#17 Kirche Blücher Church Records

My great-great grandmother Minnie Oakes (born Maria Catharina Wilhelmine Schröder) was born in Besitz, Mecklenburg, Germany on September 8, 1857 and baptized at the Evangelische Kirche Blücher on September 20, 1857. Her parents were Johan Joachim Wilhelm Schröder and Sophia Dorothea Christiana Martens.

Minnie_oakes_baptism_1857

I found her on Ancestry.com in the Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971 database. According to FamilySearch, “this collection contains parish registers from numerous Protestant communities and military garrisons found in former or modern German territories. The records are largely organized according to historical regions and church districts that may differ from current affiliations.”

kirche_bluecher

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The church at Blücher is located between Besitz and Boizenburg in Mecklenburg, east of Hamburg. (https://goo.gl/maps/5fJnjoDYNmLEuLF29)

Week 17 (April 22-28): At Worship

#9 Divorce of Mae and William Oakes

When Ancestry added “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952” a couple of years ago, lots of questions were answered in my family tree and also lots of theories were confirmed.

Finally, I was able to see the divorce record of my great-grandparents, Mae (Moore) and William Oakes, my grandmother Helen’s parents. They were married December 23, 1908 in Detroit and had one child. Mae filed for divorce on August 31, 1914 (when Helen was only 2 years old). It was granted on July 13, 1915 and the cause was cruelty and non-support. William did not contest the divorce.

divorce_mae_william_oakes_1915
Divorce record of Mae and William Oakes, 1915

It was also interesting to be able see divorces that were filed, but never went through. One of these I found was for William Oakes’ parents, Henry and Minnie. They were married April 8, 1877 in Dearborn, Michigan and had 4 children. Minnie filed for divorce on October 16, 1900 and the causes were drunkenness and cruelty. It was still pending at the end of 1900 and apparently never went through because Minnie still received Henry’s Civil War pension after his death. By 1910, Henry was at the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids and died in 1922 at the Soldier’s Home in Milwaukee.

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Pending divorce of Minnie and Henry Oakes, 1900

Week 9 (February 25-March 3): At the Courthouse

#7 Grandparents in Love

I love finding pictures of my grandparents when they were young and in love. So sweet!

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My maternal grandparents, Helen (Oakes) & Charles Wilson on June 4, 1932
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My husband’s paternal grandparents, Ellsworth & Lillian (Mann) Eklund, in 1948
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My husband’s paternal great-grandparents Leonard and Mayme (Kivi) Eklund on their wedding day, June 23, 1931

Week 7 (February 11-17): Love

#2 William E. Oakes (1888-1928)

The ancestor that was one of the biggest challenges for me was someone who lived relatively recently and is pretty closely related to me (great-grandfather). William E. Oakes was the first husband of Mae Moore and the father of Helen Dorothy Oakes, my grandmother. Reasons he was a challenge was that Helen was born in 1912 and her parents divorced in 1915. I’m not sure if she ever saw her father again. She never talked about him. Also, he died when he was only 40, in 1928, when my grandmother was only 16.

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William & Mae’s marriage 1908 registration from Wayne County, Michigan

The document that helped me the most and started unraveling the mystery of William Oakes was his and Mae’s marriage registration. Through that, I discovered their marriage date (Dec. 23, 1908), his age (21 and therefore an estimated birth year of 1887), and his parents names (Henry Oakes and Minnie Schroeder).

This helped me to find the Henry Oakes family in the 1900 census in Nankin Township, Wayne, Michigan. William was listed as “Willie Oak” with a birthdate of July 1888. In the 1910 census, though they were still married, William and Mae were not living with each other. She was a boarder with her mother and worked at a theatre as a ticket clerk. I haven’t found William in 1910 yet. Their daughter Helen was born June 19, 1912. William and Mae were divorced July 13, 1915. William married again on January 1, 1916 to Pearl Sullivan.

Another interesting document that tells a lot about William is his WWI Draft Registration from June 5, 1917. He and Pearl lived at 317 W. Kirby in Detroit, which would have been near the corner of W. Kirby and 3rd Avenue. His birthdate was listed as July 8, 1888. He was a foreman for Ford Motor Company. He claimed exemption from the draft due to poor health.

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I don’t have a picture of William, so this is the closest I can get to what he looked like. (from his 1917 WWI Draft Registration)

Sadly, Pearl and William had a stillborn baby boy on April 8, 1918. William died on August 31, 1928 at Receiving Hospital located at St. Antoine and Macomb in Detroit. According to The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1901-1922, volume 2, p. 1185, the Receiving Hospital was:

        “Detroit’s municipally-operated hospital located at St. Antoine and Macomb streets…and was opened October 12, 1915.
“It was established by the Poor Commission, now known as the Department of Public Wefare.
“It serves as an emergency hospital and clearing house for accident or injury cases occurring on public thoroughfares or of a public nature, and a psychopathic hospital for the safe and human handling of the mentally disturbed, and is under the control of the Welfare Commission. Other wards of the hospital are devoted to the care of medical and surgical patients unable to pay for treatment in other hospitals.”

According to William’s death certificate, he died of “Acute nephritis superimposed upon a chronic nephritis” with a contributory cause of chronic myocarditis. He was buried in Northview Cemetery in Dearborn.

wmoakes_stone

Week 2 (January 8-14): Challenge

#46 Henry Oakes

Detroit House of Correction, circa 1884 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_House_of_Correction)

Random Fact: My great-great grandfather Henry Oakes (aka Henry Oax, Heinrich Ochs, Henry Ochs) was sent to the Detroit House of Correction for 5 years for horse stealing in Wyoming Territory. He was received at the jail March 28, 1871 and was let out August 30, 1875.

I am so fortunate to be able to hear his side of the story from his 1891 deposition from his Civil War Pension File:

When I was discharged from the regular army I went as brakeman on the U.P.R.R. – ran from Laramie to Rollin Springs. Brake man a little less than a year – got my left hand [?] [?] and was in a hospital with that in Laramie City. I can’t tell how long. Went braking again on same route. I can’t say how long then the whole crew was “pulled off.” I laid(?) round Laramie I don’t know how long and I kind of think I came from there to Detroit. No I worked quite awhile at the European Hotel at Laramie City as 2nd(?) cook. Then I had charge of the dining room there quite a spell. Then to Detroit. Was brought to Detroit and put in House of Correction for 5 years for horse stealing. Had started herding cattle and was roped in. Was taking 3 horses from Laramie to Ft. Bridger for a man whose name I can’t recollect and was arrested with the horses in my possession. The man who sent me with the horses kept a [?] house at Laramie and he skipped out.

52 Ancestors Week 46 (November 12-18)

#44 William F. Ochs

St__Joseph_Daily_Press_Fri__Jan_17__1913_
Another article from the Jan. 17, 1913 St. Joseph (MI) Daily Press (this one says the children were a boy and a girl)

This post is a re-working of a post I did for a Thriller Thursday back in 2013 about my 1st cousin 3x removed, William F. Ochs. He was the nephew of my great-great grandfather Heinrich Ochs (or Henry Oakes).

William F. Ochs was born January 28, 1880 in Michigan.  He married Amelia Hartwig Hamilton on August 14, 1911.  Amelia (born 1871) had previously been married to Herman Hamilton and had 7 children with him.  Herman died in 1903.

According to a January 16, 1913 Detroit Free Press article titled ‘See Stepfather Slay Wife; Then End His Own Life,’  Amelia’s 2 youngest children, Florence and Ella were at home with their mother when William came home to their farm in Dearborn after a two-week bender.  He had a shotgun and shot Amelia in the head as she was trying to escape out the back door.  He then went out on the front porch and shot himself in the head.  The two girls ran to a neighbor who then notified the sheriff.

According to the death certificates, they both died around 8 PM on the night of January 15th  The inquest ruled it a murder/suicide.

Amelia was buried in Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit. Unfortunately, her daughter Ella died in 1924 at the age of 21 of pneumonia. Ella is buried near her sister Laura and her family, also in Woodmere.

52 Ancestors #44 (Oct. 29-Nov. 4) – Frightening

#19 John & Anna (Ziegler) Ochs

John and Anna Ochs arrived at the port of New York on April 22, 1852 on the ‘Oldenburg Gallion Hermine’ with their two young sons, Heinrich, age 4, and Conrad, age 11 months.

Passenger List from the Hermine’s Arrival on 4/22/1852

According to the New York Daily Times from that date, “The full tide of emigration has set in from Hamburg and Bremen.” On April 3, 1852, 1,500 people sailed from Hamburg alone aboard five vessels headed for New York. Before 1855, there was no central immigrant processing center. According to Rhonda R. McLure, “Before Castle Garden opened, though, immigrants were processed on the ships upon which they had arrived. Inspectors would get the passenger lists from the ship’s crew and go through them identifying the individuals” (from the article “Immigrants to Ellis Island Before 1892“). From castlegarden.org: “During this period, deceptive employers and unscrupulous money changers preyed on immigrants as they disembarked and attempted to secure work and lodging. In response, the State of New York’s Board of Emigration Commissioners established…the Emigrant Landing Depot at Castle Garden.” I hope this didn’t happen to the Ochs family!

John Ochs is next found in the 1860 census in Greenfield Township, Wayne County, Michigan (incidentally Henry Ford was born in Greenfield Township a few years later, in 1863). By this time, John was a farmer and married to Wilhelmine Mager, with two young children, John (3) and Mary (1). Heinrich (13) now went by the name Henry, and Conrad was 9. Since John and Wilhelmine’s first child was born in 1857, I presume his first wife Anna died by 1856. John and Wilhelmine had 3 more children: Minnie, Charles, and Louisa. The 1893 Wayne County Land Ownership map shows the 40 acres John owned in Dearborn.

John lived in Dearborn the rest of his life and passed away February 12, 1912 of senile decay. He is buried in Northview Cemetery. His wife Wilhelmine died in 1914.

Citations

1860 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com. Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

New York Daily Times (1851-1857); Apr 22, 1852; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times, front page.

“New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:275S-8FZ : 11 March 2018), Joh Ochs, 1852; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm.

U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918. Ancestry.com. Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

52 Ancestors #19 – There’s a way

#15 – Joseph Smiechowski

Joseph Ralph Smiechowski was my great-grandmother’s (Mae Moore Oakes) second husband. They were married in 1916 in Detroit, Michigan. I have found his last name spelled a few different ways, including Smiechowsky and Smilchowski.

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Smiechowski / Oakes Marriage Registration, 19 June 1916 (Click image to enlarge)

Joseph was born 6 September 1893 in Detroit to Wladyslaw (Walter) Smiechowski and Eva Wolff. He had one brother Edward (born 1895) and two sisters, Amelia (born 1898) and Anna (born 1900). In the 1900 census, the family was living on St. Joseph St. in Detroit.  In the 1910 census, they were living on Theodore Street. Joseph was 16 and employed as a shipping clerk at a tannery. On 19 June 1916, Joseph and my great-grandmother, Mae, were married in Detroit.  One of the witnesses was her brother, Earl Moore.  Mae had a daughter, Helen, who turned four years old on their wedding day. On his World War I draft registration card, dated 1 June 1917, Joseph is described as medium height, stout, with blue eyes and light hair.  He lists his dependents as a “wife and child 5 yrs old.” In various documents, his occupation is listed as decorator or painter.

jrs_wwi

In the 1920 census, the little family was living on Sheridan Street in Detroit. My grandmother Helen was listed as Helen Smiechowski, instead of Helen Oakes and as Joseph’s daughter instead of step-daughter.

1920 census (Click on image to enlarge)
1920 census (Click on image to enlarge)

Mae filed for divorce on 17 December 1924 and the divorce was granted on 11 May 1925. Causes listed were extreme cruelty and non-support. Mae went on to marry her third husband Alfred Johnson in July 1925.

In the 1930 census, Joseph was living with his parents on Pressler Street in Detroit.

I recently found his death certificate on the SeekingMichigan.org site.  Joseph died 21 Sept 1936.  His place of death is listed as Motor Boat Lane, Detroit, Michigan. This road appears to be next to a marina or an inlet of the Detroit River near the Manoogian Mansion.  His cause of death was “asphyxiation by suffocation drowning.” His father Walter is listed as the informant.  His address was 6629 Burns, and I assume Joseph was living there at the time of his death, but the certificate lists his address as unknown. Burns Street was only about 5 or 6 blocks over from Motor Boat Lane. I had no idea when I started looking for his death date, that Mr. Smiechowski had come to such a tragic end.

_________________________________

Image citations:

“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N3TS-CLW : accessed 5 January 2016), Joseph R. Smiechowski and Mae D Moore Oakes, 19 Jun 1916; citing Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, v 6 p 443 rn 131966, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,342,718.

“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K6XQ-4NM : accessed 5 January 2016), Joseph Ralph Smiechowski, 1917-1918; citing Detroit City, Michigan, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,675,371.

“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZW1-7LF : accessed 5 January 2016), Joseph Smilchowski, Detroit Ward 17, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing sheet 20A, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,816.

52 Ancestors #16 – How do you spell that?

#9 – Minnie Schroeder Ochs

Minnie

To find out about my great-great grandmother’s beginnings, I had to look at her end.  According to her death certificate, Minnie Oakes was born September 8, 1857 in Germany. Her parents were listed as John Schroeder and Sophie Marlin.  I’ve only been able to look at an index of the record, so I’m not sure if her mother’s maiden name was indexed right.  I haven’t looked at any German records yet.  In the 1880 U.S. Census, her birthplace as well as that of her parents was listed as Mecklenberg.  The 1900 census lists her year of arrival as 1872.

According to the marriage registration, Wilhelmina (Minnie) Schroeder and Heinrich Ochs (Henry Oakes) married April 8, 1877 in Dearborn, Michigan.  Henry had served in the 24th Michigan, Company F from 1864-1865.  In the June 1880 U.S. Census, the couple, listed as Ochs, was living in Taylor, Wayne County, Michigan.  Henry was 33 and was a farmer, while Minnie was 23.  In this census, Henry’s birthplace was listed as Hesse-Darmstadt, while Minnie’s was Mecklenberg.  They had two children, Frank, aged 3 and Tillie (Matilda), aged 4 months.  Frank Henry Oakes had been born February 16, 1878 and Matilda was born January 9, 1880.

Another son (my great-grandfather), William E. Oakes, was born July 8, 1888.  Another daughter, Emma Oakes, was born in Wayne, Wayne County, Michigan on July 19, 1890.

In the Friday, October 13, 1899 Wyandotte (Mich.) Herald, two real estate transfers stand out.  “Henry Loss to Minnie Oakes, lots 28 and 29 of blk. 2, village of Wayne, $600. Henry Oakes to Henry Loss, same land, $600.”  In the 1900 census, Henry Loss was listed as the Post Master.

In the June 1900 U.S. Census, the family is living in Nankin Township, Wayne Village, Wayne County, Michigan.  Henry was listed as 52 and a day laborer and Minnie was listed as 43.  Frank was 22, Tillie was 20, Willie was 11, and Emma was 9.  Minnie filed for divorce on October 16, 1900 for drunkenness and cruelty, but it is listed as pending and I can’t find a record granting the divorce.

In the 1910 census, Henry was listed as an inmate and Commissary Department assistant at the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  His marital status was married.  I have been unable to find Minnie in the 1910 census.  Between 1916 and 1918, he lived at the Soldier’s Home in Dayton, Ohio, then after 1918 at the Soldier’s Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In the 1920 census, Minnie was living with her daughter Tillie and her husband Lee Brice in Detroit.  His mother was also living with them.  Minnie’s marital status was separated.  At the same time,  Henry was an inmate and dish washer at the Disabled Soldier’s Home in Wauwatosa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He was 74 and listed as married.

On February 19, 1922, Henry died at the home in Wisconsin of peritonitis and intestinal obstruction.  His effects ($6.10 in personal belongings and 17 cents in cash) were shipped to his widow, Minnie, living at 1616 Hurlbut Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.  Henry was buried in Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee.

In the 1930 census, three widows were living on Hurlbut Avenue in Detroit.  Tillie was 50.  Her husband Lee had died the previous year.  Her mother and mother-in-law were still living with her.

Minnie died March 9, 1936 in Detroit.  She is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dearborn near her son William who had died August 31, 1928.

52 Ancestors #9 – Close to Home