Cousin Shares Hamm Treasure

Just a heads up to let folks know that on my recent visit with one of our Hamm cousins, I snagged a couple of pics that we don’t have in our own family collection. They have been scanned and uploaded to my flickr site.

Here’s a good one of George Hamm and folks in an automobile, the sign on the vehicle says Marshfield Auto Club. Amelia might be sitting behind the driver, the image is small and not very detailed, so I am not sure.

Thanks Larry! for trusting me with your precious pics.

Bastardy…

I swear I don’t go looking for this stuff.

I just wanted to know if the Isserstedt’s had a court case in Sheboygan County, because I remember a letter from George Hamm to his in-laws where he had asked if there was anything he could do regarding somesuch, and his father-in-law, Friederich, said to paraphrase ‘No. It’s all cool. They had everything in hand’.

Thankfully, Sheboygan County recently gave the Wisconsin Historical Society their court case microfilms. Yay! (Otherwise I would have to travel to Sheboygan to do research, and I didn’t wanna.) With a little digging, I was able to find that there was indeed a court case with Fred Isserstedt and, bonus, there was also a case that sort of mentions a George Hamm/en.

So, in a nutshell, it appears that both George Hamm and his brother-in-law Friederick Isserstedt, jr., (aka Fritz), were in court for bastardy. Meaning both men were accused of being the father of a young woman’s child. To be clear though, these are two different women and two different cases.

The case against George was in November and December of 1874. A woman by the name of Auguste Harp accused George of being the father of her child, which she had conceived in June of that year. The case against Fritz was in 1881, and appears to have continued to 1883. The accuser in Fritz’s case was Amelia Hecker.

About the time that George’s case was going on he was preparing to get married my great great grandmother Amelia Isserstedt, (which they did on 22 December 1874). Fritz had just married Phoebe Coon when his case was brought to court, (22 May 1881).

I can only imagine the stress and confusion of my great great Grandmother, and her sister-in-law at the time these cases came to court. Fritz Issersted in the pic below:

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Harp Family Picture copyhamm_george

The above two pictures are George Hamm and Auguste Harp (I found her picture on an Ancestry.com family tree site. )

The Harps moved to Iowa shortly after the case was brought to trial and concluded. And it is there that Auguste probably had her child. It is possible that Frederika Wilhelmine Harp Ludloff raised her for a short time, after which she was raised by Auguste’s parents, as a Minnie Ludloff is listed as a ward of the family, age 5, in the 1880 Iowa census, the age Auguste’s child would be in this census.

It is unclear in the case file if George was determined to be the father. Of course only DNA could prove it one way or another now. It is quite possible, and wouldn’t be at all surprising if George was. Although it would make for a refreshing change in the Hamm family sagas to know that he wasn’t, and couldn’t possibly be the father because a Hamm would never…nah.

In Fritz’s case we know the child was born 19 May 1881, but I have been unable to find anything more, not even if it survived. Amelia Hecker married Henry Sampse in 1883. And, again, we do not know if indeed Fritz was believed to be the father. It appears that the final conclusion of the jury was ‘Not Guilty’.

 

Little girl dies of broken heart…

This was such a sad and touching story that I had to share it.

George Dennis Cain born in Oconto, Wisconsin in 1882, was the fourth child born to John and Carrie Cain. His middle name appears to be in honor of his great grandfather Dennis Connelly. Like the rest of his siblings he grew up in the City of Oconto. And when he was old enough he married a young women by the name of Estella ___ . Sometime about 1900 he moved his family to Forest County, Wisconsin (Leona / Soperton). Estella and George had at least three children together: Milton, Marion (Mae) and Pat, (This was apparently not Estella’s first marriage though, as she had an 8 year old son Thaddeus who lived with them in 1920.)

Unfortunately for George he inherited that CAIN family bad luck, which appeared when he developed stomach cancer in 1925 and by the end of the year it killed him. He was only 42 when he died, another young death for the CAIN line.

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His daughter Mae took his death very hard:

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NOTE: I don’t know if the above article has the surviving child incorrect, or if it his obituary that is wrong, but something is amiss regarding the matter. In the 1920 census a child Thaddeus is listed as a stepson and Milton is the only child listed as George and Stella’s, so Marion and Pat must have been infants, 4-1 years of age, in 1925. I don’t know who George, jr. is.

George Hamm’s mysterious father…

hamm_georgeGeorge Hamm, Sr. was baptized 2 days after he was born, as the illegitimate son of Elisabetha Knobloch. His father wasn’t named. I have always assumed that Jacob Hamm was his step-father and the relationship was a close one, only because George took the Hamm surname by the time he was confirmed at the age of 13.

Now, however, I have re-thought this assumption. It is entirely possible that Jacob was his actual father, and Elisabetha and Jacob didn’t marry until after he was born. The reasons for this possible delay in marriage can be seen below:

Sometimes, they didn’t have the money to pay the marriage fee. Other times, the church was far away or the pastor wasn’t easily accessible. Some German states, in an effort to control the booming population, placed legal restrictions on marriage, making it more difficult. And sometimes, the couple simply didn’t feel that much concern about whether marriage or children came first. Peasant society had its own marriage customs apart from the customs of the state church. In earlier times, the community had viewed living together, making a commitment to one another, and especially having children as basically equivalent to getting married. Despite valiant efforts by churches, stamping out traditions and convincing people to first perform the ceremony in a church proved difficult.1

I have heard this information several times over the past few months from different sources. If the birth was illegitimate the mother’s name is the only one that would be listed. Which is why even if everyone knew who the father was, the church didn’t bother to put that information down because they weren’t married.

It has been estimated that illegitimate births may have comprised around 15% of overall births, depending on living arrangements, on laws relating to marriage, on poverty rates, on customs concerning women’s work, and other social factors. Many of these illegitimate births were legitimized by the subsequent marriage of their parents. Christening records may have the abbreviation pmsl, standing for per matrimonium subsequens legitmata (or legitmatus, depending on the gender of the child). This notation indicates that the premarital child of a couple was legitimized by the subsequent marriage of its parents. Generally, the mother’s name was crossed out and the father’s name substituted, a procedure frequent in the 19th century. The Church considered illegitimacy to be immoral, and recorded all deviant behavior. Often ridicule, shame and mockery were aimed at the mother. At times, clergymen recorded illegitimate births/christening upside down in the church books.2

I never saw the initials ‘pmsl’ on any of  George’s records, but, I don’t have his christening record, only his baptismal record. So unless I can do a yDNA test of the known male HAMM descendants of Jacob and his possible son George, I won’t know for sure who his father is. But, right now, I am not ruling out Jacob.

So the two reasons I am leaning to the relationship  as that of father/son, because Jacob and George wrote to each other, and Jacob appeared to covet the letters that he was sent, as indicated by his son Fritz’s letter to George; and because of recent information I have come across regarding marriage in Germany at the time he was born. Fingers crossed.

Source:
1. http://www.understandingyourancestors.com/ar/parishBirth.aspx
2. http://genealoger.com/german/ger_church_records.htm

Elizabeth George lost sister no more…

This is the second time that land records have helped me finesse my family tree.

Sometime last year as I was transcribing GEORGE family land records into my database, I ran across a very interesting one:

Catharine Booker
Int in 78 acres – Sancho to
William C. Ash

This Indenture made this 23rd day of June in the year 1868 between Catharine Booker of the County of Wetzel in the State of West Virginia of the first part and William C. Ash of the County of Tyler & State aforesaid of the Second part. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of fifteen dollars the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, the said party of the first part, as an heir at Law of William George deceased in and to a tract of land lying and being in the County of Tyler aforesaid, situated on the waters of Sancho creek and being principally in the occupancy of the said party of the second part and being the same land heretofore charged to the estate of the said William George deceased on the commissioners land books of said county of Tyler as 78 acres the interest of said party of the first part which is intended to be hereby conveyed being the undivided one twenty eight part of said tract of seventy acres which said party of the first part derived as one of the children and heirs of Elizabeth Booker deceased, who was one of the children and heirs of the said William George died, and the Said party of the first part doth hereby covenant that she will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed. Witness the following signature and seal

Catharine [herXmark] Booker [seal] 

So in June of 1868, Catherine Booker, a child/heir of Elizabeth Booker, is selling land she inherited from Elizabeth, deceased, who was a child/heir of William George, deceased.

All of the online trees I have seen in my GEORGE family research have no mention of a daughter Elizabeth. Which tells me that these folks have not done their research properly. And because they hadn’t done their land record research, look what they missed!

So, Catherine is a previously unknown grandchild of William and Margaret George. It is doubtful that when William died he was giving land to nieces and nephews, he had at least 4 children and 4 times as many grandchildren that were around to inherit.

Elizabeth, the child of William and Margaret, appears to have married a man named Booker, (possibly a Henry) and she died sometime before her father, William George. Because of the date of birth of Catherine, which is speculated to be about 1820, from a Wetzel County, 1870 census record (although, admittedly, it is not confirmed that this census record is the correct Catherine; it seems likely as she is the only one living in Wetzel County close to the place and time of the land deed record, dated 1868) the date of birth of Elizabeth has to be 1805 or earlier. As the birth years for the children of William and Margaret are all in the very latter part of the 1700s, Elizabeth’s probable birth estimation would fit the time period.

So far the only record I have of the existence of Elizabeth is this land record. A sad state of affairs for many of my female relatives of old.

 

Source:
Land deed filed in Tyler County, West Virginia,  V2P371 [FHL film 855,954].