Notional Visit to my Grandmothers

Posted for the blog meme Genealogy Blog Party hosted by Elizabeth O’Neal of Little Bytes of Life. April’s theme is “Time Travel to an Ancestor.” Questions posed for this challenge include (1) Who is the ancestor you will meet? (2) What question(s) do you need him/her to answer? (3) Is there a problem you can help your ancestor solve? (4) Will you reveal your true identity to your ancestor? If so, how will your visit impact the future? (4) Will you bring your ancestor to the future to meet his/her descendants? What will be the outcome if you do?

My dream time travel adventure is to Stark and Dunn counties in North Dakota in late summer 1930. The different counties are necessary because I want to meet both my grandmothers. The timeframe is dictated by my paternal grandmother’s death in November 1930 due to complications of childbirth.

The advantage of this time period for meeting my paternal grandmother, Magdalena Wehner Arnold (1897-1930), is that all but one of Magdalena’s 11 children were already born. Of these, all but one survived to adulthood. By that time, the family was living in the modest 3-bedroom home I remember from my childhood (1950s-1960s), and I have mental images of the house and its outbuildings as well as family lore about the youthful antics of my dad, aunt, and uncles who lived there as children and young adults. And, of course, I would be thrilled to meet the 5-year-old version of my own father (William Henry Arnold, 1925-2003).

Similarly, visiting my maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Jaeger Armbrust (1906-1946), at that point in time would almost certainly provide me the opportunity to meet the toddler version of my mother (Irene Agnes Armbrust Arnold, 1929-1970), who would have then been about 18 months old. Irene was an “only” at that point; younger sister Dolores and baby brother Elmer were born in 1933 and 1934 respectively. Sadly, I doubt Irene was the center of her parents’ attention in mid- to late-1930—I have documents indicating that in November 1930 Elizabeth and husband, Daniel Armbrust (1895/96-1936), defaulted on a mortgage for Daniel’s homestead in rural Dunn County, North Dakota (the area was so “rural” that it was marked as “No population” for the 1930 U.S. Census).

With both women, I would be more interested in general “getting to know you” conversation and observing relationships and lifestyle than answers to specific questions. It does occur to me, however, that conversation with Magdalena might be hindered by a language barrier. According to my dad and his brothers, they spoke only German until they started school, so I’m hoping one of Magdalena’s older children is available to interpret during my visit.

I doubt I would reveal my identity to my grandmothers. It seems to me that informing either woman about my time or place in relation to them would be so sensational and disruptive that it would probably ruin (for me at least) the purpose of the visit. I think it would be fairly difficult for me to help either one solve a problem, given my very limited understanding of their time period compared to the present. For both, however, I would try to encourage them by telling them what a good job they are doing (based on my time-advantaged knowledge of how their children turned out). Likewise, I doubt I would suggest a visit to the future for either of my grandmothers, though I’m sure they would be delighted to learn about the 10 grandchildren that resulted from the union of their offspring and absolutely amazed by the conveniences their children enjoyed compared to their circumstances in the early 1930s.

Daniel Armbrust (1897-1936): By his own hand

Posted for Week #20 of the 2015 edition of the blog meme 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks hosted by Amy Johnson Crowe of No Story Too Small.

My maternal great grandparents, Anton and Barbara (Ehli) Armbrust, and their seven children immigrated to the United States from Russia in May 1892.[1] According to the ship’s manifest, the children’s names and (approximate) ages were Wilh.e,[2] 19; Anton, 16; Marianne, 14; John, 12; Marcus, 9; Michael, 3; and Katharine, 6 months. Anton and Barbara had two more children after their immigration: Eva (b. May 1896[3], later known as Genevieve) and Daniel, my maternal grandfather.

Daniel Armbrust, was born in or near Richardton, Stark County, North Dakota on November 13 in either 1895,[4] 1896,[5] or 1897,[6] depending on which record you review.

Daniel’s father, Anton Armbrust, died in December 1904.[7] His mother, Barbara (Ehli) Armbrust, subsequently married Peter Heiser in July 1908.[8] Daniel would have been between 7 and 9 years old when his father died and between 9 and 11 years old when his mother remarried. Barbara was enumerated in the 1910 U.S. census as Peter Heiser’s wife, along with Mr. Heiser’s children, Geneva and Markus.[9] I have not yet located a 1910 census report for Daniel.

The next record for Daniel is his marriage to Rosa Mischel on January 7, 1918, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dickinson, Stark County, North Dakota.[10] A few months later, on June 5, 1918, “Dan” Armbrust registered for the draft, reporting Rosie Armbrust as his wife.[11] Rosa died on June 23, 1919.[12] Daniel is subsequently enumerated in the 1920 U.S. census as a laborer on a farm in Dunn County, North Dakota.[13]

1918 Armbrust, Daniel & Mischel, Rosa marriage record

Daniel married my maternal grandmother, Elizabeth A. Jaeger, on July 8, 1925, in a civil ceremony at Manning, Dunn County, North Dakota.[14] Daniel and Elizabeth parented three children: Irene Agnes (my mother), born February 2, 1929;[15] Dolores Catherine, born April 21, 1933;[16] and Elmer John, born September 4, 1934.[17]

1925 Armbrust-Jaeger marriage license & certificate (front)

Daniel died on February 19, 1936,[18] apparently of suicide following an unsatisfactory sale of cedar posts harvested near property he rented in Grassy Butte, North Dakota.[19]

Armbrust, Daniel 001R-2

This photo of Daniel, with its salt-and-pepper beard, was probably taken within a year or two of his death and is likely how his children remembered him. Sadly, his suicide left his widow, Elizabeth, with sole responsibility for their children, ages 7, 4, and 2 respectively. Daniel is buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Dickinson, North Dakota.[20]

[1] “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 May 2015), entries for Anton Armbrust family, lines 688 to 696, arrived New York, New York, 20 May 1892 aboard the Scandia.
[2] Likely an abbreviation for Wilhelmina since both the departure and arrival manifests identify this person as female.
[3] 1900 U.S. census, Township 142, Stark, North Dakota, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 0164, p. 10A, dwelling 130, Anton Armbrust family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 May 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1232.
[4] North Dakota Department of Health, death certificate no. 4127, Daniel Armbrust (1936); Bismarck, North Dakota.
[5] “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 13 May 2015.), registration card for Dan Armbrust, serial no. 2, North Dakota, Stark County, Roll: 1819496.
[6] 1900 U.S. census, Township 142, Stark, North Dakota, pop. sch., ED 0164, p. 10A, dwell. 130, Anton Armbrust family.
[7] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 13 May 2015), memorial page for Anton Armbrust (1842-1904), Find A Grave Memorial no. 18986940, citing St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Dickinson, Stark County, North Dakota.
[8] Tom Dietz, “Stark County, North Dakota Marriage Records, Book 6,” transcription (approx. 1907-1908), USGenWebArchives (http://files.usgwarchives.net/nd/stark/marriage/marriag6.txt : accessed 13 May 2015), arranged alphabetically by groom’s surname, entry for Peter Heiser, Sr., to Barbara Armbrust, 20 July 1908.
[9] 1910 U.S. census, Dickinson Ward 6, Stark County, North Dakota, population schedule, enumeration district 163, sheet 13A, dwelling 229, family 247, Peter Heiser, Sr; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 May 2015; citing NARA microfilm publication T624_1148.
[10] Stark County, North Dakota, Marriage Licenses and Certificates of Marriage, Book 10, p. 71, Daniel Armbrust to Rosa Mischel; Stark County Recorder, Dickinson.
[11] “U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database and images, Ancestry.com, card for Dan Armbrust, serial no. 2, North Dakota, Roll: 1819496.
[12] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 13 May 2015), memorial page for Rosa Armbrust (1896-1919), Find A Grave Memorial no. 103462057, citing St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Dickinson, Stark County, North Dakota.
[13] 1920 U.S. census, Dunn County, North Dakota, population schedule, Township 147, enumeration district 54, sheet 9-A, dwelling 159, family 159, Daniel Armbrust; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1333.
[14] Dunn County, North Dakota, Marriage Licenses and Certificates of Marriage, Book 3, p. 36, Daniel Armbrust to Elizabeth A. Jaeger; Dunn County Clerk/Recorder, Manning.
[15] North Dakota Bureau of Vital Statistics, certificate of birth 4105 (1929), Irene Agnes Armbrust; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Bismarck.
[16] Irene A. Arnold (Dickinson, North Dakota) to “Dear Dolores” [Dolores Catherine Armbrust]. Letter. Undated, estimated writing September 1950. Copy obtained from the Adams County Recorder/Clerk of Court in connection with a request for a copy of the marriage license and certificate for George Moe and Dolores Armbrust. It is believed the date added to the top of the letter is Dolores Armbrust’s date of birth, which was necessary because she was a minor at the time.
[17] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 13 May 2015), memorial page for Elmer J. Armbrust (Sep 4 1934-Feb 16 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 42585615, citing Springvale Cemetery, Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota.
[18] North Dakota Certificate of Death State File No.4127 (1936), Daniel Armbrust, State Health Department.
[19] “Dunn County Farmer Takes Own Life Here,” undated clipping, approx. February 20, 1936. Likely source: Dickinson Press, February 1936.
[20] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 13 May 2015), memorial page for Daniel Armbrust, Find A Grave Memorial no. 103461232, citing St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Stark County, North Dakota.

Peter J. Schwartz (1892-1916): Gone too soon

Posted for Week #15 of the 2015 edition of the blog meme 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks hosted by Amy Johnson Crowe of No Story Too Small.

Peter J. Schwartz was the son of Johan Schwartz and is, therefore, the stepbrother of our family’s patriarch, Peter Ernest Arnold. Peter Schwartz was born April 2, 1891;[1] Peter Arnold was born March 25, 1893.[2] Their parents, Johan Schwartz and Anna Oberding Arnold, were both widowed when they married in about 1896.[3] The two boys would have been about five and three years old respectively at that time, so it is likely they formed a brotherly relationship from a very young age. The family, including Johann, Anna, Anna’s daughters Maria and Anna, and the two boys lived in or near Dolacz, Torontál, Hungary until they emigrated in 1903[4] and 1904.[5]

Seated: Johan Schwartz and Anna (Oberding Arnold) Schwartz. Standing: Peter Schwartz, Anna Arnold, Maria Arnold, and Peter Arnold

Seated: Johann Schwartz and Anna (Oberding Arnold) Schwartz. Standing: Peter Schwartz, Anna Arnold, Maria Arnold, and Peter Arnold

Following a brief stay in Helena, Montana, where Johan Schwartz worked as a gardener at a county farm, the Schwartz family eventually settled in Scheffield, North Dakota, on four lots totaling about 126 acres on the western edge of Section 18, Township 137, Range 97.[6] Scheffield was a small farming community about 17 miles south of the county seat in Dickinson. By 1916,[7] about the time Peter and Susanna were married, John (Johan) Schwartz had acquired an additional 160 acres adjacent to his original homestead claim.[8]

Being as close in age as they were, it is not too surprising that the brothers started courting about the same time. In fact, the brothers and their respective spouses were married on November 21, 1915, at St. Pius Catholic Church in Scheffield. Peter Schwartz married Susanna Klupp,[9] and Peter Arnold married Magdalena Wehner.[10]

I don’t have any information at present to support this, but I am guessing that Peter and Susanna might have lived on the Johan Schwartz property, while Peter and Magdalena started their married life at Gladstone, a few miles north and east of the Schwartz property. Sadly, Peter Schwartz died on July 25, 1916,[11] just a few months after his marriage. Peter and Susanna’s daughter, Anna, was born sometime in 1916.

John Sibla and Susanna (Klupp) Schwartz were married on February 19, 1919.[12] John Sibla was a widower with two daughters from his first marriage to Barbra Kirstbaum. Their daughters, Helen and Magdalena, were born in Wisconsin. John and Barbra Sibla later moved to Glen Ullin, Morton County, North Dakota. Barbra Sibla died June 7, 1918.

John and Susanna Sibla together parented five more children: Theresa, Susanna, Mike, Claudia, and Leona. John and Susanna retired to Glen Ullin in 1948. John died in August 1957. Susanna died in June 1970. They are both buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery.[13]

Peter and Susanna’s daughter, Anna Schwartz Krisanits Andrahovitch, died at Rahway Hospital in Union County, New Jersey on May 25, 2000. Anna’s obituary reports three surviving sons: Peter Krisanits, and John and Michael Andrahovitch. She may also have had a daughter, Arlene Krisanits, but it’s possible the daughter died before Anna because she is not mentioned as a survivor in Anna’s obituary.[14]

[1] Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9541031&ref=acom : accessed 16 April 2015).
[2] Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005, registration card for Peter Arnold, serial no. 967, North Dakota, Stark County, Roll: 1819496.
[3] 1910 U.S. census, Stark County, North Dakota, population schedule, Township 137, Range 96, p. 6A, dwelling 70, John Schwartz family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 February 2015); citing FHL microfilm 1375161.
[4] Ancestry.com. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1948 and 1954-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006, entries for Johann Schwarz and Maria Arnold, arrived Baltimore, Maryland, 03 May 1903, aboard SS Neckar.
[5] Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, entries for Anna Schwarz, Anna Arnold, Peter Schwartz, and Peter Arnold, arrived New York, New York, 30 Nov 1904, aboard the SS Blucher.
[6] Johan Schwartz (Stark, North Dakota), homestead patent no. 288884; “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records.
[7] 1916 Keiter Directory of Dickinson, North Dakota, microfilm reprint, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, 235, Schwartz, John.
[8] Ancestry.com. U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010; Collection Number: G&M_97; Roll Number: 97. Map of Township 137N, Range 97W, northeast corner of Section 18, showing John Schwartz as a contractor for the owner W. D. Castle.
[9] Personal record: marriage license issued at Dickinson, Stark, North Dakota and certificate of marriage from St. Pius Church, Schefield, Stark, North Dakota.
[10] Personal record: marriage license issued at Dickinson, Stark, North Dakota and certificate of marriage from St. Pius Church, Schefield, Stark, North Dakota.
[11] Find A Grave memorial for Peter J. Schwartz, previously discussed.
[12] 1983 – 2008 Glen Ullin Yesteryears, Volume II. Glen Ullin, ND: Glen Ullin Historical Archives Committee, 196.
[13] 1983 – 2008 Glen Ullin Yesteryears, Volume II. Glen Ullin, ND: Glen Ullin Historical Archives Committee, 196, previously discussed.
[14] Anna S. Andrahovitch obituary, The (Newark, New Jersey) Star Ledger, 28 May 2000, via NewsBank.

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