Tuesday, December 28, 2021

From Whence I Came - George William Wellhausen


Here I am with my final post in the "From Whence I Came" series that I began at the beginning of this year.  Over this year I have posted on each of my four grandparents and seven of my great-grandparents.  This post, today, will complete the series when I post about my eighth great-grandparent.

George William Wellhausen was born December 28, 1869 in Detroit, Michigan to Charles Ernst Wellhausen and Christina Graumann.  He was their fifth child and first son with daughters Bertha, Augusta, Caroline and Anna born prior to his birth.  Two additional sons, Edward and Charles, would be born after George's birth.  In later years, George would become the father of my paternal grandmother, Ella Wellhausen Schulte.

While George was born in Detroit the family soon relocated to Clinton Township, Michigan in Macomb County where he met his future wife, Amelia Schluessler.  They were married on February 14, 1895.  This was Valentine's day which makes me wonder if he was a romantic man!

Together George and Amelia had three children - daughters Gertrude and Ella and son, George, Jr.

I do know that my great-grandfather enjoyed hunting and fishing as my uncle, Melbourne Schulte, relates that his grandfather taught him both sports which were activities that my father was definitely not interested in.  Obviously George enjoyed his hunting with his younger brother, Edward, as well as these photos depict:

Over the years George tried farming but it proved too strenuous for his health conditions.  He later ran a General Store which was more suited to his health.  He was also civic minded and served as the Clerk of Utica, Michigan from 1917-1918 and as Mayor of Utica from 1920-1921.

George was particularly fond of his granddaughter, Alvis Jean, who was born to his son, George, Jr. and wife, Eleanor.  I have several photos showing Alvis with her grandpa and it is obvious that he loved having her around as this photo taken July 1, 1935 shows:

Anolther photo taken in 1935 shows George Wellhausen, Jr. holding his son, Lynwood with Alvis Jean standing in front of her grandpa, George Wellhausen, Sr.  What the dog's name was is anyone's guess but I am betting it was the hunting dog!

Tragically, Alvis would pass away at the age of 5 after an accident.  Her death greatly affected George perhaps contributing to his own death a few years later.

George Wellhausen passed away on April 8, 1938 in Utica, Michigan and he is buried with his wife, Amelia, in Utica Cemetery.

Following George's death my uncle, Mel Schulte, asked his grandmother Wellhausen if he could have his grandfather, George's, car which he desperately wanted.  George had taught his grandson how to drive and had let him drive this car around their property on different occasions.  Amelia agreed to sell the car to Mel for $300 but not until Mel had proved to her that he had the money readily available.  We have had some good laughs about that remarking "that definitely sounds like great-grandma" who was known for her frugal ways.

A few years ago my uncle Mel submitted the story about the purchase of his first car along with a photo to Reminisce Magazine who selected the story and photo for their yearly calendar.  He was mighty proud of this selection and the memories of his grandfather that this evoked:

While I never knew my great-grandfather, George Wellhausen, I have been thinking of him on this the 152nd anniversary of his birth.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte

Monday, December 27, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 52 "Future"


Here we are - Week 52 in the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" Challenge.  I made it!  I am proud of myself for persevering through these last 52 weeks so that I could complete the challenge.  I now have 52 posts with stories of my ancestors which I enjoyed creating on my blog.

But now what?  Yes, I have recorded photos, stories and details of my various ancestors and their lives and they are now residing on my blog.  

What about the future?  Will blogs still appear on the Web as the years go by.  Will Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker still exist as the years go by?  Who knows.

While I do have my more than 40+ years of research on Family Tree Maker and also on Ancestry.com will those remain there in the future.  As I have seen in my life technology has changed and improved over the years from manual typewriters, electric typewriters, word processors, DOS computers and finally the Internet and  I have enjoyed all the research benefits that Windows computers have given me.

While I was never married and never blessed to have children of my own I do want my research to be preserved into the future.  My niece has already advised me that she wants all my research and I will give her access to my Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.  But while that data is very important it does not include all the other ancestral information.

That is why I have been creating books on my various family lines and having them professionally printed.  These will also be passed on to my niece and hopefully to her children and their families some day though her children right now are only 5, 3 and 6 months!

Here are the 4 books that I have created so far.  They are all different, created in different styles and formats but contain valuable information on our ancestors that cannot be totally found in Family Tree Maker and/or Ancestry.

My first book created in 2008 prior to my trip to Berlin to meet and visit with Kolberg cousins.  I created this book to give my cousin as a "host gift" as it contained information on our mutual Kolberg ancestors from Klein Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern that he was not aware of.  In return he gave me vital information on his branch of our Kolberg family which will someday be included in a larger and more comprehensive book on our Kolberg ancestors:

Book number two created in 2020 with a cousin of mine on our Schulte line from Beckum, Westphalia, Germany to Detroit, Michigan:

Book number three, in conjunction with the above book, also with my cousin's expertise.  This book details our Schulte ancestry from our 2nd great grandfather, Joseph Meyer Schulte, his ancestors and descendants.  This was a mammoth project that took many years but one that my cousin and I are very proud of.

Front cover:

and back cover:

And, finally, my most current book completed this year.  This is a book detailing my 2 1/2 week visit to Berlin, Germany in 2008 to visit my above named Kolberg cousins.  While I had intended to prepare this book soon after my trip, it only took me 13 years to finally knuckle down and create the book!

This 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge has now been completed and I look forward to creating more family books in the future.  I am seriously considering taking these 52 posts and putting them into a book - or 3 books considering the size of my posts - in the coming year!

I recently saw a quote that spoke to me regarding the preservation of our memories:

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us.  What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal" by Albert Pike.

I hope that my research, a very important part of my life, continues to be shared with generations to come! 

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte

Friday, December 24, 2021

From Whence I Came - Marianna Rubis


My decision to write a 12-post series on my four grandparents and eight great-grandparents was an exciting challenge.  To date, the ten posts I have written were enjoyable to write and not very difficult due to the materials and photos, information and identifiable data that I had on these ancestors.  I derived pleasure in doing these posts and feel that I did these ancestors justice as I personally remembered them or as others have spoken about them to me.

Today's post, though, is going to be the most challenging of all.  While all of the previous ten ancestors lived lives that were not perfection, had financial and personal challenges, I am confident that they all had happy lives that overshadowed the down times.  In all that I have learned about my great-grandmother Marianna Rubis, though, I don't know if I can safely say that her life was at all happy and pleasant.  I hope that I can do her justice in my tribute to her.

Marianna Rubis at her marriage on October 26, 1891:

The Polish birth certificate that I received on my great-grandmother states:

"No. 29

Komorowo on December 29th, 1874 before the undersigned Civil Registrar appeared today the laborer Lorenz Rubisch, who is known to us in person residing in Jeziorzany of the catholic religion and announced that a female child was born to Anna Rubisch nee Nowak, his wife of the catholic religion residing with him in Jezierzany on December 24 - twenty fourth of the year one thousand eight hundred seventy four at one AM at his apartment in Jeziorzany who received the given name Marianna.  Read, approved, and since the declarant doesn't know how to write, undersigned with his hand-sign XXX   The Registrar Sellentin."

Lorenz and Anna Rubis had two older children, Andrej Rubis (Andrew), born in 1861 and Jozefa Rubis (Josephine), born in 1867.  In April of 1878 they had another son named Stanislaus (Stanley).  Father, Lorenz Rubis, passed away on March 16, 1887 in Rzegnowo, Poland from tuberculosis.

Over the years in my research I have seen the surname spelled in a variety of ways but the spelling used in the US was Rubis and that is the spelling I have used in my records.

In 1888, following the death of her husband, Lorenz, Anna Rubis immigrated to the US to Bay City, Michigan with her two youngest children, Marianna and Stanley.  Despite extensive research I have still been unable to find a passenger list showing their immigration though the 1900 Bay City, Michigan US census shows the date of 1888.  

Anna's son, Andreas Rubis, and his wife, Marianna Wierzbicki, were married in Gnesen, Germany on February 17, 1884 and also immigrated to Bay City, Michigan.  

In addition, Anna's daughter, Josefa Rubis, and her husband, Thomas Krzwoszynski, also married in Gnesen, Germany on June 21, 1885 and also immigrated to Bay City, Michigan.  

While I have received the Polish birth and marriage records for Andreas and Josefa I am still unable to also locate passenger list information showing their immigration to the US.  However, by 1900 the Rubis family were all living in Bay City, Michigan.  I do not know what prompted their choice of Bay City but there was a large Polish community there and perhaps they had other friends from their home village already living in this town in Michigan.

I have no further information on my great-grandmother, Marianna, from the time she arrived in the US until her marriage on October 26, 1891 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bay City to John Albert Kijak.

They would have four children in the next nine years - Joseph born in 1892, Anna born in 1894, Martha born in 1896 and Rozalie (Rosa) born in 1898.  All four children were born in Bay City.

On Marianna and John Kijak's marriage record that I received from St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bay City it indicated that Marianna had been born in Zczierzany, Gniemenski, Poland.  A vigorous search for any village in Poland resembling this spelling was never found.  When I did finally receive her birth record I saw that the village was called Jeziorzany, Poland which phonetically resembled the spelling on the marriage record.  It is likely that Marianna's pronunciation of her birth place to the recorder of her marriage was spelled the way the clerk understood it.  In any event, her birth record is definitive proof of her birth place of Jeziorzany, Poland.

Once I had received birth records from Poland on both Marianna Rubis and her husband, John Albert Kijak, I could see that Marianna was only 16 when she married John Kijak and he was 30 1/2 years old.  Even though this was a common practice at this time with younger women marrying older men I had to feel sorry for Marianna, a young girl who could not read, write or speak English, coming to a strange country and being married to a man near 15 years older than herself.  

Was Marianna's family life a happy one?  Was it moderately happy? Were the four Kijak children growing up in a loving family atmosphere?  From all indications that I have found and after numerous discussions with cousins it would appear that they were not a happy family.  John Kijak was obviously not destined to be a family man.  Each time Marianna was expecting a new baby John would take a hiatus and leave the family home, go off and stay with other family members and be gone for months at a time.  He would return eventually, stay for a while and when Marianna was again expecting another child, he would be off and running again.  This has been shared with me by more than one older cousin who were old enough to remember "Uncle John" staying at their home for months at a time.  After the fourth such incident, Marianna had had enough.

BUT...divorce was unheard of for a Roman Catholic young woman of only 24 with four young children.  John Kijak again left the family home and went to live with other cousins; it would appear there were no lack of relatives willing to take him into their home.  And what about Marianna and her four children who were just 2, 4, 6 and 8 years of age?

Records indicate that in 1900 Marianna, her brother, Stanley Rubisz, and her four Kijak children, Joseph, Anna, Martha and Rosa moved to South Bend, Indiana.  They moved with a man named Frank Banner, Sr. who had been living also in Bay City.  In South Bend, Marianna entered into a common law relationship with Frank Banner.  I doubt that was acceptable in the Catholic church either but Marianna was determined not to get a divorce from John Kijak.

In short order, Marianna and Frank had at least five children - Emma, Frank, Jr., Anthony, George and James Banner.  The 1910 US census for South Bend, Indiana indicated that Marianna was the mother of 11 children of which 9 were living in 1910.  I later learned that Marianna and Frank had another two children who died in infancy.

This photo shows Marianna with her children Emma, Frank, Jr and Anthony Banner taken in approximately 1906:

Am I able to assume that life in Indiana was better than in Michigan for Marianna?  Was her relationship with Frank Banner happier than her marriage to John Kijak?  It would appear that the answer to both of these questions would be "No".

Marianna's daughter, Anna Kijak, told my mother that Marianna had a very sad and unhappy life without any kind of caring or sharing in her two relationships.  Both men were unkind, cold and mentally abusive.  I can only hope that neither was physically abusive to her but Anna never mentioned that.

In late 1917 Marianna became ill in South Bend.  Rather than caring for her himself, Frank Banner called her daughter, Anna, in Detroit where Anna and her husband were living.  He told her that her mother was ill and made the command "come and get her".  Anna and her husband did make the trip to South Bend from Detroit and Anna brought her mother back to Detroit to care for her.

Marianna Kijak passed away at the home of her daughter at 500 Piper in Detroit on April 25, 1918.  She was buried in Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery on East McNichols and Van Dyke on the east side of Detroit.

Following her death, her children with Frank Banner, who were 4, 6, 8 10 and 12 at the time, were placed in a children's home.  In short order Marianna's daughters with John Kijak, Anna and Rosa, rescued the children from the children's home and each took a few to raise themselves.

When I began my research on my great-grandmother, Marianna Rubis, I struggled to find her death certificate.  I had assumed she would be listed as Mary Banner and would have passed away in South Bend, Indiana.  It was only after receiving information from Marianna's daughter, Anna Kijak, who in later years lived in Florida (she lived to be 101 years old), I was able to learn the true facts:

Marianna had not been married to Frank Banner so her name at death was Marianna Kijak.

She had passed away in Detroit and was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.

The family had never put down a gravestone for Marianna.

This bothered me and I could not get past the fact that my great-grandmother was lying in a single grave, far removed from her family members and that nobody still living even knew she was there.  I made a trip to the cemetery and learned the exact location of Marianna's burial site, then went to a local monument shop and selected a gravestone to be placed on her grave though at the time I did not have the accurate birth date to use; that date would be found many years later when I received the birth record from Poland:

I can only hope that my great-grandmother is truly resting in peace in heaven and that she somehow knows that her great-granddaughter thinks often of her on this the 147th anniversary of her birth.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte

Monday, December 20, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 51 "Holiday"


One of the fun parts of the Christmas holidays are Christmas cookies.  My mother had an enormous amount of cookie recipes and each year we would decide which ones she would make.  One of my favorite cookies were her cut-outs.  Her recipe came from an old cookbook called "Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes" which I noticed is still available from Amazon.  The recipe for my mother's cut out cookies were called "Ice Box Cookies".  Why that name I don't know because the dough definitely did NOT go in the ice box before baking.  

By the age of 10 I was actively helping my mother with the cookie recipe.  It was a lot of work and a lot of mess but the end result were delicious cookies.  We frosted them appropriately to their design with the stars frosted yellow, the trees green, the bells and Santa were pink.  I can still hear my father saying "can you give me a few of those pink cookies"?  They were also a favorite cookie of my Aunt Virginia Schulte and when she and my uncle moved to Arizona in retirement I would send her a box of them every Christmas.  She would always tell me that it didn't matter if they broke because she would lick the crumbs right out of the Ziploc bags.  She also refused to let my uncle have any because she considered them her treat.  (Of course, I did make my uncle's favorite date nut cookies as well which traveled in a much safer manner).  My aunt was not a baker and to have these cookies were a special gift for her.

When I was 12 years old my aunt and uncle's son, Mel, Jr., wanted Christmas cookies and since his mother didn't bake I offered to go over to their house and make him our special cut outs.  I can still see him, a 17 year old young man sitting at their kitchen table watching me with fascination while I mixed the dough, rolled out the cookies, baked them, let them cool for a while and frosted them.  Needless to say I was there the whole day but it was a memory that I still have.  I need to ask him sometime if he remembers those cookies.  I bet he does!

I have German family living in Berlin.  We communicate via "What's App" because I don't speak German very well and my cousin, Uschi, doesn't speak English very well.  With "What's App" we can type our message in our own language, have it translate and send it to each other. It is a great tool and free to boot. 

The other night I woke up at 4 am because my little dog was interested in some ornaments on the Christmas tree!  As I often do when I wake up in the middle of the night I looked at my phone and saw that I had a message from Uschi from Berlin (where it was 10 am).  Of course I had to look at the message where she was telling me that she had made Christmas cookies with three of her grandchildren and she had the photos to prove it.

Evidently she was able to tell in Berlin that I was looking at the message at that time and another message came to me from her saying "don't you sleep" which made me laugh and I sent back a message to her stating "I wish I was in Berlin to sample those cookies".  It was a fun few minutes of typing messages, translating and sending back and forth.

From her pictures I can see that cookie making and cut out cookie making is the same whether in Michigan or in Berlin, Germany:

and the end result is.....delicious:

Even at 4 am in Michigan I was tempted to make a cup of tea and pretend I was sampling those beauties from Berlin.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte

Monday, December 13, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 50 "Lines"


The topic for Week 50 of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge was a tough one for me.  Finally I decided to write about my mother, Eloris (Kijak) Schulte, and the various times "lines" became part of her life.

In 1936, at the age of 11, my mother took part in a school play at Trinity Lutheran School in St. Joseph, Michigan.  This was a Thanksgiving play and she had lines to learn as part of this performance.  Here she is with her fellow cast mates.  My mother is standing on the bottom row, the second person from the left:

Another view of the same play with my mother in the second row, first person on the left:

In 1939 at her confirmation from Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Michigan, my mother had to learn the lines from her confirmation verse and recite it:

The entire confirmation class of 1939 with my mother in the second row, the fourth person from the left:

My mother had a great soprano voice and sang many solos over the years at church memorizing her lines.  Here is a photo of her in 1995 singing a solo at her church, St. Thomas Lutheran in East Detroit, Michigan:

Interestingly one of my mother's early jobs also included "lines".  In 1943, upon graduation from high school, she worked for Michigan Bell in Benton Harbor, Michigan as a "ship to shore" telephone operator.  When my parents were married and relocated to Detroit, Michigan she transferred to the Detroit office of Michigan Bell and continued her career as a ship to shore telephone operator.

"Lines" in various forms were indeed a part of my mother's 91 years of life.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte

Monday, December 6, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 49 "Homemade"


My maternal grandparents, Ella, nee Kolberg and Joseph Kijak, were loving grandparents whose memories I will carry with me forever.  They were also very talented in woodworking (grandpa) and craft work (grandma).  Here are some examples of their talents which I still have today and am proud to display in my home:

Homemade by my grandmother:

My christening slip and gown:

Christmas decorations:

Homemade Easter eggs:

Stuffed animals (two poodles and "Tony the Tiger"):

Baby clothes for me:

My Mickey Mouse stuffed animal which my grandmother made in varying fabrics for many of my cousins (it is stuffed with women's hosiery):

Homemade by my grandfather:

Doll furniture:

My mother's rocking chair:

Storage trunk which I still use today:

My grandparents were talented people and I know that they would be pleased to know that all the above items are in my home and are still displayed by me.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte

Monday, November 29, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 48 "Strength"


Here I am already on Week 48 of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge.  I can't believe that I have stuck with this challenge week after week but I am glad that I have.  It has been enjoyable reaching into my memories for topics for weekly posts.  Today I have a brief and humorous post depicting the topic of "Strength".

One of my ancestors that I have blogged about quite a few times is my paternal uncle Melbourne Schulte.  I had a close and loving relationship with him and he was my godfather as well.  I had him a long time; he was 92 when he passed away in 2013.  I will never forget him and the love that he showed me.

My uncle was also a very humorous man and the following photo shows that humor and strength:

The above is a photo of my Uncle Mel picking up HIS uncle, George Wellhausen, Sr.  This picture was taken in my parent's back yard on Dwight in East Detroit, Michigan.  I don't recall what the occasion was or why my uncle decided to pick up his uncle but it is true representation of his humor and his strength.

If he could see this now I know that he would be pleased that I have these memories of him and he would get a good laugh out of the picture.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte