Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I guess it's been a while since I posted anything here. Buying and owning a house has proven to be a bit more time consuming than I expected. We're unpacking things slowly, because there's work to do on parts of the house and it's easier to move stuff around when it's still in boxes. So my genealogy files are still in a couple of boxes. At least I know where they are. In addition, we're down to one car at the moment, because Laura's was totalled in an accident a couple of days after Christmas. That means that if one of us needs to go somewhere in the evening, the other one stays home. So my usual routine of going to the local LDS facility to look at films on evenings when Laura is out dancing just hasn't been possible. But that doesn't mean I've been totally inactive.

In late February, I sent mail to the archivist at St. John's - St. Luke Evangelical United Church of Christ in Detroit seeking information on my relatives, who attended St. Luke a century ago. I had found a marriage record in the files of Wayne County showing a Daily Hertle (sic) marrying a John Smith, something which confused me mightily, as I have a birth certificate for my great-grandmother showing her parents as Daley Hertel and Charles Schmitt. At least Schmitt and Smith are reasonably close. That marriage record showed that the officiator at the wedding was Charles Haass. Haass had been a clergyman at St. John's. I received a reply from the archivist a few weeks later with a number of documents. Not among them was a marriage record for Daley and Charles, though. The archivist tells me that Charles (Carl) Haass was retired by 1902, and that his son Otto was pastor at St. Luke's at that time. She checked the records of St. John's and St. Luke and the marriage wasn't in either. She suggests that perhaps the marriage took place at St. Luke but wasn't noted in the records for some reason. Very strange.

So there were a bunch of records, and among them was a burial record for Charles Schmitt. It says that he was born March 29, 1880, died July 19, 1935, and was buried July 22, 1935 in White Chapel Cemetery out in Troy, Michigan. That rang a bell for me. My grandparents and great-grandparents are buried in the same cemetery, so it makes sense that my great-great-grandparents might be there as well. There was no record provided for Daley (Hertel) Schmitt. I called White Chapel to see if I could find a death date for her. They were very kind and looked it up over the phone for me. Sure enough, she's there as well, and died on July 16, 1955. I had asked my dad if he remembered Grandma Schmitt, but he said he didn't; that's kind of odd, since he was almost twelve years old when she died. I tried contacting my aunt, who has a better memory, but her e-mail address appears to have changed. In any case, now that I had definite death dates for both Charles and Daley, I sent off to the State of Michigan for their death certificates, hoping that they would include their parents' names.

They did.

So now I know that Daley (Hertel) Schmitt's parents were Herman Hertel and his wife Wilhelmine, maiden name unknown at the moment. I had come across them as a family in both the 1880 and 1900 censuses as I was searching for Daley. But since I knew Daley was married by 1902, I didn't look at 1910, 1920, or 1930 yet. Now that I know the names of her parents, I'll have to look at those and revisit the earlier ones. Now I also know that Daley was born on June 16, 1884, in Detroit, where she spent her entire life. She worked as a cleaning woman according to the death certificate. The informant was her son Marshall.

Charles Schmitt's death certificate didn't tell me anything new about dates (which I had gotten from his burial record, above), but again, it gave me a couple of names. Charles' father, my 3G grandfather, was named Robert Schmitt, who was born in Detroit. His mother's name was Anna Souliere, my 3G grandmother, also born in Detroit. That's interesting; I had heard there was potentially some French Canadian ancestry in my tree, and this may be the beginning of it. I noted on Rootsweb that the surname Souliere was present in Quebec as early as the 1750s. So now I have to revisit censuses looking for Robert and Anna Schmitt in Detroit. My next step on this is to send away to the state of Michigan for Charles and Daley's birth certificates.

Now that I knew who Daley's parents were, I revisited the records I had received from St. Luke's. Among them was a burial record for Wilhelmine Hertel, my 3G grandmother, who died on August 12, 1920 and was buried at Mt. Elliott cemetery in Detroit on August 14, 1920. Wilhelmine is listed as either the wife or the widow (it's hard to tell) of Chas. H. F. Hertel. Possibly he went by the name of Herman? This will take some research. Most interestingly, this record shows the name of the town in Germany where Wilhelmine was born, Elsterberg, Sachsen (Saxony). Wow! So now I've crossed the Atlantic on this line! There's even a web site devoted to Elsterberg. Nothing about genealogy there that I can tell, but then again, my German is limited to knowing how to order a pepperoni pizza and a beer.

There was no burial record sent for Herman/Charles Hertel. It may pay to contact Mt. Elliott and enquire if they have a death date for him so I can ask the state for his death certificate, and also to ask the archivist at St. John's - St. Luke to see if she can find a burial record, which might also show his birthplace with any luck. I'll also have to look through the Germans to America series of books to see if I can find a record of them coming to America.

The Hertels were definitely here by about 1877. They're listed in the 1880 census with two children, Robert, age 3 and born in Michigan, and Emma, age 1 and born in Michigan.

There were some other interesting finds in the information from St. Luke. Immediately following the burial record for Wilhelmine Hertel was a burial record for Florence Minnie Miller, born to Russell and Evelyn (Schmitt) Miller. My grandmother had another sister! Unfortunately, she didn't live long; she was born on April 9, 1920, died on August 24, 1920, and was buried on August 26, 1920. I had never heard about Florence. I wonder if my grandmother knew, or if my Great Aunt Betty knows.

There was a baptismal record for my great grandmother, Evelyn Clara Schmitt. She was baptized on September 7, 1902. Her parents are shown as Charles Schmitt and Thekla Schmitt. I've seen Daley's middle name rendered as Theola or as Thekla, so this seems to be her.

There was a baptismal record for a child of Daley and Charles', William Hertel Schmitt, born April 17, 1923, and baptized May 5, 1923. Interestingly, immediately above that is a baptismal record for my great uncle Charles Warren Miller, son of Russell Miller and Evelyn (Schmitt) Miller, born April 23, 1923, and baptized May 4, 1923. So that means that my great-grandmother and her mother were pregnant at the same time and gave birth less than a week apart. Sadly, William Hertel Schmitt did not live long; there is a burial record for him stating that he died on November 25, 1923 of cholera, and was buried on November 27, 1923, in St. Charles Cemetery. I'm not familiar with that one.

The last record was a burial record for Arnold Hertel, the son of Chas. and Wilhelmine Hertel. He was born on April 7, 1889, died on December 27, 1911, and was buried on December 29, 1911. Again, there's the name Charles as married to Wilhelmine. That will take some investigation.

I think the next step is probably to contact Mt. Elliott Cemetery to see if I can get a death date for Herman/Charles Hertel. Then I can send away to the state for death certificates for Herman and Wilhelmine. I'm also going to ask for birth certificates for Charles Schmitt and Daley Hertel now that I have their birth dates. I'll probably also contact the archivist for St. Luke to see if she can find a burial record for Herman in the hopes that it, like the one for Wilhelmine, will list the town in Germany that he's from. The 1880 census shows he was born in Sachsen (Saxony), so I suspect he's probably also from Elsterberg, but I'll need to investigate that. Plus I'll need to look up censuses for the Hertels up to 1930 and revisit the 1880 and 1900 censuses.

Baptism Records

Burial Records

Death Certificates

Posted at 6:25:48 PM Link to this entry