Happy Birthday, Fridolin Wild

Depiction of Aibling (Wikimedia Commons)

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My great-great grandfather Fridolin Wild was born on 6 Mar 1844 in Aibling, Germany. He arrived in the United States in 1868, via Buenos Aires, and lived in San Antonio, Texas, until he died in 1919.

Fridolin held various positions in sales throughout his life. He was a traveling salesman and returned to Germany briefly in 1889 according to a passport application and ship passenger list. The 1910 census appears to show that he was a partner in the wholesale liquor business. I hope it wasn’t Prohibition that did him in.

Fridolin married Lina Hoyer in 21 Sep 1872. Her parents were from Germany as well.

His grave can be viewed on FindaGrave.

Tombstone Tuesday: Bittersweet

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Last week, I posted about a volunteer trek to several area cemeteries for FindaGrave.com. A friend of mine and I took volunteer photos of graves for family members of the deceased who live too far away to visit them themselves. This week is my first chance to write about the flip-side — I just received notification that someone has taken a photo that I requested.

My third great-grandmother was Susan Elizabeth (SMITH) CAMPBELL. She was born and died in San Antonio, Texas (in fact, her father apparently* was John William Smith**, the first mayor of San Antonio and a survivor of the Alamo).

I have never been to San Antonio, but I hope to go someday soon. While there, I plan to try and visit the graves of several ancestors, including that of Susan. Meanwhile, I posted a request on FindaGrave.com so that I could see the grave from afar. Another FindaGrave user accommodated my request this weekend. The results are bittersweet.

Susan’s gravestone is heavily damaged. At least half of it is just gone. It appears to have been broken, perhaps on purpose (vandalism in cemeteries is not uncommon) or perhaps courtesy of Mother Nature (trees fall on graves all the time). The rest of the stone is very dirty and worn. I can’t make out any details on the stone except two small flowers at the base on either side.

I appreciate the photographer having taken the time to snap the photo, but I can’t help but be disappointed that the stone doesn’t reveal more.

* I still haven’t definitively proved this to my satisfaction, but all accounts thus far seem to point to this being the case.

** John William apparently was born William John Smith, but flipped his first and last names along the way because it was easier for Spanish speakers to pronounce John. I hate to cite Wikipedia on a fact like that without verifying it, but that detail is just too fun not to mention.

Tricky Valentine

I had originally meant for this to be last week’s Treasure Chest Thursday post, but the snow interrupted my plans. This being Valentine’s Day though, it all worked out. Below is a Valentine’s Day card I found among my mom’s things several years ago:

The butterfly’s wing pops up and everything. The card was still in its original envelope with a postmark that appears to read Feb 12 1950 — my mom would have been a month shy of her first birthday on Valentine’s Day of that year. On the back of the card is the following inscription:

The above reads “To Marcia with love from Grandmother Hayes.” But the return address on the envelope is in El Paso, Texas. That doesn’t make any sense because my Great-Grandmother Hayes lived in Tennessee and, so far as I know, never set foot in Texas (let alone El Paso, which is so far west in Texas, it’s practically in Mexico/New Mexico).

I’ve got my work cut out for me to try and solve this mystery!

Surname Saturday: CAMPBELL (Virginia, Texas)

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My Texas roots include Campbells from San Antonio:

27. Josephine Susan Campbell (b. 1859  in San Antonio – d. 1922 in San Antonio)
54. William Wallace Campbell (b. 1828 in Virginia – d. 1862 in San Antonio)

William is listed as a master mason in the 1860 U.S. census, which I found on Ancestry.com.

William and his wife, Susan Elizabeth Smith (1830-1864), passed away while their children were still young. I found two of Josephine’s siblings living with relatives in the 1870 census, but haven’t tracked down Josephine’s location in that particular year.

The siblings were reunited and living together when they were in their 20s, according to the 1880 census.

William earned a mention in Daughters of the Republic of Texas because his wife, Susan, was the daughter of William John Smith (aka John William Smith, a prominent figure in the battle for the Alamo and the first mayor of San Antonio).

As of yet, I have not been able to discover the names of William’s parents, nor the area of Virginia from whence he came. There are a lot of William Campbells in Virginia around the time he resided there for me to sort through.

Josephine married Anson G. Bennett in 1881 and they had 8 children, including my great-grandmother, Susan Campbell Bennett (1884-1966).

Tombstone Tuesday: Fridolin Wild and Kin

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After my Surname Saturday post this weekend about my WILD roots, I did some more digging and found gravesite photos and information for Fridolin Wild, his wife and her parents in San Antonio’s City Cemetery. I’m really excited about these finds, as they provide a lot of information. The records on the Find A Grave web site link to children and siblings as well. I was sure to leave a thank-you note for the photographer.

24. Fridolin Wild

25. Lina (Hoyer) Wild

50. Julius Hoyer (Lina’s father)

51. Sophie Hoyer (Lina’s mother)

The latter two are especially rich in information about where the Hoyer’s came from in Europe. I realize that this all needs to be verified through other records, but I’m excited by this find nonetheless. I’m beginning to think a trip to San Antonio someday is in order.

Surname Saturday: I’m a real WILD child (Virginia, Texas, Germany)

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My mother’s maiden name was Wild, and I’m sure you can only imagine the jokes made about her and her three sisters as they grew up.

This particular name has German roots. I’ve traced back the line to Aibling, Germany, so far. Rumor has it that we’re somehow related to the original brewer’s of Becker Bier in St. Ingbert, Germany (now a Karlsberg brewery).

My mom and her sisters were Army brats and moved all over the world, but they spent a lot of time stateside in Northern Virginia, where my aunts still live, and in Texas, which is where our ancestors originally settled after leaving Bavaria.

Here are my Wild roots, in all their Ahnentafel glory:

2. Marcia Lea Wild (1949-2003)
6. Col. Herman Bennett Wild (1913-1978; Army accountant — he and my grandma met on the job at the Pentagon)
12. Herman Wild (1876-1928; lived in San Antonio Texas all his life, near as I can tell)
24. Fridolin Wild (1844-?: the German immigrant, from Aibling)

I found Fridolin and the elder Herman in San Antonio directories in the late 19th century, both working as salesmen.

My goal is to trace Fridolin’s family as far back as I can. In my research today, I discovered that his wife’s surname was HOYER and that her parents immigrated from Germany as well.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (A Day Late): Ahnentafel Roulette

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This is my first stab at Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (albeit a day late) — a concept championed by Randy Seaver on his Genea-Musings blog: http://www.geneamusings.com. This has been a really educational exercise to undertake — I learned about a numbering system I hadn’t been exposed to before, I further investigated a relative that I hadn’t spent a lot of time on yet and I found some interesting discrepancies in his census records that will require some work to clear up.

This week’s challenge is Ahnentafel Roulette:

1) How old is your father now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your “roulette number.”

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ahnentafel. Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person with the “roulette number.”

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person’s name for your “roulette number” then spin the wheel again – pick your mother, or yourself, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!

This post has prompted me to learn more about the Afhnetafel numbering system. I was a bad MLS grad and went to Wikipedia for a basic description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahnentafel

Shame on me, I know (actually, it’s even worse; first, I Googled it). Google also led me to this better explanation at ancestry.com. Note that there is a typo, and number 15 should actually be great-grandmother.

Following the rules above, the roulette number to investigate is 26. This is my mother’s father’s mother’s father, Anson G. Bennett (1859-1944). I had done some preliminary investigations online into who Anson G. Bennett was, but I didn’t have much information. Here’s what I’ve been able to glean, with some certainty:

1) He was born in October 1859 in Missouri.

2) He married Josephine Susan Campbell after moving to San Antonio, Texas.

3) His father was a merchant and Anson worked for him in his store before marrying my great-grandmother.

The above has been gathered from a family history previously compiled by a relative and by searching federal census records. The one sticking point is that the state of birth information for his mother varies — either given as Missouri, Tennessee or Virginia, depending on the census year. This could mean that I’ve been viewing the records of two (or more) different Anson G. Bennetts. It could also mean that a recording error was made or that the wrong information was inadvertently given to the census taker in a given year. Obviously, more work needs to be done to clear this up.