailer's eldest daughter Margaret met and married a young Rev. Jacob Wagner. The Hailer's second eldest child, also a daughter, Catherine, married Jacob Wagner's best friend Philip Ludwig 'Louis' Breithaupt.

In 1876, although there was no apparent milestone type of event, Jacob was presented with a monogrammed walking stick or cane. It is ivory handled with a gold band covering the joining of the handle to the wooden cane. On that gold band is inscribed "J.J.H. 1876." We aren't certain as to exactly how it happened, but that cane, once presented to Jacob Hailer has passed down through five generations of family hands to my wife, Jacob Hailer's great-great-great granddaughter.

The ivory-handled grip of Johann Jacob Hailer's cane, presented to him in 1876

Jacob was about 72 years of age when he received the presumed gift of his monogrammed cane. He would die six years later of "old age" on March 6, 1882 and be interred in Kitchener's Mount Hope Cemetery. Years later Jacob, purported to be the first German to settle in the area currently renown for it's German heritage and annual Oktoberfest, was inducted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.

Johann 'John' Jacob Hailer with his cane, probably about 1880

Of course, it is only circumstantial evidence that the cane belonged to Jacob. It bears Jacob's initials and has been passed down and retained by the family and, there are no other ancestors for whom those initials and timeframe fit. Could the cane have possibly belonged to someone else with the same initials and just by happenchance it fell into the Wagner family. The 'clincher' was finding a photograph, taken by photographer C. R. Lundy of Berlin, Ontario, probably about 1880, of Jacob posing with his beloved cane in hand. For Ellen, it makes holding her ancestor's cane all the more a connection to her family's history. 



Sunday, July 13, 2014

52 Ancestors: Rev. Louis Henry Wagner (1857-1945)

Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small genealogy blog suggested a weekly blog theme of '52 Ancestors' in her blog post "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks." I decided to take up the challenge of the 52 Ancestors blog theme as a means to prompt me into regularly sharing the stories of my ancestors. So over the course of 2014 I will highlight an ancestor, sharing what I know about the person and perhaps more importantly, what I don't know.

A switch again this week to one of my wife Ellen's direct ancestors. This week the story of her paternal great grandfather Rev. Louis Henry Wagner. 

Rev. Louis Henry Wagner (photo taken about 1918)

I have always found Louis to be an interesting man. Born in New York State, he was raised and received his early education in Berlin, Waterloo County, Ontario, apprenticed at a young age as a tanner and leather belt maker, attained post-secondary education in the State of Illinois as a land surveyor only to return to work in Ontario as an accountant and salesman before settling into life as an itinerant preacher for the Evangelical Association.

Louis Henry Wagner was born in Grove, Alleghany, New York on April 11, 1857. His father was Rev. Jacob Wagner, an Evangelical Association preacher whose 'territory' included not just western New York state but also parts of southern Ontario. On his trips into Ontario, and the German community in Berlin, Jacob would stay with Jacob and Margaret Hailer. Jacob Hailer was said to have been the first German to settle in Berlin and he would offer up the space of his woodworking shop to serve as a church gathering place for the Evangelical Association. It was here that Jacob Wagner met his wife, the Hailer's eldest daughter Margaret (or Margaretha), the mother of Louis and his older sister Catherine, or 'Katie' as the family called her.

Before he was a year old, Louis' family was moving to Berlin to live close to his maternal grandparents because his father Jacob Wagner had decided to change careers, moving to the business world, establishing a tannery in partnership with his friend and by then brother-in-law Louis Breithaupt. Mere months after the family move was complete, and just one week after Louis' first birthday, Jacob Wagner died.

Fortunately for Louis, his family rallied around and supported him, his mother and sister. It appears that Jacob Wagner had died intestate, that is, he did not leave a Will naming a guardian for his children and the laws at the time did not automatically cede guardianship to the mother. So on September 3, 1859, letters of Guardianship were granted by the court to Jacob Hailer for both Louis and his sister Catherine. With his Berlin pioneer grandfather as his guardian, Louis went to live with his uncle Louis Breithaupt, after whom he had been named. Interestingly, Louis took up maintaining a diary as a teenager in December 1872 and much can be learned about 19th century Berlin, Ontario life in the pages of Louis' diary volumes. His first diary entry, dated Sunday, December 15, 1872 begins with "We were all in church as usual ...." 

Over the years, the maturation of Louis is evident as his writings evolve from descriptions of the numerous times he was off to church, to his arguments to be allowed to apprentice in his uncle's leather business, to his frustrations with the apprenticeship progress and his desire to find excitement in life, eventually leading to the anguish he experienced when his wife Mary Staebler died of typhoid fever in 1887, leaving him a widow with a one year old son.

Louis was educated as a land surveyor at Northwestern College in Naperville, Illinois although he does not seem to have ever practised that profession. When he returned home to Berlin, he took up employment as an accountant and salesman - again with his uncle Louis Breithaupt's Eagle Tannery. In 1882, he made his final career change. After having been so involved in his church, Louis applied to the Canada Conference of the Evangelical Association, who that year were meeting in nearby St. Jacobs, Ontario, and on April 20, 1882, he was granted his first preacher's license as a "Preacher on trial." His first appointment was as assistant pastor in Sebringville, Ontario. 

On May 20, 1884. Louis married Mary Staebler in Berlin, Ontario. Their only child, Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner was born on May 10, 1886 in Hespeler, Ontario. On July 4, 1889, Louis married for a second time to Sarah Lodema Moyer with whom he had three additional children: Ida Louisa Wagner, Carl Henry Wagner, and Margaret Florence Wagner.

Louis spent the remainder of his long life continuing his work as a minister and officiating at many family events including the June 2, 1901 wedding of his cousin Albert L. Breithaupt to Lydia Anthes in which childhood friend and future longest serving Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King served as Best Man.

Rev. Louis Henry Wagner holding his great grandson Carl Edward 'Ted' Wagner

Even late in life, Louis continued to officiate at family events including baptizing his great grandson Carl Edward 'Ted' Wagner, Ellen's brother. 

Louis Wagner died in his residence at 253 Weber Street in Kitchener, Ontario on January 8, 1945 at the age of 87. He rests in peace in Kitchener's Mount Hope Cemetery with his wife Sarah.



Rev. Louis Henry Wagner and Sarah Lodema Moyer gravestone, Mount Hope Cemetery, Kitchener, Ontario (photo by Ian Hadden)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

52 Ancestors: Margaret Wagner Bean (nee Hailer) 1831-1918

Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small genealogy blog suggested a weekly blog theme of '52 Ancestors' in her blog post "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks." I decided to take up the challenge of the 52 Ancestors blog theme as a means to prompt me into regularly sharing the stories of my ancestors. So over the course of 2014 I will highlight an ancestor, sharing what I know about the person and perhaps more importantly, what I don't know.

Over the past several weeks I have been highlighting one of my direct ancestors. This week, I am stepping away, just a little, from that practice. Rather than one of my direct ancestors, I am turning the spotlight onto one of my wife Ellen's direct ancestors, her great great grandmother Margaret (or Margaretha) Wagner (nee Hailer).



Margaret Wagner Bean (nee Hailer) in 1906


The reason for this variance is simple. A week ago, Ellen and I were in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario to attend a family funeral. While driving to our hotel, I pointed to a street sign and Ellen's eyes lit up as she knew the significance of the street name.



Margaret Avenue street sign (at intersection with Bridgeport Street East, Waterloo, Ontario)


Margaret Avenue runs roughly north from Kitchener's downtown core, beginning at Queen Street North, to it's termination just south of University Avenue in Waterloo. Margaret Avenue is also named in honour of Ellen's great great grandmother Margaret Wagner (Fear, Jon, Flash from the Past: Many a train passed under Margaret Avenue Bridge, Kitchener Waterloo Record, 17 Dec 2010).

Margaret was born Margaretha Hailer, the eldest child of Johann Jacob Hailer and his wife Margaret Riehl. She was born in 1831 in Chippewa (now Niagara Falls), Upper Canada. Her parents, Jacob and Margaret Hailer settled in Chippewa soon after they married in 1830 but, not long after the birth of their first child, they moved to Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario. According to author and biographical sketch compiler A. J. Fretz (born 1849), Jacob and Margaret Hailer were the first German born settlers in the town of Berlin (Fretz, A. J.. A genealogical record of the descendants of Christian and Hans Meyer and other pioneers : together with historical and biographical sketches. Harleysville, Pa.: News Printing House, 1896, page 122).

Margaret grew up in Berlin with her four sisters - Catherine, Harriet, Marion, and Caroline - and their one brother, the youngest of the children, Jacob. In 1849 Margaret married Jacob Wagner, a minister in the Evangelical Association. Following their marriage the young couple set up house near Buffalo, New York where Jacob's ministry as a preacher was headquartered. It was here that Margaret and Jacob were joined by their two children, Catherine, or Kate  as they called her, in 1851 and Louis Henry, who later followed in his father's footsteps becoming a minister, in 1857. Life on the road was hard for Jacob and his health suffered as a result. So in November 1857, he decided to give up preaching and entered into a business partnership with his best friend Phillip Ludwig 'Louis' Breithaupt, a Buffalo tanner. Louis Breithaupt was also Jacob's brother-in-law, having married Margaret's sister Catherine after Jacob had introduced the two to each other. Each of them would contribute between $3,000-$4,000 dollars as capital to start a tannery operation In Berlin.

Margaret must have been elated at the prospect of having her husband home all the time, especially since the new business was to be established in Berlin, not far from her parental home. On April 1st, 1858, Jacob Wagner and Louis Breithaupt finalized their partnership agreement for what would become the Eagle Tannery. Jacob Wagner was established as the partner responsible for running the operation.

The good fortune did not last long however. Jacob died suddenly on 19 April 1858. Margaret's parents were there to comfort and support the young widow, ensuring that Kate and young Louis went to school. In 1862, Margaret met and married Daniel Bean (Biehn), a school teacher and farmer from Blandford in neighbouring Oxford County. On marrying Daniel, Margaret left her son Louis in the care of her father so he could continue his education, at least until young Louis convinced his grandfather Jacob Hailer and uncle Louis Breithaupt that what he really wanted was to apprentice in the tannery business, a career that didn't last long.

Margaret moved around southwestern Ontario with her husband Daniel as he moved between school teaching jobs. During their marriage, Margaret and Daniel had six known children. In 1885 Margaret was again widowed when Daniel died in Mildmay, Ontario. Now on her own and in her mid-50's, Margaret moved back home once more where she lived in a house with her two youngest children Jacob and Margaret 'Alma" Bean. When Alma married Alfred Bender in 1907, Margaret moved into a house with them.






On the morning of Sunday, July 7, 1918, Margaret (Hailer) (Wagner) Bean was found dead. Dr. J. F. Honsberger, the coroner, would determine that the cause of death was apoplexy (or stroke). Margaret was laid to rest on 12 July 1918 next to her first husband Jacob Wagner and beside her parents and Breithaupt in-laws in Kitchener's Mount Hope Cemetery.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Christening Tradition - Or Ted's Great Christening Adventure

Recently, while attempting to organize old family photos, well, at least get them all together and safely stored in one place, I was simultaneously taking the time to scan photos that I knew I had not converted into an electronic format.

I love family photos. They capture moments, usually important moments, of family gathering and celebrations like birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. 

A few of the photos that I scanned really caught my attention as one of the main subjects in the photos was my wife's father, Carl Wagner, wearing his army uniform and holding an infant. On the reverse side of the photos, notes about the photos had been written by Ellen's mother, Tess (Olive Theresa Evelyn (nee Latimer) Wagner). The photos were from Ellen's oldest brother Ted's christening. That Ted (formally Carl Edward Wagner) was christened came as no surprise but rather it was the generations of family members who attended the christening that fascinated me.



In the photo above, Ted as an infant is being held by his great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner in front of the church in which the christening took place. Unfortunately the name of the church is not identified. 

Tess' note on the reverse of the photo offers much to the family history. She wrote, "Baby Carl 15 weeks old! Great Grandfather Wagner christened him this Day! This is the church too. Grandfather 86 years old and he had christened wee Carl, his father Carl and Grandfather Louis Wagner! Grandfather Wagner was so proud to do this!"

Grandfather Louis Wagner, referred to in the note is not present in any of the christening photos. It is probable that he was unable to attend the christening as he lived in Saskatchewan, Canada at the time and the christening took place likely in London, Ontario.

Two additional photos from the same family celebration were of special interest but needed a bit of research to identify the family members depicted. In the photo below, the reverse side of the photo noted that 'Baby Carl' or Ted was with "Great Great Aunt Alma and Adolph."



Well, following some digging I learned that Great Grandaunt Alma was Margarette Otilla Alma Bean, the half-sister of Great Grandfather Rev. Louis Henry Wagner. Their mother, Margaret Hailer had married Daniel Bean (Biehn) following the death of her first husband Rev. Jacob Wagner. Adolph was Alma's son Paul Adolph Bender, making him Ted's first cousin twice removed. Alma's husband and Adolph's father, Alfred C. Bender is also in the photo, standing on the left.

Finally, here is a photo which is described by Tess Wagner as "4 Generations - Grandfather, Father, Great Aunt Florence, Baby Carl."



It was the Great Aunt Florence reference that had me puzzled. After some digging, I learned that 'Great Aunt Florence" was Margaret Florence Wagner who married Norval Laverne Knetchel. 'Florence' was Rev. Louis Henry Wagner's daughter from his second marriage. Louis had married Sarah Lodema Moyer in 1889 following the death of his first wife Mary Staebler in 1887.

I do love old family photos and the moments they capture!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lest We Forget - The Hadden - Wagner Families Wall Of Honour

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we pause to reflect and remember those who went before us, bravely sacrificing their youth and in too many cases their lives, for our freedom.

The following is the list of those known brave ancestors, some from my family and some from Ellen's, who gave so much. Today especially, we remember them. They shall not be forgotten.

World War I

GAMMIE, James (1895-1918), Private, Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, killed in action






GAMMIE, Peter (1893-1984), Private, Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force







GORDON, Alexander Garrow Duncan (1891-1917), Private, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, killed in action





MERNER, Albert Edward 'Herbert' (1897-1917), killed in action






TRIGGS, James Little (1899-1916), Cabin Boy, Royal Navy, killed in action

TRIGGS, Phillip (1899-1967), Cabin Boy, Royal Navy

FINDLATER, William (1880-1918), British Army, died at home from wounds

World War II

SENATO, Nicola F. (1913-1945), U.S. Army, killed in action, Japan

NUSBICKEL, Thomas Raymond (1923-2002), U.S. Army


GAULL, George Leonard 'Lenny' (1920-2013), Canadian Armed Forces


MORGAN, Bruce Evan, M.D. (1924-2007), Navigator, Canadian Air Force






WAGNER, Carl Francis (1917-1993), Canadian Armed Forces


WAGNER, Gordon Gilbert Henry (1914-1994), Canadian Armed Forces 

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Faulkner Lineage - from Ellen to Edmond

In my last post, I included the photo below of Ellen standing beside the gravestone of her 7X great grandfather Edmond Faulkner, the earliest of Ellen's ancestors to leave Europe and settle in the New World.



Edmond left England around 1639 and settled in Massachusetts. He co-founded Andover, Massachusetts and was a founding member of the first church in Andover. Edmond died in Andover in 1687.

The following is Ellen's ancestral line back to Edmond:

1. Ellen Louise Wagner m. Ian Hadden

2. Carl Francis Wagner (1917-1994) m. Olive Theresa Evelyn Latimer (1920-1997)
3. Charlotte Marion 'Lottie' Faulkner (1890-1977) m. Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner (1886-1968)
4. Gilbert Wellington Faulkner (1856-1932) m. Sarah Blair (1864-1898)
5. Francis Dwight Faulkner (1811-1872) m. Eleanor Ann Kimmerly (1821-1896)
6. Sylvester Faulkner (1780-1863) m. Mary 'Polly' Cram (1781-1858)
7. Peter Faulkner (1743-1829) m. Chloe Cram (1750-1840)
8. Timothy Faulkner (1704- abt. 1746) m. Deborah Farnum (1702-?)
9. John Faulkner (1654-1706) m. Sarah Abbott (1660-1723)
10. Edmond Faulkner (1624-1687) m. Dorothy Raymond (abt. 1624-1668)

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Marriage of Rev. Louis Henry Wagner and Miss Mary Staebler

Rev. Louis Henry Wagner maintained a diary as have many young men and women. Louis wrote in his diary faithfully as a teenager but large gaps in time occur in Louis' diary writing during his adult years. Nonetheless, his diaries, as I have previously posted, can add rich detail to the Wagner family's history.

When Louis (pictured to the right) married Mary Staebler in May of 1884, he apparently was not in a writing mood. There is a gap between March 3, 1878 and January 1, 1887. Fortunately, the local newspaper filled in a part of this gap by providing a brief article about the wedding. Below is my transcription of the article that appeared in the Berlin (Ontario) Daily News, the predecessor of the current Waterloo Region Record newspaper. 

"MATRIMONIAL


Another of our excellent young ladies has become united in the holy bonds of matrimony to the man of her choice. Miss Mary Staebler, daughter of Mr. Jacob Staebler, Sen., was married last, Tuesday, evening at the family residence, Weber Street, to the Rev. L. H. Wagner, of Hespeler, who, by the way, is also a Berlin boy. 

The Rev. S. L. Umbach, Presiding Elder of this District, performed the ceremony. Amongst the guests were, besides the Minister, Rev. Ch. [Christian] and Mrs. Staebler, South Cayuga; Rev. D. H. Brandt, Mr. J. M. Staebler and Son, Mr. L. J. Breithaupt, Mr. J. C. Breithaupt, Mrs. Breithaupt, Misses C. and M. Breithaupt, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Hailer, rs. Hailer, Mrs. D. Bean, Mr. and Mrs. M. Wegenast, Mr. and Mrs. L. Greybill, Miss Wegenast, Miss Sarah Anthes, Miss Mary Anthes, Misses Emma and Carrie Goetze, Mr. and Mrs. I. K. Devitt, Mr. Geo. Wegenast, Mr. D. M. Staebler, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Staebler, London; Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Staebler, Cassel, and others. 

The young couple, being very highly esteemed by large circles of friends, were the recipients of numerous and valuable presents. After the ceremony a sumptuous repast was partaken of by the guests, and at 8:40 Mr. and Mrs. Wagner took the train for the East, followed by all possible good wishes for their future happiness - in which the Daily News heartily joins."

It can be fun trying to identify the relationship of each guest to the bride and groom and, certainly Louis and Mary Wagner's wedding guest list reads a bit like a 'Who's Who' of 19th century Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario history. Most of the identified guests were cousins or friends but a few notables were present that might escape notice. "Mrs. Hailer" was the groom's grandmother, Margaret (Riehl) Hailer, the wife of Berlin pioneer (and Waterloo (Ontario) Region Hall of Fame member) Johann Jacob Hailer. Mrs. Hailer is listed next to her daughter, "Mrs. D. Bean" who was the mother of the groom, Margaret (Hailer) Wagner Bean.

Fortunately, this newspaper clipping is safely preserved in the archives at the University of Waterloo, part of the Wagner Hailer family fonds.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sometimes My Genealogy Stars Are Aligned

As luck would have it, I stumbled into a gold mine of family records while I have continued to pursue my wife Ellen's ancestors. As I have recorded through many blog posts, Ellen's ancestry is rich and compelling, with roots that include United Empire Loyalists and American Revolutionaries  I can trace her ancestors back to the 1620's in New England, their arrival occurring just a few years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Ellen appears to be one of the few people who can claim U.E.L. (United Empire Loyalist) and D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution) status (although neither has been applied for to date).

With such a lengthy and deep ancestry in North America, spread over hundreds of years, family members in subsequent generations have been found in all corners of the United States and Canada.

In the past couple of weeks, I have devoted time to tracking down the family members directly connected to Ellen's second great aunt, Elizabeth Nusbickel (nee Wagner). Elizabeth was the sister of Ellen's second great grandfather Jacob Wagner. Both Jacob and Elizabeth had immigrated to the United States along with their parents Heinrich 'Henry' and Anna Marie 'Mary' (nee Eckhard) Wagner around 1833, settling in Wayne County, New York. Henry provided for his family by both farming his land and by plying his trade as a cooper. The photo, above right, was taken by Ellen's uncle Gordon Wagner in 1976 and was provided to us by Gordon as part of his genealogy work charts and papers on the Wagner family. The photo, which I scanned, depicts Stewart Smart (a cousin) with a barrel made by Henry Wagner over one hundred years prior to the photo.

Elizabeth Wagner married Frederick Nusbickel around 1843. Elizabeth and Frederick had five known children, the youngest, Catherine or 'Kate' was born in 1855 in Rose, Wayne County, New York. Around 1880, Kate married a Lyons, Wayne County, New York school teacher named Josiah F. Kletzing. Subsequently, Josiah and Kate left New York state and moved to the Chicago, Cook County, Illinois area where they settled down and raised their family.

While I have used the Ancestry website to view and save many records connected to the families, when the Ancestry 'well ran dry', I turned to FamilySearch.org to explore the Cook County databases that are available. This is where I got lucky. Through FamilySearch, I was able to locate and save vital records for the births, marriages, and deaths for the five known children of Kate and Josiah. In the case of their daughter Kathryn Kletzing, I was able to go one generation further by finding an image of her 1912 marriage license to Ralph Clayton Moulding as well as the birth records for three of their four children.

Fortunately, I was possibly one of the last people to access the record images online. Yesterday, FamilySearch 'announced' through it's wiki that these images would no longer be available directly through FamilySearch. The wiki now explains, under the "Image Visibility" section, that, "Due to the provisions and guidelines of a newly revised contract with Cook County, FamilySearch has removed all images for Illinois, Cook County vital records from its historical records collection online; free indexes to the collections will remain."

This affects the following databases:


  • Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878 - 1922
  • Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers. 1871 - 1915
  • Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878 - 1922
  • Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871 - 1920


Although the images are no longer available online, they can still be acquired through microfilm viewed at a local Family History Centre, through the Cook County website for a fee, or through a Family History Library "photoduplication" request. I feel lucky that timing was on my side in the past few days as none of the now current acquisition methods is nearly as convenient as my experience.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

British Columbia, Canada Showing The Way With Free Online Records

Searching for many of my Canadian ancestors has been facilitated by them having lived for many generations in the province of Ontario. Records in Ontario for births, marriages, and deaths have been available through the Ancestry site. The Ontario records are indexed and there are digital images available of the records that can be saved on a personal computer. But, it is not free. Access to these records requires a subscription to the Ancestry site.

There are some means that can be used to obtain the same records for free but none of those opportunities mean staying at home. You could visit the Archives of Ontario or a Family History Centre to search through microfilm reels and print copies of the records you want, or perhaps your local public library has an institutional subscription to Ancestry, allowing you to find the records and save them to a USB key. Those research trips can be fun but still are not free with the cost of transportation and most importantly, time.

The province of British Columbia (B.C.) however, is leading the way by becoming the first Canadian jurisdiction I am aware of to post their vital records online and for FREE! As was reported by Dick Eastman on December 2nd, B.C. has posted more than 700,000 digital images attached to their fully indexed vital records.

My research has been halted, or at least slowed at times by what seems to be the inevitable migration of families to the west. So for example, a family living in Ontario during the latter half of the 19th century is attracted to and leaves Ontario for the chance at greater prosperity, often with free land awaiting, in the Canadian prairies. Eventually, family members venture a little further west into Alberta and B.C. That is certainly the migration pattern that I have seen with my wife Ellen's family.

I'll use Ellen's paternal grandfather, Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner (pictured to the right) to illustrate this point. Louis was born in Ontario in 1886 but by the early part of the 20th century, Louis had moved to Saskatchewan where he married Ellen's grandmother, Charlotte ('Lottie') Faulkner in 1912. By the end of his life, Louis was in B.C., living near his son Gordon in Comox on Vancouver Island, where he died in 1968.

BC has made available their records for births (1854 - 1903), marriages (1872 - 1936), deaths (1872 - 1991), colonial marriages (1859 - 1872), and baptisms (1836 - 1888). The records, as stated, are indexed and can be searched using a basic search or advanced search screen.

Here is what the search result looked like when I searched for Louis Wagner's death record.


In addition to basic data being provided in the listing such as gender, age, date and location of event, the listing includes a link to the digital image of Louis' death certificate. Louis' death certificate is typed so it is easy to read with the exception of the attending doctor's certification as to cause of death which is hand written and may be difficult to decipher.

With this record (and several others for other family members in both my family and Ellen's), I was able to enter additional facts with source citations included in my RootsMagic database and attach the record digital images to the events that each supported.

I'm hoping more Canadian provinces follow the lead of BC in making these records available and easy to access. As a Canadian researcher, life would be so much better.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Wagner - Faulkner 50th Wedding Anniversary


When my wife Ellen's grandparents celebrated the significant milestone of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1962, as is often the case for these events, a party was held.

Unfortunately, Ellen's parents were unable to attend due to business commitments but Louis Jacob Gordon and Charlotte 'Lottie' (nee Faulkner) Wagner's three other children and their spouses were present to celebrate the occasion.

Pictured below are the Wagner children with their parents: seated are Charlotte 'Lottie' (Faulkner) Wagner, Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner; and, standing left to right, Ralph and Phyllis (nee Wagner) Moore, Ivy (nee Harvey) and Gordon Wagner, and Bernice (nee Wagner) and Albert Sexsmith.




Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to meet any of these family members but that is changing. Taking advantage of recently being in the western part of Canada, I've now had the opportunity to meet with Ellen's only surviving aunt and uncle, Ralph and Phyllis Moore. This year, Ralph and Phyllis celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary, a milestone that I have a tough time 'wrapping' my head around as it is an achievement of longevity and commitment so seldom enjoyed by couples.

Congratulations to both of them!



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Louis Henry Wagner's Second Family



Just over a year ago, I wrote about the diaries kept by my wife's great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner.

Louis was born in 1857 in Grove, Alleghany, New York state to Rev. Jacob Wagner and his wife Margaret (nee Hailer). By the time, Louis was a year old, his father had decided to end his career as a minister and he entered into a business partnership with his brother-in-law, Louis Breithaupt. Sadly the partnership in a tanning business located in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario ended abruptly when Jacob died in 1858. The tannery that he and Louis Breithaupt established went on to prosper as one of Berlin's major companies with the Eagle Tannery building still a part of Kitchener's downtown core.


While Louis Henry Wagner worked in the family tannery, he eventually became a minister in the Evangelical Association and married Mary Staebler. In a series of diary entries, Louis described his wife's death of typhoid fever in 1887, on the first birthday of their son, Louis Jacob Gordon Wagner, my wife's grandfather. Just over two years following the death of his wife Mary, Louis married for a second time. His second wife was Sarah Lodema Moyer (whose family is the subject of voluminous 'genealogical record' compiled by Rev. A. J. Fretz in 1895).

Louis and Sarah appear to have lived a good and stable family life until their deaths in 1945 and 1941, respectively. Below is a family photo, taken around 1908 - 1910 of Sarah (far left) and Louis (far right) with their children, from left to right: Ida (born in 1893), Margaret Florence (born 1898), Louis Jacob Gordon (from Louis' first marriage, born 1886), and Carl Henry (born 1897).





Louis and Sarah Wagner are buried together in the Mount Hope Cemetery located in Kitchener, Ontario.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Avoiding the 1940 U.S. Census - Almost


You could feel the excitement and anticipation building to an end of March crescendo as genealogists with American ancestral connections awaited the release of the 1940 U.S. Census images. Social media was abuzz as the April 2nd release date approached for what some described as a genealogy 'Christmas Day'.

With both my paternal and maternal families firmly established in Canada, I thought it easy to ignore all of the build-up. The closest I was coming to the 1940 U.S. Census was my mother's family who lived in Detroit, Michigan in 1930 but they moved to Toronto, Ontario around 1937 or 1938. This lack of ancestral connection to the United States in 1940 meant that I didn't participate in any of the pre-release abundant number of webinars, forums, and learning opportunities made available. Why would I with no one to find?

I was able to relax and jealously hear from predominantly American genealogy community friends as they happily found their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in the census. In Canada, the most recent census records to be made available on a national basis are from 1911 (although the 1916 census records of the western provinces is also available). I likely have to wait until the latter part of 2013 to view the 1921 Canadian census.

I eventually realized, of course, that I had neglected to give enough thought to my wife's family which I also research. Although her Wagner ancestors had immigrated from Germany to western New York state and her second great grandfather, Jacob Wagner, had eventually settled in Berlin, (now Kitchener), Waterloo County, Canada West (now Ontario), I knew that there were numerous collateral branches of her ancestors who remained in the United States.

As an example, I started looking at Floyd John Wagner, my wife's second cousin twice removed. Both Floyd and my wife are descended from Heinrich 'Henry' Wagner and his wife Anna Marie 'Mary' Eckhard. Floyd was born 12 April 1900 in New York state, probably in the city of Buffalo. By the time Floyd was 18 years old he was working as a clerk at a local company and by the time he was 20 years old, he was a chauffeur and mechanic for the U.S. Motor Vehicle Service. In 1930, Floyd can be found in the census records for that year listed as a mechanic for the U.S. Post Office. Floyd served as my 'guinea pig' for delving into the 1940 U.S. census records.

The 1940 U.S. census is not yet indexed but that process is well underway and I expect the indexing to be completed in about six months. However, using the enumeration district from the 1930 U.S. Census along with Stephen Morse's "One-Step" finder tool to obtain the corresponding 1940 enumeration district, I was rather quickly able to locate Floyd in the 1940 U.S. census.


Hmmm, I thought, if there was one person in my genealogy database living in the United States in 1940 maybe there are others to find. Using the new "Who Was There" report in my RootsMagic database and I generated a report of all individuals who were or possibly were living in the United States in 1940. The report is 99 pages long! Oh, my. I didn't see that coming!

I guess I have more work to do with the census records that I didn't need to learn about because there was no one in my family tree to find.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Surprising Connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder


My wife's uncle, Gordon Wagner, spent several years in the 1970's and 1980's travelling and researching his family history. I have recounted in past posts how Gordon donated the original source documents that he gathered to the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Following his family history research, Gordon, a retired land surveyor, took up writing, a pursuit that resulted in a couple of books being published. In 1986, Gordon attended classes through "Elderhostel" and wrote an article about his experience that was to be published in the newspapers of Comox, British Columbia (where Gordon lived) and Andover, Massachusetts (where Gordon attended his Elderhostel classes). While I don't know if the article was ever published, I am in possession of a copy that Gordon provided in the summer of 1986.

In his article, Gordon explains that a part of his family history quest involved collecting a stone, essentially a piece of the land, from each significant ancestral farm. He had found the farm in Lyons, New York where the Wagner family had settled after their immigration from Germany around 1830. He had also found the farm of Sylvester Faulkner, settled around 1790, north of present day Belleville, Ontario and the land settled by Johann Jacob Hailer in 1832, located in present day Kitchener, Ontario. The missing piece for his collection was something from the farm of the Edmond Faulkner, the first of the various family lines to come to North America, settling in Andover, Massachusetts around 1635.

Elderhostel, a program that offered week long college courses to seniors, provided Gordon with an opportunity to attend courses and spend some time at Salem State and Merrimack College in Massachusetts with the hope of finding that original Faulkner land. Through serendipity, Gordon met with Forbes Rockwell, an engineer and local amateur historian who had meticulously mapped the original Andover settlement and traced each successive ownership of the lands. Forbes escorted Gordon to the Faulkner land, now the site of the Kittredge Elementary School in North Andover, Massachusetts.

Aside from reviewing and analyzing Gordon's research, I recognized that I did not know enough about colonial Massachusetts so I began exploring. Edmond Faulkner is one of my wife's 7th great grandfathers. Edmond's son John married Sarah Abbott, the daughter of my wife's 7th great grandparents George Abbott and Sarah Farnum (spelling variants include Farnham, Farnam, Farnaum, Farnem, and Farnom) in 1681. This George Abbott, a tailor, died intestate on 22 March 1689. Records show that his estate was later probated with his widow Sarah receiving the sum of 25 pounds. The records also show that Sarah remarried just a few months after George's death. Her new husband was Henry Ingalls, the 6th great grandfather of Laura Ingalls Wilder. So while Laura and my wife are not related by blood, there is a connection through marriage.

The new pet name for my wife - "Half-pint."

The URL for this post is: http://ianhaddenfamilyhistory.blogspot.ca/2012/04/surprising-connection-to-laura-ingalls.html

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding Philip Wagner

Whatever the motivation, Heinrich and Anna Maria (nee Eckhard) Wagner left their native Germany around 1832 bound for the United States. Heinrich in his new country would come to be known as Henry, and Anna Maria would come to be known as Mary.

Like many German immigrants at the time, they would find their way inland, using the Erie Canal to travel to Wayne County in New York state and settle in the town of Rose. According to the research of Wagner family historians conducted 30 to 40 years ago, it was here in Rose, Wayne County that Philip Wagner, the youngest of Henry and Mary's five children was born about 1834.

Henry Wagner was a cooper but there is no evidence that either of his sons took up his trade. His oldest son, Jacob learned the trade from his father but became a Evangelical Association minister. Henry's youngest son Philip married Maria 'Mary' Holzinger in 1856 at the age of 22. Philip and Maria seem to have immediately headed west to Mazomanie in Dane County, Wisconsin where Philip tried his hand at farming. Whatever the motivation, the farming experiment didn't last too long and by 1863, Philip and Maria had returned to New York state with the first three of their eight children.

Rather than returning to Wayne County, Philip and Maria (Mary) settled in Buffalo where Philip was able to work as a carpenter. Philip also answered the call for volunteers to fight in the Union army during the Civil War where he served as a Captain in the New York state 65th Infantry and later as the Captain of Company 'E' in the 187th Infantry Regiment. Philip was named in the dispatch of Colonel William Berens of the 65th Infantry Regiment, New York National Guard, dated January 30, 1864, that described the regiment's war effort during 1863 and in particular mentions Philip's involvement in the New York City Draft Riot on July 15, 1863: "Upon reporting to General Wool, I was ordered to take quarters at Centre Market, and to report to General Harvey Brown, which I did. Pursuant to orders from General Brown, the same evening I sent two companies to guard the treasury buildings, on Wall street, viz, Company E, Captain [Philip H.] Wagner, and Company H, Captain [Christian] Schaeffer, and two other companies, along with some United States troops, to restore order in the vicinity of Union Square, viz, Company A, Captain Seeber, and Company D, Captain [Charles] Geyer." Philip served for various periods in the army until about the end of April 1865.

Following the war, Philip seems to have settled into life in Buffalo, Erie County, New York, living in the Seventh Ward, working as a carpenter, and raising his children with Mary. In March 1889, Philip applied for a Civil War pension however, according to research conducted by Gordon Wagner in 1984, Philip met an early death by drowning on July 29, 1889. Although I have no evidence to substantiate this event, there is evidence that his wife, using her name 'Maria' applied for a Civil War pension as a widow in October 1889.

Clearly more digging is needed to confirm not just the death of Philip but the stories of his eight children and their families. And so the saga continues ...


Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Stamp Club As A Genealogy Source


I have found some things pertaining to my genealogy research in unexpected but I never imagined that a stamp club, more properly, a philatelic society newsletter, would be a source for genealogy information.

While working through one of my assignments for a National Institute for Genealogical Studies course, I found a newsletter for the British North America Philatelic Society's Postal Stationery Study Group. Specifically in the group's September 2002 newsletter (Volume 18, No. 2), there was an article about the postal stationery cards, more commonly post cards, used by The Breithaupt Leather Company of Berlin, Ontario. This is the tannery and leather goods company formed through a partnership between my wife, Ellen's second great grandfather Jacob Wagner and his friend and brother-in-law Louis Breithaupt.

Following Jacob's unexpected and early death in 1858, Breithaupt continued the company under his name. The tannery, known in Kitchener, Ontario as the Eagle Tannery, once one of the largest tanneries in Canada, perhaps North America, closed in 1950. Below is an image of the used post cards from the Breithaupt Leather Company that the philatelic society posted in it's newsletter.



The newsletter contained more importantly an excellent article written by Chris Ellis that details the history of the leather company, including Jacob Wagner's involvement. The article also as a bonus cites the source of much of its information including a PhD dissertation.

Lesson learned - expect the unexpected! Findings additional sources of family history information may turn up in the most unusual places.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Young Louis Henry Wagner


Louis Henry Wagner began a diary, really a set of what turned out to be four leather-bound diaries, when he was 15 years old. The diaries document some of the milestones, good and bad, that occurred in his life. The diaries are important records of the events in the Wagner and Breithaupt families during the latter half of the 19th century as well as providing an interesting perspective on the life of a young man living in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, Canada during that pre-cable television, pre-video game era.

Louis began his diaries on December 15, 1872. His accounts of life at that time are filled with church services that were clearly at the centre of the family's life, completing a range of chores and errands like "fetching" hides for the Breithaupt's Eagle Tannery or loads of hen dung for use as fertilizer, and fishing with his cousins. Christmas 1872 is described as a time of for church services in the morning and the evening. In between, the family "had a splendid turkey for dinner." Louis received a 'cravat' from his mother Margaret (Hailer) Bean (previously Wagner) and her sister "Aunt [Catherine (nee Hailer)] Breithaupt (pictured above right in 1907)." In addition, he received 25 cents from "Grandmother Breithaupt" [Barbara Catharina Goetze].

Louis was born in Grove, New York, USA in 1857. When he was only one year old, his father Jacob died, just a couple of months after moving the family to Berlin, Ontario. Louis' mother, Margaret re-married in 1862, shortly after Louis' fifth birthday. Interestingly, among all of his recording of the family member visits to his home and trips being taken by family members to neighbouring towns and villages to visit relatives, Louis always refers to his mother's second husband, Daniel Bean, as "Mr. Bean" and never references him as his step-father. While I can't assume that there were any problems between Louis and Daniel Bean, the references don't suggest to me a close relationship.

By the time Louis had begun his diaries he was living with the Breithaupt family, his Uncle Louis Breithaupt and Aunt Catherine along with their children, Louis' cousins. It is clear from many of Louis' early diary entries that he felt a particular affection for his Aunt Breithaupt. In early December 1872, Aunt Breithaupt gave birth to her ninth child, Catherina Louise 'Katie' Breithaupt. Aunt Breithaupt, as Louis consistently referred to her as, experienced a tough time recovering from the childbirth. As Louis described in his January 2, 1873 entry, "I had to go along to Preston with the teams to fetch hides today. Aunt Breithaupt was very weak this evening. Johnny [cousin John Christian Breithaupt] and I had to go and fetch Doctor Bowlby. We brought Aunt Brehler [referring to Harriet Brehler (nee Hailer)] along out. When we came home Aunt Breithaupt had given them all a farewell in this world, she thought she had to die, but she got better again."

In addition to describing the gradual recovery to good health of Aunt Breithaupt, Louis left behind a record of weather reports for his southern Ontario town and a unique glimpse into teenage life during a time long past.