Interesting Finds From My Genealogy Research

One of My Great-Grandfathers

Picture of Anton Riedlsperger taken in Austria about 1870.  He is wearing an army uniform.
Picture of Anton Riedlsperger taken in Austria about 1870. He is wearing an army uniform. | Source

Doing Genealogy Research

Since August 7, 2016, I have been finally doing long overdue genealogy research. I recently joined Ancestry.com and have been constructing a family tree starting with my parents. With the aid of Ancestry from documents such as census reports, marriage, birth, and death records, immigration records, and stories from relatives who have already done research on my ancestors, I have discovered a lot of interesting finds for grandparents, great-grandparents, and even my mother! The purpose of this article is to share some of these interesting and unusual stories.

Ancestral Origins from Genealogy Records

The family relatives on both my father's and mother's side originated in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. Upon reaching the United States, my paternal grandmother and great-grandparents settled in Door County in northeastern Wisconsin. My maternal great grandparents took up roots in Marshfield in central Wisconsin.

From going through census records, marriage, birth, and death certificates, and stories and pictures shared by other researchers, I have learned some interesting, exciting, and somewhat unexpected things about my grandparents, great-grandparents, and yes, even my mother. These findings are as follow.

My Maternal Grandfather Robbed a Bank

Grandpa's bank robbery wasn't a complete surprise since my mother had sometimes talked about it while she was still alive. Mom, however, never told all of the details about the robbery which I learned by reading an account of it in the Marshfield Herald Newspaper. This article was shared by another relative who had researched the life of my grandfather.

According to the October 29, 1929, article, grandpa robbed a bank in a small town outside of Marshfield early in the afternoon. He then fled unassisted with $711 and hid in the high school of the town. A short time later, he was captured by members of the school basketball team who called the police. Grandpa was put in prison for about seven years, and this was a dark time in the life of my mother who was only nine at the time. Mom often talked about classmates making fun of her and having to drop out of school when she was only 13.

Tragic Death of My Maternal Great-Grandfather

I never saw my maternal great-grandfather when young because he suffered a tragic death before my birth. In 1932, grandpa Drexler was a teamster tasked with collecting refuse from a hospital in Marshfield. As he was loading refuse onto a wagon pulled by horses, the animals got scared when he was behind them and suddenly lurched forward. After kicking him in the head, the horses dragged grandpa's body for quite a distance before the wagon was stopped. Mom had also talked about grandpa's death before, but I was never sure about how the death occurred until I read an article shared by another researcher.

My Great-GrandMother in a Four Generation Photo

My great grand-mother, great aunt Techla, daughter of great aunt Emma, and Emma's baby
My great grand-mother, great aunt Techla, daughter of great aunt Emma, and Emma's baby | Source

Paternal Great-Grandmother Had a Drinking Problem

According to historical records, my paternal great-grandmother lived in Door County, Wisconsin, from around 1885 until her death in 1930. An article written by my cousin who also researched my ancestors noted that grandma Bertha Kuehn often had a flask hidden under her skirts. One of her jobs was that of a mid-wife. It was said that she had a fiery temper and was beautiful with red hair. She raised eight of my great uncles and one great aunt.

Paternal Grandma with Real Father and Step Mother

My grandma at age of 13 standing in the middle.  Picture taken in Austria
My grandma at age of 13 standing in the middle. Picture taken in Austria | Source

My Paternal Grandmother Had a Step Father

Now I can understand why I never saw any of my grandma's sisters or brothers when I was younger. My grandma lived with her father and step mother in Austria up until around the age of 15. She then immigrated to the United States at 17 with her mother who had never married her father. Shortly before immigrating to the States, grandma's mother, my great-grandma met a man who took his family including my adopted grandma to Pennsylvania where he worked as a coalminer. A few years later the family moved to Door County where grandma met and married grandpa.

Maternal Great-Grandfather's Divorce

Until going through census records, I never realized that my maternal great-grandfather had divorced his wife when my grandfather was about 10 years old. My mother never talked about this unpleasant affair while she was living.

Ancestor Origins

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My Paternal Grandfather Was a Twin

While he was living, I never recalled my father telling me that grandpa had a twin brother. As a matter of fact, I never saw my grandpa's twin or heard him or my dad talk about this matter.

My Mother's Occupation Was that of Hooker?!

While going through the 1940 census,I was shocked to see that my mom's occupation was listed as "hooker." It all made sense, however, when I remembered Mom telling me that she used to work in a shoe factory near Marshfield before marrying dad. Her job in the shoe factory was putting hooks on shoes. There evidently wasn't any political correctness in 1940.

Conclusion

Researching my ancestors has been interesting, exciting, and really challenging. I expect to find more unusual facts and stories as I get further into digging up my roots.

© 2016 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Comments 14 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia

This was very interesting Paul, I really have to follow your lead and research my ancestors. I think it will be enlightening to say the least.


PAINTDRIPS profile image

PAINTDRIPS 3 months ago from Fresno CA

Fascinating stories. I found a few like that when I researched my ancestors as well. Like my maternal great-grandparents were cousins. My grandmother used to assure me that the fact that her mother had the same last name as her husband before marriage didn't mean a thing... but I found that they shared grandparents so they were actually cousins. But it made sense since they were living in a remote area of Missouri and other than Native Americans there were few other people to choose from. Thanks for the stories.

Blessings,

Denise


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

@Jodah Thank you ver much for reading and your comments. Researching my ancestors has been enlightening but very challenging.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

I am very happy that you found my stories fascinating. Your maternal great-grandparents being cousins is also very interesting. People back then weren't very concerned or didn't know about genetic defects from marrying relatives. Blessings to you also. Paul


DDE profile image

DDE 3 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and so much so ponder on here.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

I am very happy that you found this article interesting and worth pondering. Thanks for the comment!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 months ago from North Texas

You do come from an exciting bunch! I thought perhaps the word hooker hadn't been assigned in place of prostitute and that might be the reason your mother was labeled a hooker, but when I looked it up, it seems prostitutes have been referred to as hookers since before the Civil War. So much for that idea . . .

Unfortunately a lot of perfectly good words have been commandeered to mean very different things from their original definitions. Like gay for example. More recently the word 'junk' has been given a new meaning. I really hate when people take perfectly good words and ruin them.

Very interesting ancestors. Pinned this to Awesome HubPages and will share with my followers.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Au fait, thanks for your comments and you can imagine how I felt seeing my mother's job being listed as "hooker" in the 1940 census. Yes, a lot of words today have been commandeered to mean different and sometimes opposite things. If a baseball pitcher throws a "filthy" curve, it is considered to be a very good pitch and not a bad curve. Thanks for pinning and sharing!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 months ago

You certainly have an interesting genealogy. I enjoyed reading about your ancestors and their occupations. I am sure your found your research rewarding.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for your comments and I'm happy you like my genealogy. Genealogy research is very rewarding, but at times it can be very frustrating.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 2 months ago from Oklahoma

Geneology is so interesting. Great read!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Yes Larry, I have found genealogy research to be very interesting, but also challenging and at times frustrating. Thanks for the comments!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Paul.....Fascinating! As with so many other things, I have had ancestry research on my mind for quite some time. For some odd reason, I keep waiting for just the right time to get into it. Thank you for the encouragement. Sounds like you're having a wonderful time learning of your family history. Best of luck as you continue! Paula


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for your comments, Paula! Ancestry research is fun and I have found out many interesting things about my ancestors and great uncles and aunts. The research is fascinating and exiting, but also very tedious and at times frustrating. Maybe now is the time for you to get into it and we can share our experiences.

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