Surname Saturday : Geogen Surname Mapping in Germany

Geogen Surname Mapping is a website created by Christoph Stöpel that graphically displays the current geographical distribution of surnames in Germany based on telephone book data. This tool may help in identifying the origins of a particular surname or in locating living relations in the old country.

I entered a few of my German surnames to see if there were still individuals living in Germany with those names. “Bernthal” and its German forms of “Bärenthal” and “Baerenthal” did not produce any hits. “Berenthal,” perhaps another variant form, did return ten entries; however, none were located near our family’s origins in Bärenthal, Tuttlingen, Baden-Württemberg and Roßtal, Fürth, Bavaria.

“Veitengruber,” another family surname, was more successful returning 92 entries. The largest concentration was in Landkreis Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen, Bavaria with twenty-two phonebook listings. Interestingly, this is the area from where my second great-grandmother and her family originated.

"Veitengruber" surname distribution map. Source: Geogen Surname Mapping; 2014.

“Veitengruber” surname distribution map. Source: Geogen Surname Mapping; 2014.

 

The Geogen website can be visited here: Geogen Surname Mapping.

Tombstone Tuesday : Johann Georg Leonhardt & Anna Abalonia (Heinlein) Weber

Johann G. L. & Anna A. (Heinlein) Weber grave marker, St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan; 2012.

Johann G. L. & Anna A. (Heinlein) Weber grave marker, St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan; 2012.

In honor of Veterans Day it is fitting to remember Johann Georg Leonhardt Weber (25 April 1847-21 May 1910).[1] Johann, or John, was born in Frankenmuth, the oldest child of two of Frankenmuth’s original founding settlers, Johann Conrad Weber and Kunigunde Barbara (Bernthal). John Weber fought in the American Civil War. At age seventeen he enlisted in the United States Army on 17 August 1864 in Company D, 29th Michigan Infantry.[2] The regiment participated in battles in Decatur, Alabama and Overall Creek, Winsted Church, Shelbyville Pike, and Nolansville, Tennessee.[3]

On 20 April 1876 John was married in Richville, Michigan to Anna Abalonia Heinlein (7 October 1852-19 January 1931).[4][5] The couple was married by the groom’s uncle, Rev. George Bernthal. They lived in Denmark Township, Tuscola County where John farmed.[6]

John and his wife both died in Denmark Township.[7] They are buried in St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville. Three children who died early are also inscribed on their grave marker.[8]

Reference Notes:

[1]Elaine Huber, translator, “St. Lorenz Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan, Book I: (1847-1857),” (typescript, 1990, St. Lorenz Lutheran Church Offices, Frankenmuth), unpaginated, no. 4.

Tuscola County, Michigan, death certificate no. 9, John G. Weber, 21 May 1910; digital image, “Michigan, Death Records, 1897-1920,” The Archives of Michigan, Seeking Michigan (http://www.seekingmichigan.org : accessed 16 August 2012).

[2]Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 46 vols. (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1903[?]), 29: 68; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014).

[3]Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 29: 1 & 2.

[4]Tuscola County, Michigan, Marriage Registers [vol. ?], fo. 239, J. George Weber-Anna A. Heinlein, 30 April 1876; digital images, FamilySearch, ”Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925” (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQS8-BQX : accessed 10 November 2014).

[5]Tuscola County, Michigan, “Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KF7N-P8X : accessed 10 November 2014), entry for Anna Abalonia Weber, 19 January 1931.

[6]1900 U.S. census, Tuscola County, Michigan, population schedule, Denmark Township, enumeration district 109, sheet no. 5 A, dwelling 96, family 97, John G. and Abelonia [sic] Weber; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 744.

[7]Tuscola County, Michigan, death certificate no. 9, John G. Weber, 21 May 1910.

Tuscola County, Michigan, “Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database entry for Anna Abalonia Weber, 19 January 1931.

[8]St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery (Richville, Michigan), Johann G. L. & Anna A. Weber marker; personally read, 2012.

Field Trip Friday : Oakhill Cemetery (South), Grand Rapids, Michigan

This past weekend the West Michigan Genealogical Society, of which I am a member, celebrated its 60th anniversary with a tour of one of Grand Rapids’ oldest and most historic cemeteries. Oakhill Cemetery came into existence in 1859. It was designed as a park cemetery and is filled with fascinating monuments and history. The tour was led by local historian Thomas R. Dilley. His new book, The Art of Memory: Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is due to be released in a few weeks by Painted Turtle press.

Following is a photographic selection of some of the monuments found in the cemetery.

Dating from about 1870 the Melville mausoleum is the oldest mausoleum in Grand Rapids. In crumbling condition, cable wires  are used to help prevent the structure from further deterioration.

Thomas R. Dilley explains the history of the Melville mausoleum, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Thomas R. Dilley explains the history of the Melville mausoleum, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Brown mausoleum designed to resembled an Egyptian pyramid was built around 1895. It is one of only a few such structures in the country. It cost about $45,000 to build; Dilley estimates the cost to build it today would be about forty times that amount.

Brown mausoleum, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Brown mausoleum, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The headstone for “Brave” Claire Hall remembers her heroic death. She died while saving a drowning friend. She was seventeen years old.

Claire Hall headstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Claire Hall headstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Carved from a limestone boulder, the tombstone for David Wolcott Kendall and his first wife Delle Colby Kendall is among the most unusual. A genealogist’s dream, the monument is covered with symbols and even some early family genealogy.

David Wolcott and Delle Colby Kendall tombstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

David Wolcott and Delle Colby Kendall tombstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Detail, Kendall tombstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Detail, Kendall tombstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Lastly, sometimes the smallest stones tell the biggest stories.

Lieut. John J. Nardin headstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Lieut. John J. Nardin headstone, Oakhill Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

Settling In : A New Documentary about the Immigration Experience

Settling In is a new documentary currently under production by PBS station WDCQ out of Bay County, Michigan. Scheduled to air this fall, the program will look at immigration to Michigan’s Bay Area. It will feature scenes from and interviews with members of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Frankenlust. The producers have recently released this preview of a clean-up event at St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery:

More information, as it becomes available, will be posted on this blog.