Women’s History Month: A Letter to and from My 9th Great Grandmother Kunigonde (Surname Unknown)

Dear Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother Kunigonde,

You have the most interesting name in my tree and your last name is not known to those of us researching you.  You were the mother of my ancestor named Michael Kempf.  He lived in a town named Hornbach.   I have discovered that you were Roman Catholic and the historic church in Hornbach contains the bones of St. Pirminius.  You must’ve worshipped there.

I didn’t know Kunigonde was even a name until I found you.  I looked up the meaning and origin.  It is from the Old High German and sometimes spelled as Kunigonda.  The name dictionaries call it a two-element name.  Kunni=the tribe, the clan.  Gund=the fight, the battle.  I really dig the two-element meaning of your name!

Apparently there was a St. Kunigonde and she was the daughter of King Bela of Hungary. She is the patroness of Poland and Lithuania where she is known as St. Kinga.

Was Kunigonde a family name in your family?

Did you know your third great grandson was named Heinrich Leies and he traveled across the ocean to the United States of America in 1848 with his family to have a farm in Wooster, Ohio?  His brother Jacob Leies came three years later to the greatest city in the New World called New York City.  Your fourth great grandson named Peter Leies joined the Union Army during the nation’s Civil War and died at a battle called the Battle of Antietam.  He was only 21 and he was born in Nunschweiler, not far from Hornbach.

Another fourth great grandson followed Heinrich to Wooster, Ohio.  His name was Johann Leies and Heinrich was his uncle.  He was my ancestor.  He ran saloons in Chicago and was a piano dealer.  He had very religious sons.  One became a Roman Catholic priest and died in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Did you know you probably have thousands of descendants across the ocean in America perhaps due in part to Heinrich’s emigration?

You are named in a book called the Rubenheim Register from Zwiebrucken.  I would love to see that book.  But, what can YOU tell me that the book doesn’t.  What was Hornbach life like?


One of your thousands of descendants


1550 Hornbach, via Wikipedia


Dear 9th Great Granddaughter,

Females rarely learned to write in my day unless they took a religious order.  My good friend Sr. Marie Radegonde Belina is writing this for me.  What an angel she is too to be able to translate English to our dialect and back to English for me.  She was a half English/half French orphan the good Sisters took in.

Thank you for digging my name.  I don’t know what you mean by “digging.” 

What can I tell you about my life?  I was born at a time of a long religious, political, and terrible war – The Thirty Years War.  We would hear from the priests there was a peace and then another peace.  But it would not end.  Then a few years later there would be word of another peace. 

We did not care about those far away princes fighting for power.  We were more concerned with having food on our tables when the winter was through.  Half the men in my family were gone and another quarter of my family uprooted themselves and were never heard from again.  We just wanted it to end.  

When I married, the war was coming to an end.  My husband (your 9th great grandfather) and I lived near Hornbach at a time the entire surrounding area was almost devoid of citizens and buildings due to the many years of war.  The country-side had been devastated due to famine, disease, and theft.  The old town wall of Hornbach and our church were some of the few things left.

We were ruled by the Duke of Zwiebrucken. 

Before the war, Hornbach was once surrounded by rich vineyards.  Nobody came back to re-plant them.  Instead, after the war, the Dukes invited people from the Swiss Cantons and from Tyrol to our area to farm.  They were rumored to be excellent farmers. 

Some of my descendants married the descendants of the Swiss immigrants.

My husband Johann Kempf and I had a farm.  We had 8 children:  Matthias, Anna Christina, Michael, your 8th great grandfather, twins Kunigonde and Johann, Maria Katharina, and twins Regina and Anna Margaretha. 

Michael was my second born son and he was trained to follow his father as a farmer. 

I died before I could see Michael’s children be born.  

I died before France took control of the Hornbach-Zwiebrucken area in 1680.

Yes, I heard about Heinrich and the others.  Nunschweiler was very tiny in my day. 

Heinrich Layes (that’s how Sr. Marie Gertruda spells the surname) left Germany at a time when liberal nationalists pushed for civil liberties here.  The cost of the war I lived through and cost of that war on our people was ingrained in their minds.  

In 1848, these forward thinking men had to flee their homeland for your country –  a country that had established those ideals when those in power began to silence their democratic plans.

Keep shaking those female branches of my tree in Germany.  You aren’t even close to finding all of my descendants in America.  


Your Ahnfrau







Women’s History Month and the ABCs of My Genealogy

March is Women’s History Month, making it an excellent time to focus on the ancestresses in my genealogy.  I tried a memory exercise off the top of my head going alphabetically listing names of women in my tree.  I did pretty well, with the exception of Y and X.

I also listed off the top of my head where they lived.  If I could find their profession, station, or husband’s station, I listed that too.  All of these women were born pre-1870 and were born overseas.*  Only two on my list are immigrants.  

Here we go:

A is for Apolline Weyland, 9th great grandmother, Liederscheidt, Moselle, France, a laborer’s wife

B is for Anna Saveria Barbacone, 5th great grandmother, Rione di San Giovanni, Penne, Pescara, Italy, a contadina

C is for Cecilia “Cilla” Vocciero, 7th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown

D is for Dorotea Frattarola, 7th great grandmother, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, landowner’s mother

E is for Elisabetha Stauder,  8th great grandmother, Schweyen, Moselle, France, laborer’s wife

F is for Karolina Friederika Wilhemina Fehlig, 3rd great grandmother, Grohnde, Hameln-Pyrmont, Niedersachsen, Germany, master tailor’s wife

G is for Anna Dorothea Maria Grabe, 4th great grandmother, Grossmehlra, Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen, Thuringen, Germany, miller owner’s wife

H is for Anne Marie Aloisia Heinzen, 2nd great grandmother, Brig, Canton Valais, Switzerland, immigrant – dress-maker

I is for Ignota (Italian for unknown), mother of Panfilo Zenone, husband of Maria Giustina Marcella, Panfilo’s mother left Panfilo at the foundling wheel in Penne, Pescara, Italy

J is for Elisabetta di Julio, 6th great grandmother, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, unknown

K is for Kunigunde (No Last Name Known), 9th great grandmother, Hornbach, Sudwestpfalz, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, unknown

L is for Laisa Girardo, 8th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown

M is for Marie Louise Koppel, 3rd great grandmother, Koerner, Sonderhausen, Thüringen, Germany, immigrant – miller owner’s daughter

N is for Vittoria Di Norscia, 6th great grandmother, Rione di San Giovanni, Penne, Pescara, Italy, a lacemaker

O is for Odile Kolsch, 8th great grandmother, Vinningen, Germany, wife of the Eschevin de Justice

P is for Veneranda Paolucci, 6th great grandmother, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, a contadina

Q is for Anna Elisabetha Dorre-mother of Quirinus Eckebrecht, 4th great grandmother, Grossmehlra, Sonderhausen, Thüringen, Germany, laborer’s wife

R is for Laura Rosa, 5th great grandmother, Contrada Tavo, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, a contadina

S is for Sandra Dragone, 5th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown

T is for Tommasina Secondina, 10th great grandmother, Kingdom of Naples, unknown

U is for Ursula Magliulo, 7th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown

V is for Vittoria Gambacorta, 5th great grandmother, Rione di San Giovanni, Penne, Pescara, Italy, a lacemaker

W is for Caroline Christina Wilhemina Julianne Geselle, 5th great grandmother, Sankt Andreasberg, Goslar, Niedersachsen, Germany, wife of silver mineworks supervisor

X is for all of the women in the tree with no surname.  They were in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

Y is for Magdalena SteYer, 5th great grandmother, Huberhof, Nuenschweiler, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, a farmer

Z is for Anna Apollonia Ziehl, 7th great grandmother, Monbijou, Leichelbingen, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, farm manager’s daughter

*I only have one female ancestor in my tree that was born pre-1870 in America – Katharina Schuttler Eckebrecht.  Her parents were immigrants.

Can you find one for every letter in your tree?

For my next entry this month, I plan to focus on a female ancestor we only know by her first name.



Today’s Anniversary ~ Anna Antonia Ricci and Giuseppe Antonio Rossi ~


Arsita (Baccucco), Teramo – On today’s date in 1865, my 3rd great grandparents Anna Antonia Ricci and Giuseppe Antonio Rossi were married in Arsita, Teramo, Abruzzo in the parish of Santa Vittoria.

Their marriage record stated that Anna Antonia Ricci was born in Castiglione Messer Raimondo, 29, had been living in Baccucco since infancy, was a contadina, and that her parents were Girolamo Ricci and Giustina Andreoli.  Her parents were both born in Penne.

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For the groom, the marriage record stated that Giuseppe Antonio Rossi was 32, a contadino, was born in Penne, was a resident of Baccucco, and was the son of Domenico Rossi and Anna Domenica Della Bricciosa, both contadini.

Present at Santa Vittoria were Giovantonio di Candeloro and Pasquale Pacelli. One of those men was likely the priest.

The four men that gave testimony at the Town Hall as witnesses to the marriage were:

Angelo Palini, 50, a tailor, resident of Baccucco;

Giandomenico di Pomponio, 33, a tailor, resident of Baccucco;

Giuseppe Absente, 60, a contadino, resident of Baccucco; and

Angelo di Giacinto, 59, a carpenter, resident of Baccucco.

NOTE:  Domenico Rossi, my 4th great grandfather, signed his son’s marriage record.  It is legible on the above second page of the marriage document.

The bride and groom were the parents of Elisabetta Rossi – the mother of Cesidio Marcella.



Antenati San Beniculturali

Family Search Microfilms for Castiglione Messer Raimondo and Arsita now online at LDS Research Centers



Immigrant #37 ~ Leo Heinzen, Chef and Practicing Healer in the Spiritualist Church

Immigrant Leo Heinzen was born in 1878 to Joseph Anton Heinzen and Italian-Swiss Regina Gentinetta in Brig, Valais, Switzerland.  He came to the United States in 1907.  He was a younger brother of my great great grandmother Anna Heinzen Kirsch.

Brig, Valais, Switzerland


Leo first appeared on the radar in the United States on the 1910 Federal Census in Chicago living with his sister Anna, her husband Louis Kirsch, and son Albert Kirsch.  He verbalized that he had been living in the United States since 1907, possessed papers (when asked if he was a citizen), stated he was a laborer in any kind of industry, could speak English, read, but could not write.

Next, on September 13, 1918, Leo completed a World War I Draft Registration card in Battle Creek, Michigan.  The box was checked on the card for having declared for citizenship as an alien of the United States.  According to the information on the card, he was employed at that time as a cook at the Treo Café in Battle Creek.  His physical appearance was: brown eyes, black hair, stout build, and medium height.  He possessed no physical deformalities to preclude him from service either.  His sister Anne Kirsch was listed on the line for nearest relative.  Had his age qualified him for service, immigrant Leo Heinzen would have served in the United States military during WWI regardless of his citizenship status.

Leo is then found on the 1920 census in Battle Creek living as a roomer, and still declaring his occupation as a cook.

Researching Anna’s brother Leo was the reason I found the actual place of origin of Anna and Leo in Switzerland.  In fact, the next record I found chronologically for Leo even gave me their parents’ names.  On December 26, 1920, in Battle Creek, Michigan, Leo Heinzen married German immigrant Olga Kindt Timmens.  Both of their sets of parents were listed on the record as was well as their birthplaces.

Until I found the record stating he was born in Brig, I thought Anna and Leo were born in Berg, because an American death record wasn’t clearly written.

The occupation on Leo’s marriage record was cook and Olga’s was listed as magnetic healer.  They were married by the Reverend Anna L. Gillepsie.  I thought it was interesting that they were married by a female minister so I looked her up on newspapers.com.  She was a well-known spiritualist minister who was often away from Battle Creek in Lily Dale, NY at Spiritualist assembly meetings.

Reverend Gillespie also married Olga to her first husband, Frank Timmens, in 1915.  He too was a magnetic healer.  I couldn’t resist finding out what happened to Olga’s first husband.  I don’t know the circumstances, or when Olga and Frank split, but Frank remarried in 1922 in the Roman Catholic Church, according to Michigan marriage records, and as evidenced by advertisements found on newspapers.com, he continued the magnetic healing occupation.

In 1925, great grand uncle Leo was sworn in as a citizen of the United States.

In 1926, in her own right, and not by the default of the citizenship of her spouse, Olga Kindt Timmens Heinzen was sworn in as a citizen of the United States.  She is the only woman I can find on my mother’s side of the family that voluntarily took the oath to become a citizen after they changed the naturalization laws allowing women to take their own oath.  I suppose that Elena Ferraro and Gelsomina Ferraro could have become citizens this way too, however, I haven’t found proof of that to date.

I next located Leo and Olga on the 1930 Federal Census.  It appears as though he and Olga never had children.  Leo and Olga were both listed as magnetic healers on that census.  I assume this was part of their practice in the First Spiritualist Church of Battle Creek or a form of alternative healing therapy.  Today they use the term energy healer interchangeably with magnetic healing.  Have fun looking these alternative forms of healing online!

I found several advertisements for Leo Heinzen as a Spiritual Healer in the classifieds in Battle Creek, Michigan.

There was a tidbit in a 1945 article called “History as News” that did a throwback to 10 years ago in which it stated that Leo Heinzen was the assistant chef at the well-known Battle Creek hotel The Post Tavern for at least three years.


June 9, 1945, Battle Creek Inquirer


Like his brother-in-law, immigrant Louis Kirsch, Leo, who was born in Brig Switzerland, where Louis studied, was also a chef at a famous Midwest Hotel.

In 1946, Olga passed away due to a months long illness according to her obituary.

Leo passed away in 1962 in Michigan, at age 83, but 81, according to his obituary, which mentions Leo’s healing practice and the fact that he had several nieces and nephews in Switzerland.  It didn’t mention his 9 great nieces and great nephews in America.

Leo obit

Leo leaves several intriguing questions.  First, I have not found any record of entry for him into the United States.  Is this another case of a bad transcription error or a misspelling like all of the censuses I found Leo on?  (The transcriptions on Ancestry for Leo’s census records were terrible.  He was never an engineer or electrician!)   Then there are those questions about his life.  Like his sister Anna, as an adult, they didn’t practice the Catholic faith, after being raised in it.  Did Leo have a healing gift?  Or on the other hand, were he and Olga just taking money?  Or was it just part of practicing his faith?  Was he drawn to the Spiritualist Church through Olga or was he a member before he met her?  Finally, did any of the Ferraros meet him?


United States Federal Censuses

World War I Draft Records

Michigan Marriage Records

Michigan Naturalization Records

Michigan Death/Burial Records

City Directories for Battle Creek, Michigan









Today’s Anniversary ~ Franz Jacob Bold and Elisabetha Scheid ~

Nuenschweiler’s Church of the Ascension via Wikimedia Commons

Nuenschweiler – On today’s date in 1842, my third great grandparents Franz Jacob Bold and Elisabetha Scheid were married in the Catholic parish in Nuenschweiler, Rheinpfalz, Germany by Father Joannis Feibel.  They were the parents of Emilia Bold Leies.

Elisabetha and Franz Jacob were from neighboring Rodalben.  She was born there while he was born in neighboring Knopp-Labach.



Their Catholic marriage record declared that Franz Jacob was the son of Adam Bold and Margaretha Becker, married residents of Rodalben.  It looks like the parochial vicar of Rodalben, Father Petro Bold, is mentioned in the Latin marriage record.  He was the older brother of Franz Jacob.  He also baptized Elisabetha Scheid, according to the baptismal record I found on film which is now available online at Family Search.

The marriage record also declared that Elisabetha was the daughter of Johann Jacob Scheid and the deceased Catharina Buchler, also of Rodalben.

Franz Jacob Bold, the head schoolmaster of the Catholic school in Nuenschweiler, was the son of farmers.  His Bold grandparents were named Johann Adam Bold and Magdalena Helf.  Elisabetha’s ancestry has been detailed here and here.

Franz Jacob Bold, for all intents and purposes, appears to have died in Germany around 1880, which lead to his wife’s immigration to America.  She died in New York City in 1905.


Pictures of Nuenschweiler and Knopp-Labach can be found online here.


Familienbuch 1785, 1799 – 1824,  Knopp-Labach, Germany

Nuenschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Records via microfilm

Rodalben, Germany Catholic Church Records via Family Search

New York City Passenger Manifests

New York City Death Index



Today’s Anniversary ~ Serafina Iannascoli and Antonio Cirone


Farindola – On today’s date in 1845, my third great grandparents Serafina Iannascoli and Antonio Cirone, contadini, were married in San Nicola di Bari Church in the presence of Domenico Falconetti and Giuseppe Marzola.  Two days prior, they were married in the Farindola town hall in the presence of the mayor Nicola Valentini and the following:

Nicodemo Giancola, 31, landowner;

Vincenzo Giancola, 39, landowner;

Domenico Frattarola, 56, landowner; and

Vincenzo Carusi, 67, fornaio.

This is the link to their marriage record- #1 Matrimoni Farindola 1845.

Serafina Iannascoli was born in 1822 to Natale Iannascoli and Maria Giuseppa Salvitti.  They too were contadini.  Maria Giuseppa’s father Domenico Lorenzo Salvitti was born in Fara San Martino, Chieti.  Domenico Lorenzo Salvitti had a brother named Giuseppe who married Maria Rosa Cirone.*  Their son was named Donato Salvitti and he became the mayor of Farindola in the mid 1800s.

Antonio Cirone was born in 1820 to Domenico Cirone and Maria Fragassi.  Maria Fragassi’s father was Domenico Fragassi and his occupation was sometimes recorded as artista and other times as tarcaro in the Farindola records I located on Antenati.  I found a 1784 baptismal record in the Farindola marriage processetti on Antenati where the priest had transcribed the Fragassi surname as Fracasso.  Perhaps Fracasso was the spelling at one point.  This is a link to that record.  The furthest I could go in the ancestry of Antonio Cirone on Antenati found all of his ancestry in Farindola.


Antonio Cirone died in 1879 at Contrada Piazzetta in Farindola, while Serafina Iannascoli died in 1901 in Macchie, the birthplace of my great grandmother Serafina Merlenghi.

They were grandparents of Serafina Merlenghi.  In all likelihood, her grandmother is her namesake.

*Maria Rosa Cirone is the sister of my 5th great grandfather Pasquale Nicola Cirone, another ancestor of Serafina Merlenghi.  Cirone is an extremely common surname in the town.  

Source: http://antenati.san.beniculturali.it/home


Today’s Anniversary ~ Anna Emidia Lucerini and Luigi di Francesco ~

This year my challenge is to post the marriage documents of all 16 sets of 3rd great grandparents on both sides of my ancestry on their anniversary.  The first wedding anniversary is below.  san-nicola-di-bari

Farindola – On this day in 1853, my 3rd great grandparents Anna Emidia Lucerini and Luigi di Francesco were married in San Nicola di Bari church in Farindola in the presence of Vincenzo Carusi and Tomasso Tommalino, and in the town hall in the presence of:

Don Giacomo Mascioli, 53, landowner;

Nicodemo Giancola, 38, landowner;

Gennaro Barbarossa, 53, contadino; and

Antonio di Luca, 60, contadino.

(Descendants of Nicodemo Giancola and his wife, Maria Domenica Sciarra, are distant cousins and live in the United States today.  Nicodemo Giancola married Maria Grazia Sciarra, daughter of Giuseppe Antonio Sciarra.  He was the brother of Maria Domenica Sciarra  -> wife of Giuseppe Antonio Marcella->4th great grandparents of the author.)


Both Anna Emidia and Biagio were contadini and born to contadini in Farindola, Italy.

This is the link to their marriage record: Atto #1 Matrimoni Farindola, 1853.

Anna Emidia Lucerini was born in 1830 to Antonio Lucerini and Giovanna Damiani.  I had an idea that Anna Emidia was born around 1830 because I had found her 1907 death record.  After I found the marriage of her parents in 1825, I began to find the births of her siblings.  In 1830, I found a male child named Emidio born to Antonio Lucerini and Giovanna Damiani.

I continued to find more siblings of Anna Emidia, but could not locate her birth record on Antenati!  She was one of at least 12 children born to Antonio and Giovanna.  I thought perhaps she was born in a neighboring town.  But, right before I found her marriage to Luigi, I found a document in the 1852 Farindola Diversi records titled “Atto di rettifica di nome di Anna Emidia Lucerini,” written by il Sindaco Nicola Cirone.  Please click here to go to Atto #10 in the Farindola 1852 Diversi.

Anna Emidia Lucerini had no brother named Emidio.  She was the baby whose birth was recorded June 25, 1830 in the Farindola town hall as male child named Emidio.  Please follow this link to see that original record numbered 60 from Farindola in 1830.

What went on there?!  At the noon hour on the 25th of June, Antonio Lucerini, father of Anna Emidia, went to town hall and is recorded as having told the mayor, Serafino Pompei, that his wife had a baby boy at their house they named Emidio.  The baby was baptized the same day at San Nicola di Bari.  This was declared in the presence of Luigi Ammazzalorsco and Giuseppe Cirone.  Serafino read it to them because all present were illiterate and his was the only signature on the document.

Maybe Serafino didn’t read it aloud to all present.  Was Antonio drunk?  At noon?  Probably not…

On Anna Emidia’s mother Giovanna Damiani’s side she can trace her ancestry all the way back to 3 sets of 7th greats in Farindola named Pietro Paolucci – Irene Lepore, Domenico Rosa – Laura Lacchetta, and Nicola Di Francesco – Restude Di Nino.

Luigi Di Francesco was born in 1825 in Farindola to Filippo Di Francesco and Angela Nicola D’Angelo Sopranome Zagliocco.  I wondered if he was born in Rione Trosciano since his father died there, he himself died there, and he had his children with Anna Emidia there.  I am unsure.

His father’s ancestry goes all the way back to a Felice Di Francesco who had children with Anna Del Priore living in Farindola sometime in the mid 1700s and even before that on his father’s mother’s side to 7th great grandparents Rinaldo Bucci – Emilia Tinacci, Remauldo Di Simone – a lady named Lucia.

Tree Image

Please note the above snipped tree image does not show all of the 7th greats in the tree and that Anna Emidia’s great grandmother was Anna Saveria Di Francesco (last name at the bottom right corner).  I suppose, it is a possibility she was related to Felice Di Francesco (first name at the top right corner.)

Luigi Di Francesco’s mother Angela Nicola D’Angelo Zagliocco was born in Penne, Pescara.  Filippo Di Francesco went there to marry her.  I spent some time near Christmas and Thanksgiving looking at a lot of Penne records.  D’Angelo is an extremely common surname in Italy.  In Penne, in this time period, it looks like D’Angelo families had a sopranome attached to it.  She and her father and brothers both had the sopranome Zagliocco, while there is evidence that her grandfather may have been the Francesco D’Angelo alias “Il Nibbio.”


If this Francesco D’Angelo alias pans out, Angela Nicola D’Angelo Zagliocco would descend from Biase D’Angelo alias “Il Nibbio” and Beatrice Triozzi who were probably born around 1700 in Penne.  I would love to know how they got the sopranomes and the aliases!

Luigi Di Francesco died in 1898 in Trosciano as did Anna Emidia in 1907.  They were the parents of  Biagio Di Francesco and the grandparents of Paolo Di Francesco.



Last year my genealogy blog challenge was to find and record every immigrant in my tree.  That challenge is nearly half-way completed.  I will continue to do it until I find every last one.  







Immigrants #35 and #36 ~ Chicago Policeman Richard Bold and Stationary Engineer Ferdinand Bold, Two of Emilia Bold’s Brothers and Both a Part of Historical Tragedies ~

Recently I was contacted by two fourth cousins researching the immigrant Bolds.  Thank you to B.R., a descendant of Alexander Bold, who pointed out that Elisabetha Scheid Bold and Franz Jacob Bold had another child that came to America and was named Ferdinand Bold.  He and his family were part of a New York City tragedy that was absolutely horrifying to discover.  Now knowing of this immigrant brother of Emilia Bold Leies, it makes sense that she named her second son John Ferdinand.

A descendant of Anna Bold Leies and Jacob Leies, P.A., informed me that there may be at three least cases of Bolds marrying Leieses in our lines.  We plan to sort it out!  This includes a possible case of one of the daughters of Anna Bold Leies, that I had vowed to find in a previous post, marrying her first cousin – a Bold!

TA also told me that Leies, on her side of the family, is pronounced LEESS.  Not LE-AS as it is on our side and there are some Leies relations residing in Pennsylvania.  Interesting indeed! Thank you for finding me!

Emilia Bold’s Youngest Brothers

Emilia Bold’s youngest immigrant brothers Richard and Ferdinand Bold seem to have traveled to America together when Richard was 17, arriving at the port of New York on November 25, 1871, on the Donau which sailed from Bremen, Germany.  The strange thing about the passenger manifest I found listed Ferdinand as age 9.  American records point to his age as having been 13.

This confuses me and leads me to doubt whether or not a Richard Bold and Ferdinand Bold traveling together are the same Richard and Ferdinand that are the brothers of Emilia.  However, if it is in fact the correct people, it is not the first time we have seen Emilia’s siblings traveling alone without parents.  Emilia’s sister Anna came here alone at the age of 15 as noted in this previous post: Immigrants #32-#34 ~~Great Great Great Grandmother Elisabetha Scheid Bold, her daughters Rosa Bold Ertl, Anna Maria Bold Leies, and their in-laws~~Today’s post is an update to that previous post.

Ferdinand J. Bold

In 1880, at B.R.’s direction, Ferdinand Bold was found marrying Mary Knaup (daughter of Anthony Knaup and Frances Nackes), a German-American born in New York City.  According to that year’s Federal Census, he was working as a stationary engineer.  The New York Marriage Index on Family Search says he was born in 1858 in Nenschweiler.  To me, that is close enough to mean Nuenschweiler, where the majority of his siblings were born.

That year, Ferdinand and his wife resided at 218 Sullivan Street with his mother-in-law Frances Knaup, sister-in-law Teresa Knaup, and brother-in-law John Knaup.  The census sheets before and after theirs reveal it to be a neighborhood made up of immigrants from Germany and Ireland.

In November of 1880, according to the Naturalization Index, Ferdinand became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

The Bolds and the Grand Street Tenement Disaster

In 1881, according to many newspaper articles, Ferdinand, wife Mary, their baby Joseph, and his wife’s family lived at the corner of 5th Avenue and Grand Street on the top floor when the tenement suddenly caved in.  It was a three floor building and Ferdinand’s family lived on the top.  It became known as the Grand Street Tenement Disaster and was nation-wide news.  Below are samples of some news clippings about the tragedy.

The Chicago Tribune, November 10, 1881



The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 9, 1881 – Note near the bottom of the paragraph the Bolds are mentioned


The Chicago Inter-Ocean, November 10, 1881 – Note the paragraph about Ferdinand Bold’s family

Ferdinand’s wife’s mother and brother were killed.  She herself was badly injured but survived.  The news clippings I found about the collapse described some pretty horrific details.  Some of them were in Chicago newspapers.  Imagine how great great grandmother Emilia Bold Leies and her other Chicago siblings must have worried when they read the news there!

Below is an image found on Google images, Amazon, Abe Books, and eBay from an engraving Harpers Weekly made and printed and is called “Grand Street Tenement House Disaster.”  Originals are for sale out there on the internet.  Ferdinand Bold may be in the image.

Grand Street Tenement Disaster It is a miracle baby Joseph survived.  The following spring, Ferdinand sued James O’Brien, the owner of the building, for $1,100.00 damages.  He was awarded $426.00.  Current inflation makes that a little less than $10,000.00.

The New York Times, March 7, 1882

A coroner’s jury was held and found James O’Brien and the owner of the adjacent building, Julius Levy, grossly negligent in the deaths of 9 tenants of the building, however, a grand jury found no criminal negligence on their part!

Ferdinand and Mary went on to have 3 more children after Joseph: Theresa, Frederick, and Albert Joseph.  Unfortunately, Ferdinand passed away young in February, 1893.

Wife Mary evidently re-married around 1895 to a Mr. Brennan because the 1900 Federal Census names her as Mary Brennan, widowed, and having been married 5 years.  Mr. Brennan had already died.   She was raising her children and his three children as well.

Ferdinand’s Descendants

Ferdinand’s children Theresa and Joseph worked in a stationary factory and never married.

Ferdinand’s sons Frederick and Albert both married.  Three grandchildren of Ferdinand served in the military.  Frederick’s two sons, Frederick James and Joseph Aloysius joined the New York National Guard while Albert’s son Walter Albert was an Army Veteran of World War II, adding to the number of descendants of Elisabeth Scheid Bold that joined the United States Military in some fashion.  Joseph Aloysius died in an automobile accident shortly after signing up for National Guard duty.

All World War I and World War II draft records that I could find for Ferdinand’s children and their descendants describe them as tall individuals, medium build, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a light complexion.

I do not know where Ferdinand is buried.

Richard Bold

Richard Bold was born in 1854 in Busenberg, a few miles from Nuesnchweiler, Germany.  A few years after he arrived at the Port of New York in 1871, I found him in the 1878 Chicago Directory, working as a barber.  At the time of the 1880 Federal Census, he was living with his older brother Alexander and his wife and family, still working as a barber.

I found a news clipping stating that on May 31, 1882, Richard Bold was appointed to the Police Department.  His brother Alexander was also a policer officer at this time.  In 1883 he married another German immigrant, Louise Ruf, daughter of Louis Ruf and Henrietta Gerber.  Later clippings regarding Richard Bold state he was a patrolman at the Larrabee Street Station.  Grandma Ferraro lived on Larrabee.

Chicago Inter-Ocean, June 1, 1882

The Haymarket Massacre and the Bolds

On May 3, 1886, labor demonstrators across the country rallied in support of an 8 hour work day.  A peaceful demonstration in Chicago turned deadly when Chicago police officers attacked and killed picketers at the McCormick Reaper Plant.

The following day, on May 4, 1886, the Haymarket Massacre took place in Haymarket Square.   It too started as a peaceful labor demonstration organized by a few anarchists in support of that 8 hour work day and in support of the laborers the Chicago police had killed the day before.  One of the speakers at the Haymarket Square that evening was a lay Methodist Minister from England, a known activist.

At 10:30 pm, when, according to the data at the Illinois Labor History Society, 176 Chicago Police Officers carrying Winchester repeater rifles were trying to disperse the remaining crowd of 200, an unknown individual threw a dynamite bomb at the police, killing seven of them, and four civilians, and injuring many others.  Gunfire immediately following the blast also resulted in some of the deaths and injuries.  Source:  Wikipedia.

It is unknown who fired the first shot following the bombing and some reports said in the chaos the Chicago police ended up firing on each other.  A historian believes that in less than 5 minutes, 176 Chicago police officers had gotten what they desired because Haymarket Square was emptied of everyone, except for the casualties. Sources: Wikipedia, Chicagocop.com., and Chicagology.com

The next day, Marshal Law was declared in Chicago and the front page of the entire Chicago Tribune was dedicated to “hellish event”.  Source: newspapers.com.

Eventually, in actions led by irrational fear of the foreign born (including several Germans), eight accused anarchists were illegally rounded up, tried and convicted, and hung – including the lay Methodist minister from England.  One commit suicide the evening before the handing.  Later some were pardoned.  Sources: Wikipedia, Illinois Labor History Society, and Chicagocop.com.

More about controversial Haymarket can be found here: Wikipedia article.

I suppose, with the fact that 176 Chicago police officers were there that night, Police Officer Alexander Bold (then assigned to the Des Plaines Street Station) was likely there.  See Chicagocop.com – on duty police officers of the Des Plaines Street Station were at Haymarket that evening.   Patrolman Richard Bold MAY have been there as well.

In 1887, a list was printed in the newspaper of the contributions each police officer in the city made towards the “Haymarket Monument Fund.”  Richard Bold contributed .25 to the fund as part of the Larrabee Street Station.  According to Wikipedia, that monument had been damaged in the early 1900s and later destroyed in demonstrations against the Vietnam War.  A new monument dedicated to the event now stands in front of the Chicago Police Headquarters.

In 1888, I found Richard Bold on the Chicago Voter Registration stating he had lived in Chicago for 15 years and was naturalized. Perhaps he lived in NYC for two years with his Bold relatives there.

In 1889, Richard Bold appeared in list of Chicagoans in the paper who had contributed to the fund for the Chicago’s World Fair.  He contributed $20!  He never lived to see the Fair though.

He passed away in 1890 from influenza complications.  Below is his death notice.

January 18, 1890, The Chicago Inter-Ocean

Richard had a son named Richard, born shortly after his death.  He didn’t live to his first birthday.  I have no idea who the other child is of Richard that is mentioned in his death notice.

Richard Bold is buried in St. Boniface Cemetery, burial place of his sister Emilia Bold Leies.

This all makes me wonder when did Emilia Bold get here and who did she come with, or was she like her siblings and came alone or as a teenager without an adult?


B.R., fourth cousin

T.A., fourth cousin

New York Passenger Manifests

Family Search Busenberg Catholic Church Records

New York City Marriage Index and Death Indexes

Social Security Death Indexes

World War I and World War II Draft Cards

United States Veteran’s Burial Cards

United States Naturalization Indexes

New York National Guard Enlistment Cards

Federal Censuses


Cook County Marriage and Death Indexes

Illinois Labor History Society


Chicago Voter Registration, 1888

City Directories



Nueschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Confirmation Records via microfilm 





 Merry Christmas!










Today’s Wedding Anniversary ~~ Filippo Marcella and Elisabetta Rossi ~~


On this day 124 years ago in Farindola, Italy, Elisabetta Rossi married Filippo Marcella.  They were the parents of my great grandfather Cesidio.

marriagetitleElisabetta Rossi was born in 1866 in Valleceraso, Bacucco, Teramo, a neighboring town, to Giuseppe Antonio Rossi and Anna Antonia Ricci.

The valley outside Bacucco (Arsita), Teramo

Her parents had moved to Farindola before the marriage of their oldest child, Elisabetta.  Elisabetta’s father was originally from Penne, Pescara, having been born there.  I was able to trace back to 6th great grandparents in the Rossi line born around 1740 in Penne.  Giuseppe’s father Domenico was literate and I have a few of his signatures saved.  The one below is from his son’s marriage to Elisabetta’s mother, Anna Antonia Ricci, in Bacucco in 1865.


Anna Antonia Ricci was born in Castiglione Messer Raimondo, Teramo.  However her parents were also born and married in Penne, Pescara.  I was able to trace the Ricci back to the mid 1700s in Penne too, to another set of 6th great grandparents.  The Ricci married a member of the Delle Monache family through which I was able to trace to a set of 7th great grandparents born around 1700.  They were Anastasio Delle Monache and a lady named Lorenza.

My great great grandmother Elisabetta Rossi was the oldest child and had at least 7 siblings: Antonio, Palma, Domenico, Maria Carmina, Giovanni, Anna Domenica, and Girolamo.

Antenati link to Elisabetta’s and Filippo’s marriage

Antenati link to their marriage allegati

Elisabetta married Filippo Marcella, a man who was a widower, and also 23 years older than she was.  Coincidentally, I noticed on the birth records of Filippo’s children to Elisabetta that his age somehow decrease with each record!

Filippo was born in 1844 in Trosciano, Farindola, Pescara to Massimo Nicola Marcella and Maria Carolina Colangeli.  Through miracles of modern Google Earth, this is a clipped image of Contrada Trosciano in Farindola.


Filippo’s first wife was Maria Antonia Lacchetta, the daughter of Filippo Lacchetta and Maria Salzetta.  Maria Antonia had passed away in April of 1893 and Filippo Marcella was left with small children to raise. We don’t know the circumstances of her death but she had given birth to at least 11 children in 20 years.  Some of the children didn’t survive a few days or past infancy.

Filippo’s children with Maria Antonia were: Carmela (died in infancy), Cesidio (died in infancy), Maria Grazia, Donato (died in infancy), Bambino (stillborn), Andrea, Carmine, Raffaele, Pasqua, Filomena, Serafina.

Elisabetta’s first born was my great grandfather Cesidio.  Her other children were Maria Domenica, Antonia Vincenza, and Antonio Andrea.

Filippo Marcella was the fourth of ten children.  He had two sets of twin sisters.  The first set passed away in their childhoods.  He also had a brother that passed away in his childhood.  The siblings that survived to adulthood are as follows: Maria Giustina, Maria Giuseppa (midwife)*, Domenico**, Nicola (Antonio), and the second set of twins Serafina and Maria Domenica.

Filippo’s ancestry, so far, has been traced back to the early 1700s.  His father’s ancestors were born in Farindola to at least that point in history.  His mother’s ancestors encompass at least three midwives, not including his sister, and a line traced to Montebello di Bertona.  Filippo passed away at #137 Trosciano, Farindola in 1916.

Pecorino di Farindola

*Maria Giuseppa married Panfilo Zenone.  This is one way we are related to the Zenone cousins.

**Domenico is the sibling of Filippo through which we are related to the Romagna cousins and again to the Zenone cousins.


Antenati San Beniculturali – Archivio di Stato di Pescara (Farindola, Penne, Montebello di Bertona)

Archivio di Stato di Teramo records on Family Search (Bacucco (Arsita) and Castiglione Messer Raimondo)

Castiglione Messer Raimondo microfilms


Immigrants #32-#34 ~~Great Great Great Grandmother Elisabetha Scheid Bold, her daughters Rosa Bold Ertl, Anna Maria Bold Leies, and their in-laws~~

Recently, I discovered and can confirm that, yes, second great grandmother Emilia Bold’s mother Elisabetha Scheid Bold did come to America, at the age of 57 in 1880, sailing from Rotterdam, Netherlands aboard the ship the Scheidam and died in Manhattan in 1905.  Her daughter Rosa traveled with her.  They traveled in steerage and no profession was listed for either of them.  Through clues in censuses, it appears Elisabetha’s husband, Jacob Scheid, Nunschweiler’s Head Catholic Schoolmaster, had passed away.  Elisabetha came to live with her daughter, Anna Maria Bold, who had been in America for 13 years.

Anna Maria Bold Leies

I find Emilia Bold’s sister intriguing because of the age that she came here alone.  According to church records, Anna Maria Bold was born in 1852 in Busenberg, Germany, a few miles from Nuenschweiler.  At the age of 15, in 1867, Anna Bold’s name appeared in the Hamburg Passenger Lists on the ship named Cimbria sailing for the Port of New York.  Her place of origin was Nunschweiler.  She traveled in steerage.  The passenger listing really specifies her age as 15!  Anna Bold is also listed in the Germans to America index at the age of 15.  Castle Garden lists her as arriving on June 13, 1867 at the age of 15 as well.  The burning question is, did she know anyone on the Cimbria?!  Is there anyone out there researching her that can shed light on this?  What prompted her to leave her home at this age?

Cimbria’s listing for Anna.  Literacy was not specified.


The next year, Anna Bold married Jacob Leies on December 6, 1868 at the age of 16, according to the recently released New York City Marriage Index.  At first I thought this was a mistake that she was marrying at 16 and marrying a Leies.  I actually discounted the index when I first found it.  But no, it is all real and she is really Emilia’s sister.  The marriage index listed the names of Jacob’s parents and also his birthplace as Huberhof – the same farm as second great grandfather Johann Leies.

What is our relationship to Jacob Leies?

Jacob Leies was first cousin to our second great grandfather Johann Leies.  Jacob Leies and Johann Leies shared the same grandparents.  Johann Leies (great great grandfather)  is the husband of Emilia Bold – sister of Anna Maria Bold.  

Jacob Leies was born in Nunschweiler to Johann Jacob Leies and Louisa Catharina Knerr, who immigrated to the United States around 1854 when Jacob was 14.  He and his parents were living in New York City’s 8th Ward at the time of the 1855 New York State Census.  Johann Jacob was listed as a laborer on that census.  The entire Leies family had their surname misspelled as Lyse on that record.

Even though Jacob was about 14 years older than Anna Bold, Anna Bold would have been about the age of 2 when Jacob would have left for America.

Also, Jacob Leies is the brother of Union Soldier Peter Leies, 1841-1862, born in Nunschweiler, Germany and killed at Antietam.  Jacob spent time in the Union Army as well, after his brother’s death at Antietam, in the NY 159th Infantry Regiment.  I have had trouble locating information on Jacob in the Union Army and don’t want to spend the money to order the service records of a first cousin 4 x removed to me no matter how fascinated I am by immigrants in the United States Civil War.

Coincidentally, after the war, Jacob supported Anna and their children as a “manufacturer of artificial limbs.”  That made me wonder if Jacob suffered an injury during the Civil War, so I looked for a pension.  I couldn’t locate proof of one.  The spelling of Leies in most records at this time in America is allover the place as well.  On the other hand, his choice of profession choice could mean nothing.

On to Elisabetha Scheid Bold…

Elisabetha Scheid was born in 1822 in Rodalben to Johann Jacob Scheid and Catharina Buchler according to Rodalben’s Kirkenbuch and Familienbuch.  She married Franz Jacob Bold in Nunschweiler, in 1842 where he was the schoolmaster.  This current blog post is updating some of the facts regarding Elisabetha Scheid in this previous post.

On January 24, 1880, Elisabetha and her youngest daughter, Rosa, arrived in the Port of New York on the ship the Scheidam, which had sailed from Rotterdam, Netherlands.



This is the largest I can make this snippet of their manifest


American records point to proof that Elisabetha’s husband Jacob Bold had passed away in Nunschweiler by 1880.  I found an Elisabetha Bold on the 1880 Federal Census living with her daughter Anna and son-in-law Jacob Leies, and their children Mary Ann, Richard Joseph, Louisa, Jacob Aloysius, and Anna.  Her relationship to head of household Jacob was listed as “mother.” The box for widowed/divorced is checked next to Elisabetha’s name.

Back to Anna…

In 1885, Elisabetha’s son-in-law Jacob Leies passed away.  In 1897, Anna Bold Leies passed away.  Anna’s will on Ancestry.com listed all of her children as heirs and a man listed as her cousin Jacob Weinlin, as Executor.

A little on her children:  Anna’s son Jacob Aloysius Leies joined the United States Navy in 1905.  After his service, he was a post office clerk and never married.  Richard was a merchant/salesman according to federal censuses and city directories.  I have been able to trace Richard’s large amount of descendants to the 1990s while I am still trying to track down what happened Anna’s daughters Louisa, Mary Ann, and Anna.

Juliana Rosa Bold Ertl

Rosa (Julian Rosa) Bold was born in 1860 in Nunschweiler.  As stated above, she came to the United States with her mother in 1880.  It is unclear how long she was in New York City.  She was not on the census with her mother in 1880, nor with her Chicago siblings Richard, Alex, and Emilia.

By 1883 though, she is found in Chicago marrying another German immigrant named John Ertl,  They had three children:  Elizabeth, Karl, and John.  She passed away young, on April 4, 1891 in Chicago.

I could only find one of Rosa’s children in adulthood – Elizabeth, whose profession on the 1940 Federal Census was listed as a stenographer for an architect company.  She never married.  I am still searching for her sons.

Back to Elisabetha…

By the time of the 1900 federal census, Elisabetha was living with Jacob Weinlein, his wife Louisa, and their family in New York City.  Elisabetha was listed as “aunt” as to her relationship with the head of household Jacob.  (He is the same man that was the Executor of Anna’s will.) Elisabetha stated she was widowed, a mother of “8” children and when asked if any of her children were living the number was “0.”

I found that number interesting because her son Immigrant #1: Chicago Police Officer Alexander Bold, was still alive.  You may remember that Alexander had a rocky family life and his wife had divorced him on grounds of cruelty.  I suppose it could be that he was estranged from his family. 

I too count 8 children born to Elisabetha in Germany, as follows:

Emilia – born in 1843, died in 1894 in Chicago

Rosalia Maria Magdalena – born in 1846, died as an infant

Catharina Michaelina – born in 1848, died unk.

Helen Catharina – born in 1849, died unk.

Alexander – born in 1850, died in 1910 in Chicago

Anna Maria – born in 1852, died in 1897 in NYC

Richard – born in 1854, died in 1889 in Chicago (have not told his story yet)

Juliana Rosa – born in 1860, died in 1891 in Chicago

Please see this post on two more brothers of Emilia for an update on this post and more information on the Bold family.


The census taker wrote “yes” in the block under “Can Speak English” in the 1900 federal census for Elisabetha.

Elisabetha passed away on January 14, 1905 in Manhattan.  Several of her descendants are buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester County, New York.  I wonder if her grave is there also.  I have not located it yet.  The New York Death Index did list her parents as Jacob Scheid and Catharina Bechler.  That is so close to Buchler, there can be no mistake that 3rd great grandmother Elisabetha Scheid Bold came to the United States too.

On this Veteran’s Day weekend, I decided to count the amount of Veterans that I could find descended from Elisabetha Scheid and her husband Franz Jacob Bold.  So far, this is what I have: 1 U.S. Navy Veteran, 1 World War I Veteran, 6 World War II Veterans (3 of which were brothers) including Colonel Gerard M. Leies.

I will find what happened to Rosa’s sons and Anna’s daughters!!!!!!!!


Familien – und Seelen-Verzeichnissi fur Pfarrei Rodalben

Rodalben Kirchenbuch

Nunschweiler Catholic Church records via microfilm

Busenberg Catholic Church recrods via Family Search

Hamburg Passenger Lists

New York Passenger Lists


Germans to America

New York State Censuses

United States Federal Censuses

New York City Directories

New York and Chicago birth, marriage, and death indexes

New York State Civil War Muster Rolls


Various records from National Archives pertaining to the descendants of Richard Leies