Friday, August 19, 2005

Did Daniel Krauss serve in the Civil War?

The Krauss family emigrated from Germany in about 1861, first settling in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
“Shortly after their arrival in this country, the family’s oldest son, Daniel, entered the service as a blacksmith shoeing horses for the Union Army in the St. Louis area. Here he re-established connections with the Kuehner family* of Columbia, old friends of his parents. In time, they and young Daniel influenced his parents to leave Wisconsin and migrate to Illinois.” (from The KRAUSS Family of Columbia, Illinois and Descendants of the Second Daughter, Caroline, 1964 by Florence Young Barnes).
There was some irony in this, because one probable reason the Krauss family left Germany was the continuing political unrest and the liklihood their sons would be pressed into the military.

The question is, can we find any evidence of Daniel's service during the Civil War?

The short answer is that no clear evidence that Daniel was in the military has been found. There were enlisted men that worked as military blacksmiths. However, it is possible that Daniel was pressed into service as a civilian, thus was never officially in the military. So what information is out there?

1. The only Daniel Krauss (or Kraus, Krauss, Krause, Krausz, Krans) that is listed in the searchable Civil War records is probably not related. It is unclear whether Daniel began serving the army in Wisconsin, or if he traveled to the St. Louis area first.

• A Daniel Krauss enlisted in the 26th Infantry Regiment of Missouri Volunteers (company G). Daniel was an 18 year old resident of St. Louis when he enlisted on November 23, 1861. No occupation is listed. In 1861 our Daniel would have been 21, so it's unlikely this was the same person.

• A John D. Krauss (note that Daniel's father's full name was Johann Daniel) served in the 5th Regiment of the Missouri Infantry Volunteers, Company A. This regiment was formed in St. Louis. No additional details about John's service are known. According to the Civil War pension application files, he was married to a woman named Jacobina, so he was definitely not our Daniel.

2. If Daniel did serve during the Civil War, he could have been in the same unit as Louis Kuehner. Unfortunately, we don't know if Louis Kuehner was a civil war veteran either. In 1860 he and his family* were living in Columbia, Monroe County, Illinois. Some Monroe County men traveled to St. Louis to enlist, so it isn't unreasonable that Louis did so as well. (note that there was a different Louis Kuehner of approximately the same age that lived in St. Louis). Louis was 30 years old in 1861.

• A "Louis Kuerner" enlisted as a private in the 43rd Illinois Infantry, Company H. At that time he was a resident of St. Louis. Many of the other members of this unit resided in Monroe County at the time they enlisted.

• A "Louis Kuhner" enlisted in Company G of the 13th Enrolled Missouri Militia. Louis enlisted September 25, 1884 in St. Louis and was relieved from duty October 31 of that year (he was AWOL October 22 - November 2).

Unfortunately from this sketchy information, we cannot conclude that either Daniel or Louis were enlisted during the Civil War. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Daniel did not serve in the capacity of an unenlisted blacksmith, either. The question remains open. (Daniel did work as a blacksmith his entire life in Columbia).

* We know that the Kuehners were more than "old friends"; Louis' wife Catharine (nee Maurer) was Daniel's cousin. See the post about the Krauss family in Becherbach for more details.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (maintained by the National Park Service)
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865
Missouri Soldiers Database: War of 1812 - World War I
Missouri's Union Provost Marshal Papers: 1861 - 1866 (not a database of soldiers, rather "thousands of pages of documents detailing the way the provost marshal affected the lives of Missouri citizens who came into contact with the Union Army.")
Missouri Militias
Database of Illinois Civil War Veterans
Database of Illinois Civil War Veterans of Missouri Units
Civil War Soldiers buried in Monroe County, Illinois
German Americans in the Civil War

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Our Ancestors in 1800

I've been playing with the Google maps API to generate a map showing where the ancestors of Esther (Kraus) Mabry lived in 1800. I've pinpointed where the Krauss, Wenkel, Stumpf, Lepp, Eckert, and Wehinger families were living in what is now Germany and Austria.

The advantage of using Google maps is that I can insert "pins" with information at different locations. The viewer can zoom in on any point and see either a standard map or a satellite view. I am still learning how the system works, so comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Map showing where our ancestors lived in 1800.

At the moment only the most recent web browsers (Firefox/Mozilla, IE 5.5+, and Safari 1.2+) can be used to view the maps. I've found that Firefox works the best.

Download Firefox for free.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Wehinger Family in Dornbirn, Austria - What the Fugger?

Paulina Wehinger was born in 1832, in Dornbirn, Austria. When she left Austria for Illinois in the early 1850s, Paulina's Wehinger ancestors had lived in Dornborn for at least two hundred and fifty years. (Paulina's Dornbirn ancestors)

Dornbirn is an Alpine city in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg (formerly the western part of the Tirol). It is about 15 miles south of Bregenz and the Bodensee (Lake Constance).

The city of Dornbirn has put together a wonderful database of people that were born, married or died there. The families are linked so that you can trace a lineage either forward or backward through time*.
Johannes Wehinger (born 1600) is our earliest known Wehinger ancestor.

Our lineage is as follows:

Johannes Wehinger (1600) m. Anna Kaufmann (1600)
-- Jacob Wehinger (1630) m. Maria Schwendinger (1630)
---- Josef Wehinger (1665) m. Barbara Klocker (1663)
------ Anton Wehinger (1695) m. Franziska Wehinger (1696) [daughter of Kilian Wehinger]
--------- Josef Wehinger (1734) m. Maria Elisabetha Hefel (1743)
------------ Johann Martin Wehinger (1779-1839) m. Margaretha Einsle (1792)
---------------- Paulina (born 1832) m. William Lepp in Monroe County, Illinois

Paulina, her brother Joseph "Albert" and possibly her siblings Johann Friedrich, Maria Elisabetha, and Joseph "Anton" all emigrated to Monroe County, Illinois in the early 1850s.

The database includes all the known information about an individual, including birth and death dates, father (Vater), mother (Mutter), spouse (Ehe), sons (Sohn), and daughters (Tochter).

The database also includes some specialized information.


The database lists the "Ort" of the individual, where known. "Ort" translates as "city" or "location". In this case, the Ort refers to an area in the city of Dornbirn. These can be found on the Dornbirn Stadtplan (city map). Streets and districts are listed in the pull down menus "Straßen" and "Spezielle Orte".

Begining with Anton (born 1695), our Wehinger ancestors lived in the "Markt" (market) area. Johann Martin Wehinger (born 1779) lived at 26 Riedgasee in Markt.

VULGONAME - what's a Fugger?

The database also lists the "Vulgoname" associated with an individual. In Austria, the Vulgoname was used instead of a surname or family name. It often was often the occupation or father's name of the individual. In our family, use of the father's name as a Vulgoname was common (for example, Anton Wehinger, son of Josef, had the Vulgoname of Josefs).

In addition to their father's name, our Wehinger ancestors often had the Vulgoname of Fugger or Fucker (from Johannes to Johann Martin). What did this refer to? It was suggested to me by Harald Rhomberg (Dornbirn Archives), that our ancestors may have worked for the Fugger family.

The Fugger family originated in Augsburg, Germany in the 1300s. They began as weavers, and eventually headed the weaver's guild. They began to loan money to the ruling family, becoming the first banking family in Europe. In the 1500s, Jacob Fugger opened a number of silver, copper and lead mines, some of which were in the Tyrol region. The Fuggers eventually became the imperial bankers of Austrian Hapsburgs. The Fugger mine holdings were profitable until cheaper silver began to be imported from the Americas in the mid-1600s.

The Fugger mines were eventually closed, but the Fugger bank operates today.

So, what was the association of our Wehinger ancestors with the Fuggers? It does not appear that there were mines close to the city of Dornbirn, so perhaps they were involved in banking.

A current German dictionary indicates that "Fugger" is both a family name, and has the secondary meaning of "übertragen Großhändler" (wholesaler or wholesale merchant) or "Kaufmann" (merchant). "Fucker" is a synonym that means "Großhändler" (wholesaler) or can alternatively mean "kleiner Dieb" (pilferer).

It appears that Fugger/Fucker meant wholesaler or merchant at least by the mid-1800s, and it seems a more likely occupation for the Wehinger family than miner, banker or thief.

* To access information in the database, click the link "In English", read the terms, check the "accept" box, then click the "to the informations" button. If you read German you can simply check the "Ich akzeptiere" box and click on the "zu den Daten" button.

• About Dornbirn (with photos)
• Dornbirn Municipal Museum (you can change the [Sprache] to English)
• Description of Vorarlberg with map
• Map of Vorarlberg showing Dornbirn
• German Society at the Close of the Middle Ages (about the Fuggers)
• History of Austria
• The Birth of Capitalism
•Alpbach, center of Fugger mining in Austria (this is in Tirol, west of Vorarlberg).
• Fürst Fugger Privatbank

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Wenkels on the Ship Iris

Johann "Conrad" Christoph Wenkel married Henriette Bierwirth in 1822 in Großwenden (now part of Großlohra), which today is in the German state of Thuringia (Thüringen). The Wenkel family lived in Ebeleben, southwest of Sondershausen. According to family stories the Wenkel family emigrated to America between 1843 and 1846, traveling up the Mississippi River to Monroe County, Illinois. A new database of immigrants arriving at Castle Garden shows that the Wenkel family did in fact come to America in 1846 on the ship Iris, stopping first in New York City on their way to Illinois.

Castle Garden, located at the tip of Manhattan, was the first official immigration center in America, and operated until the opening of Ellis Island in 1892. The Castle Garden database includes ship passenger lists from 1830-1913.

A search of the database reveals that the Wenkel family arrived in America aboard the ship Iris on July 13,1846:
Name_______________Occupation_________________Age Sex
CONR.______WENKEL Brick Maker / Manufacturer__46 M
HENRIETTE__WENKEL Unknown_____________________45 F
FREIDRICKE_WENKEL Unknown_____________________16 F
WM.________WENKEL Unknown_____________________14 M
AUGUSTA____WENKEL Child, Youngster____________10 F
AMELIA_____WENKEL Child, Youngster_____________8 F
MINA_______WENKEL Child, Youngster_____________5 F
HENRIETTE__WENKEL Child, Youngster_____________3 F

How do we know this is the correct Wenkel family?

1. The ages are generally correct:
- Johann "Conrad" Wenkel was born in May 1800 (age 46)
- Henriette (Birwirth) Wenkel was born August 1804 (age 42 - in handwritten record a 2 can look like a 5)
- Friedericke Henrietta Wenkel was born in December 1830 (age 16)
- William - Conrad Wenkel (our ancestor) was born in January 1832 (age 14)
- Auguste Wenkel was born May 1836 (age 10)
- Friedericke "Emilia" Wenkel was born about 1838 (age about 8)
- Wilhelmine "Mina" Wenkel was born in February 1841 (age 5)
- Henriette Wenkel was born in March 1843 (age 3)

2. Conrad Wenkel's occupation is reasonable:
According to some sources, Conrad Wenkel was a linen weaver in Germany*. However, according to those same sources, Conrad's father, Johann Friedrich Wenkel, was a brickmaker in Lohra, and may have owned a brickyard. It is not unreasonable to think that his son also learned brickmaking (perhaps in addition to linen weaving).

3. A further search of the database shows that that Heinrich and Henriette (Wenkel) Mundt, with their daughter Mina were on the same ship.
Henriette (Wenkel) Mundt was the sister of Conrad Wenkel. The Mundt family (shortened to Mund) also settled in Columbia, Illinois. (note that they were later joined by Andreas Christoph Mund and family. Andreas was son of Heinrich Christoph and Juliane Dorothea (Wenkel) Mundt, making him a likely cousin of both Heinrich Mund and Conrad Wenkel).

Taken together, it looks like this is our Wenkel family on the Iris. After arriving in New York, they probably continued on to New Orleans, either on the Iris or a different ship.

I have not found a picture or description of the Iris, which was the name of a number of different 19th century ships. Iris was probably a "bark" (or "barque").

It should be noticed that the three oldest Wenkel children were not found on the passenger list: Caroline "Lena" Wenkel (born 1824), Friedrich "Fritz" Wenkel (born 1826), and Johanna "Dorothea" Wenkel (born 1827). It is unclear if they are simply indexed incorrectly (the database does not allow you to view the entire list, just to search) or if they took a different ship to America. We know that both Lena and Dorothea were in Monroe County by September 1846.

*Information about Johann "Conrad" Wenkel in Ebeleben from "Wenkel/Wenkle Cousins", Update #2, Christmas 1983

map of the Nordhausen region, showing Grosswenden, Sondershausen and Ebeleben
Thuringian States in 1848 (Ebeleben is in the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, in purple).

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The Krauss family from Becherbach

Our Krauss (Krauß) ancestors lived in the village of Becherbach in what is now the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz.

One Village Many States

Becherbach is nestled in the mountains east of the Rhine (Rhein) River in the parish of Gangloff, near the town of Roth. Coins and other artifacts found in this area show that it has been occupied since Roman times. (Map of Becherbach and region)

The earliest documented use of the name "Becherbach" was in 1325. The name apparently has nothing to do with drinking (bechern). Instead, a "Becher" or "Pecher" was a vessel for collecting pitch. "Bach" refers to the town's proximity to a brook.

Over the centuries, the region around Becherbach has been claimed by numerous states.

• In the 15th Century, this area was part of the Graftschaf Veldenz, then the Duchy of Pfalz-Zweibrücken.
• 1688-1697: War of the Palatinate, between France and a coalition lead by Britain.
• 1795 : France occupies the west bank of the Rhein. The region around Becherbach became part of the Cantonof Lauterecken, Département of Mont-Tonnerre (Donnersberg).
• 1816 : After the defeat of Napolean, the region became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria (Königreich Bayern). Note that this is not near the present day state of Bavaria. This region was known as Payrische Pfalz, Rheinpfalz, or Rheinbayern.

Becherbach was part of Bavaria until 1935

The Krauss Family
The earliest record we have of the Krauss family is the marriage of Johann Daniel Krauss and Marie Elisabeth Hoffmann on December 22, 1810 in Becherbach. Based on my (very rough) translation from the French, "Jean Daniel Krauss", age 28 years 8 months, was a bachelor farmer in Becherbach, the son of Jean Daniel Krauss, deceased and Anne Marguerithe née Krauss. He married Marie Elisabethe Hoffmann, age 16 years 6 months, daughter of Pierre Hoffmann and Marie Barbe neé Porr of Roth, both deceased, and granddaughter of Abraham Anne Elisabeth Hoffmann of Desloch.

Johann Daniel and Marie Elisabeth had at least seven children.

Their eldest daughter Catharine, born in 1811, married Abraham Maurer in Becherbach in 1834. The Maurers and their children Johann and Catharine emigrated to America in 1837. Abraham died in 1839 in Monroe County, Illinois. The widow Catharine married a second time, to Jacob Rau, and had three sons, Jacob, Peter and Benedict. Catharine died in Columbia, Illinois in 1869.

Johann Daniel's oldest son (and our ancestor), Daniel Krauss, was born in 1817. In about 1839 he married Catharine Jaeger, of Schönborn. In November of 1839, Daniel's parents gave him property in Becherbach, and by 1845* he had a residence with cellar, barn, stalls for animals and barnyard. As recalled by his daughter Caroline:
“Land was precious, and sheds for livestock were often attached to the house to save space. Cows were taken out each morning to graze where land was not being cultivated. Every member of the family had his work. In many respects it was a simple life.” (from “The KRAUSS Family of Columbia, Illinois and Descendants of the Second Daughter, Caroline” by Florence Young Barnes)

Daniel and Catharine and their eight children (Daniel, Catherine, Caroline, Phillip, John, Jacob, Elizabeth and Peter) emigrated to America in about 1861. They lived a couple years in Whitewater, Wisconsin before finally moving to Columbia, Illinois, joining Daniel's sister Catharine, and his cousins John Maurer, Catharine (Maurer) Kuehner, and the Rau boys. Catharine Krauss died in 1882, and Daniel died in 1887. Both are buried in Evangelical St. Paul Cemetery in Columbia.

*Becherbach Anno 1845 (property tax register). Copy received by Ralph Knowles from the Becherbach Burgermeister in May 1988, and kindly shared with me.

1789 Map of the Pfalz (Becherbach is in the northwestern quadrant, in Herzogtum Pfalz-Zweibrücken (light blue) south of Meisenheim).
1813 Map of the Pfalz
1820 Map of Central Europe (the Pfalz region is part of the Kingdom of Bavaria (Bayern)). This is essentially the same as the 1860 map.
1837 Map of "Rheinkreis" region of the Kingdom of Bavaria

BECHERBACH (and related) LINKS
Photos and History of Becherbach (Stefan Arndt)
Official Site of the Meisenheim Region (including Becherbach)
Wikipedia entry for Becherbach (rough English translation - note that "Becherbach" literally means "Cup brook")
Rockenhausen area (includes Schönborn and Bisterschied)
History of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Emigration from Bavaria to America

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