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.
Anotherfourth 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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
Cook County Marriage and Death Indexes
Illinois Labor History Society
Chicago Voter Registration, 1888
Nueschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Confirmation Records via microfilm
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?
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.
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.”
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
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
This year on Veteran’s Day I remember my great uncle Colonel Gerard M. Leies, United Stated Air Force.
Air Medal with Two Oak Leaves
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Great Uncle Gerard attended the University of Chicago and University of California and received a master’s degree in physics after attending Loyola University.
He enlisted in the Air Corp on June 23rd, 1941. He served as a weather officer for the 13th Bomber Command and 13th Air Force supporting the Guadalcanal and Philippines Liberation campaigns.
He left military service at the end of the war and returned in 1948. From 1948 to 1950 he served as Special Projects Officer with the Air Weather Service in Washington, D.C.
In 1953 he was assigned to Aeronautical Research Laboratory at Wright – Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, serving as a physicist and then as Chief of the Modern Physics branch. He and Donald Reynolds developed a solar generator that ran through cadmium sulfide which the Air Force hoped would be used to power homes in the future. This headline news was picked up by the Associated Press and re-printed across the country in June, 1954.
Uncle Gerard did further work for the Air Force in nuclear physics, solid wastes physics, plasma physics, relativity, and nuclear engineering at the Air Force Technical Applications Center in Orlando, Florida.
In 1962 he was awarded a doctorate from Georgetown University and retired from the Air Force. He remained active in research for the Air Force as a civilian and expanded his research field to include nucleonics.
Uncle Gerard died in 2008. His obituary attributes him to being one of the nation’s first nuclear physicists. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
My great great grandfather Johann Leies was born in Nuenschweiler in the German Palatinate in 1843 to farmers Johann Adam Leies and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeiffer. He came to America in 1867 and became a naturalized citizen of the United States that same year in Wayne County, Ohio. Before moving to Chicago and running a saloon, he worked as a farmer, a carpenter, in beer and wine dealing, and married a childhood friend from Nuenschweiler in Wooster, Ohio – Immigrant #24 ~~ Great Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies~~and had their children, Alexander, my great grandfather, and John Ferdinand.
Uncle John wrote a lot about this immigrant grandfather of his and even visited the Catholic church in Nuenschweiler to obtain a transcribed copy of his grandfather’s baptism. The village is about 6 miles from the current day border of Moselle, Lorraine, France. Johann was born at Huber Hof near Nuenschweiler. Huber Hof was the name of his great grandfather Michael Conrad’s farm. Hof originally meant temple or hall in Old Norse. It later was used for courtyard and eventually for a collection of buildings on a farm. Source: Wikipedia.
When Johann was born, the farm had already been inherited by his grandmother Gertruda Conrad. Information on his estate came from a great source: Intelligenzblatt des Rheinkreises, Volume 7, or Google Books! Johann was the oldest of at least four children. The baptismal records of Nuenschweiler are missing a few decades which means there may have been more siblings.
Like me, Uncle John did not know the date or location of Johann’s arrival here, although he left a great trail for the researchers that would come after him. He thinks he may have entered the country in New Orleans.
I wondered why did Johann go to Wooster, Ohio when I read Uncle John’s research. This past summer when I found a relation of ours (Union Soldier Peter Leies, 1841-1862, born in Nunschweiler, Germany and killed at Antietam), I began looking for more Leies family members in the Civil War. That led me to two other first cousins of great great grandfather Johann that were drafted during the Civil War in Ohio – Henry and Anthony Leies. They were brothers. From what I can tell, they were only drafted and didn’t serve. Their parents were Heinrich Leies and Barbara Buchheit from Nuenschweiler and all of them had been living in Wooster, Ohio. Heinrich was the oldest brother of Johann’s father making them aunt and uncle to Johann.
Not only is it apparent at this point in my research that the Heinrich Leies family paved the way for the other Leieses to come to America, but they got here even earlier than our first direct American ancestor Johann Schuttler in 1849. Heinrich Leies, wife Barbara, and their sons arrived in New York City in 1848.
I do siblings when I count the immigrants in my tree. Do Heinrich and family count since he was the sibling of Johann’s father? Definitely.
Back to Johann. Do you think he lived with Uncle Heinrich or a cousin when he got to Wooster? It is very likely. Johann would only have been about 5 years old when his Uncle Heinrich and Aunt Barbara left Nuenschweiler. Both his Uncle Heinrich and Aunt Barbara were two of his baptismal sponsors, as you can see on the parish record below.
Uncle John had a copy of a letter his grandfather wrote to his cousin Johann Leies (a different Johann!) in Massweiler, Germany in 1910 that he translated from German and distributed to his family before his death. One detail from his life in Germany is written in the letter. He stated that “When I was 18 years old I worked in Pirmasens near the church not far from Loewenbrunnen for a Jew called Wolf. He had a bone mill at Nuenschweiler; his son’s name was Alphonse. He went to America.”
Important facts about Johann’s years in America were listed in the letter to back home in 1910 in this order:
“I have been in America for 43 years. I worked as a farmer and carpenter for two years;
Then I worked 7 years in the wine and beer industry in Wooster, Ohio;
Then we moved to Chicago. Here in Chicago I have dealt in beer and wine for 8 years;
Then for four years in other types of work;
Then for 22 years in the piano business with my son.”
At the time of the 1880 Census in Wooster, Ohio, Johann’s cousin Henry Leies was running a saloon. I can’t help but think that Johann may have been working there at some point before he moved to Chicago in the “wine and beer industry.”
The paper trail on Johann picks up in Chicago in 1880 where he is running a saloon according to the census. I would love to know the name of his saloon – his beer and wine business. I couldn’t find anything on newspapers.com regarding his saloon. By the mid 1890s, the hard-working and diligent Johann owned his own piano dealing shop – John Leies Pianos. Later he brought his son Alexander into the piano dealing business and they became known as John Leies & Son Pianos.
Johann remarried in 1896, two years after the death of Emilia Bold. His second wife, Carolina Sickel, was born in New Orleans. The 1910 Federal Census stated that her father was born in France, and that her mother was born in Germany. She had been put into a home before Johann died in Chicago in 1922. You can see his Find-a-Grave Memorial here.
Written in Latin above, in the margin next to Johann’s baptism, is his date of death in America. Uncle John knew his grandfather often sent money home to the parish in Nuenschweiler. The priest back home either received word of his death from a relative in Nuenschweiler, a relative in Chicago who wrote home, or from Uncle John himself when he visited. In turn, the church books of Nuenschweiler were photographed by the Latter Day Saints. I would like to think it was from Uncle John.
Uncle John wrote a fantastic report on this grandfather of his. Email me if you wish to have a copy.
One of Johann’s ancestors was named Hans Adam Schwartz, born around 1650. According to the Contwig Reformed Church Records I found, he was a Gerichtsschoffe or Court Alderman in the Zwiebrucken area of the Palatinate. He was our 7th great grandfather. His daughter Anna Ottilia married our 6th great grandfather Jakob Johann Wenceslaus Layies-Trauden. Leies was spelled as Layies at that point in the church records.
Johann also had ancestors born in France like his wife Emilia. The earliest known of them was Jean Michel Conrad, born December 3, 1697 in Shweyen, Moselle. I would like to point out that in 1697, parts of the Palatinate were under French rule. His baptism from the Archives of Moselle is below. Thank you cousin G. Pfeiffer in France for sharing and emailing many Conrad records to me.
Like some of the ancestry of Emilia Bold, going back to the 1400s in this part of Europe, there are two parts of Johann’s ancestry that “claim” to be able to trace back to the 1400s, and even to the 1300s in a town in the present-day Saarland. In the 1300s the region of present-day Saarland was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Emilia’s Helfrich line isn’t a myth right now like Johann’s pre-1600s ancestors are for American researchers. Maybe those trees on Geneanet are correct, but I can’t prove it!
Johann’s 1910 letter stated he had a photo album of his family back in Germany. If that album still exists, it must be a treasure.
Wayne County, Ohio Historical Society
Nuenschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Records
Hornbach Catholic and Protestant Church Records
Intelligenzblatt des Rheinkreises, Volume 7
Cousin G. Pfeiffer, France
Baptemes Loutzviller 1691-1723, Archives 57
Contwig, Germany Church Records
Weisbach and Massweiler, Germany Catholic and Reformed Church Records
Zur Familie Trauden/Layes von Oberhausen, by Johannes Becherer via L. Broschart in Koblenz, Germany
United States Federal Censuses
Ohio Birth and Marriage Indexes
Chicago Marriage and Death Indexes
New York Passenger Lists/Manifests/National Archives
Chicago City Directories
Numerous French and German personal genealogy databases
I share DNA with the descendants of the Hauck family and Helfrich family that emigrated to Pennsylvania before the Revolution.
Anyone in America that has the surname Leies in their tree and has ancestors that immigrated to NYC and Wooster, Ohio is my DNA cousin. They can all be traced back to Wenceslaus Layes-Trauden who lived the Zweibrucken area in the 1690s. His origin is unknown.
*My Kempf ancestors from Grosssteinhausen, RP are possibly descended from the Saarbrucken Kempfs in the Saarland. I am working to prove descendancy from the Bailiff Hufflinger who lived in Saarbrucken in the 1400s which French researchers on Geneanet seem to think is a possibility.
Moselle, Lorraine, France
Loutzviller: Bittel, Scheid(t), Conrad
Schweyen: Conrad, Stauder
Volmunster: Bittel, Ziegler, Stauder, Stauder dit Le Suisse
I have DNA matches with the Conrad family that emigrated to Germantown, Pennsylvania. I share DNA matches with the Stauders the emigrated to Ohio from the Palatinate.
Bernese Anabaptist Refugees to the Palatinate
Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Bern: Rubeli/Strubel (from Langnau), Muller – Rubeli and Muller migrated to Fischbach, RP and lived in Messerschwanderhof and Contwig. The Rubeli were related to the Gungerich Anabaptists of Diessbach. See: Mennosearch.com and Der Tauferlehrer Christian Gungerich von Oberdiessbach (1595-1671) und der Streit um Seinen Nachlas by Hanspeter Jecker.
Our newly discovered Union Private Peter Leies was born at Huberhof, Nunschweiler, Germany in 1841 and killed in action at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 in the single most bloodiest day in American history. Peter is our cousin and left no wife or children. He enlisted at age 21 in New York City in the NY 4th Infantry, Company “D.”
I found a little information about Peter in an American Civil War Research database. I hope the link to him works for you before we hit a paywall. The only other information I know about Peter and the war are the records I found pertaining to him on Ancestry.
The enlistment officer wrote his name as Peter Leas. His pension card had that noted as his alias. LEIES also appears on the pension card, and with the names of his parents on the card, I knew he was the first cousin to my great great grandfather Johann Leies. I have all of the Leies baptisms and confirmations from Nunschweiler, Germany in a file. In my research experience, nobody but an actual relative of my grandmother spells their surname as L-E-I-E-S.
In 1865, his mother Louisa Knerr Leies applied for his pension after the war ended. In 1874, his father then applied for the pension, probably after his mother passed.
I found Peter quite by accident last night. I was chasing down the Leies relatives of Grandma in NYC and trying to prove Peter’s brother Jacob Leies enlisted in the Union Army. I wasn’t looking for Peter until I found his parents listed on his pension card. We have long known we had no direct ancestors in the United States Civil War.
I wonder now what possessed the ethnic Germans to enlist in the Civil War and desire to learn more about the Battle of Antietam. I found a reference to Peter’s Company “D” on another Civil War page saying it was formed with the intent of being a solely German company. I know that didn’t work out because there is a shamrock on the monument to his regiment at Antietam. Follow this link to the memorial.
According to the 1855 NY State Census, Peter and his brother Jacob had been living in NYC since 1852. I found a Jacob Leies enlisting in the NY 159th in 1862. The problem is that on that enlistment record Jacob has his birthplace listed as Brooklyn. I have Jacob’s baptismal record from Nunschweiler. So I wonder if they put Brooklyn on the record if Jacob no longer had the German accent. I will have to research Jacob some more. He is the one that led me to Peter.
With the United States Army Heritage Center so close by, I intend to take advantage of the opportunity to research Private Peter Leies further because, he is a Leies and he died in action. He gets his own research binder.
In case you are wondering how we are related, Peter Leies and my great great grandfather Johann Leies shared the same grandfather.
Immigrant Emilia Anna Bold was born in 1843 in Nuenschweiler, Rheinpfalz, Germany like her future husband Johann Leies. She was the daughter of Nuenschweiler’s Catholic Schoolmaster Franz Jacob Bold and Elisabetha Scheid. She was my second great grandmother.
Emilia was 1 of 5 Bold children that survived to adulthood. Her brothers Alexander, Richard, came to the United States sometime around 1866. The Catholic Kirchenbuch of Nuenschweiler lists Emilia and her brother Alexander as being confirmed in 1865. Their confirmation sponsor was Emilia’s future husband Johann Leies. In that record the parish priest spelled his surname “Lays.” Emilia’s brothers were both Chicago police officers. We know that Immigrant #1: Chicago Police Officer Alexander Bold was naturalized in 1866 which leads me to believe that is about the same time Emilia arrived. In those days you didn’t have to be in the country for at least 5 years before you could be naturalize. Nobody has ever been able to find the immigration records of the Bolds coming to the United States. Of course it is possible that Emilia came to America with Johann Leies. However, there is no evidence they were married yet. Their marriage was not in the Nuenschweiler Kirchenbuch. I am making a guess they were married in Ohio.
Emilia married Johann Leies. Their sons Alexander (my great grandfather) and John Ferdinand were born in 1870 and 1872, in Wooster, Ohio.
Emilia’s second son, my great grandfather’s brother, John Ferdinand, was ordained a Redemptorist Priest in 1896 in New Orleans and died of a sudden illness shortly thereafter. Uncle John wrote about his uncle John Ferdinand, and in the near future, it will be shared here, like the life of The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920.
I only have two records plus a newspaper clipping in America that mention Emilia specifically. She appears on the 1880 census in Chicago as wife of Johann Leies keeping house when he is running a tavern in Chicago. The second record is her Cook County, Illinois death index record! The news clipping is about a civil suit appeal in which she is mentioned in the Civil Suit roll as a plaintiff in 1877, the outcome of which I haven’t yet been able to find. I think she was close to her brother Alexander, having named my great grandfather after him. Maybe both of her brothers frequented her husband’s saloon.
Two years after her passing, Emilia’s widower married Caroline Sickel, a native of New Orleans. She was the daughter of a French immigrant father and German immigrant mother with the surname of Kunz who Uncle John was certain was also a native of Nuenschweiler. She and Johann had no children.
Back in Germany: Franz Jacob Bold
It is known that Emilia’s father Franz Jacob Bold stayed behind in Germany because in 1874 he appeared in this book in 1874 and listed as the schoolmaster of the Catholic school in Nuenschweiler:
Franz Jacob also signed Catholic Church records in Nuenschweiler as the head school master. See Another Week, Another Country. Discoveries in Germany in the Leies Line. The Bolds have been hard to research beyond the parents of Franz Jacob Bold – Johann Adam Bold and Margaretha Becker. He was born in nearby Labach in 1811, and was 1 of 8 children. They were 7 boys and 1 girl in all. Emilia’s Bold grandfather was a farmer. Source: Familienbuch, Knopp-Labach 1785-1799-1824. They moved the family to Rodalben, a neighboring town to Nuenschweiler. Source: Rodalben Kirchenbuch. Because Emilia’s father was the schoolmaster, I want to find out more about the Bolds to see if there are more teachers in her father’s ancestry.
“I can’t help but think the genes of Emilia’s father maybe the cause for so many schoolteachers in Emilia’s descendants.”
Like Emilia, little is known about the life of her mother Elisabetha Scheid. Could she have come to the United States with her children? It is possible. I found a widowed Elizabeth Bold in the 1900 New York City census living with a niece and nephew born in Germany in September 1822. That jives with our Elisabetha. But I can’t connect the niece and nephew to our Elisabetha.
Unfortunately, as is common in researching female ancestors, I know more about Elisabetha’s ancestry than I do her or her daughter Emilia Bold. Elisabetha married Franz Jacob Bold in Nuenschweiler in 1842. She was born in Rodalben in 1822. Please refer to the map below. Fr. Peter Bold baptized her. Elisabetha was the youngest of the 10 children born to Catharina Buchler and Johann Jakob Scheid. Once I had the names of her parents and birthplace, the ancestors just kept coming and are still increasing. According to 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald** and Die Helfriche* a branch of Elisabetha’s ancestry was living in this southwestern area of the Palatinate before and after the Thirty Years War, which I understand was rare for that time period. Sources: Nuenschweiler Kirchenbuch, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, Familien-und Seelen-Vercheisnissi fur Pfarrei Rodalben, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Die Helfriche.
Elisabetha’s great grandfather Frederic Scheidt was born in Loutzviller, Moselle, France in 1691.
Source: Baptemes Loutzviller, Archives Moselle/Archives 57, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, Register zu Gerichtsbuch Amtes Grafenstein . The surname is seen with a “t” at the end in Moselle, France.
I like to refer to Elisabetha Scheid as one of the “mill ladies” in my German ancestry because she is one of the ladies that descends from a lot of millers. Two of her great grandfathers, Frederic Scheidt and Christian Becker were millers near Rodalben in Germany. There is evidence from the land purchases and sales in the Register zu Gerichtsbuch des Amtes Grafenstein 1657-1732, that Frederic Scheidt owned several mills in the Rodalben area to include Trulben. Frederic Scheidt’s migration story is coming.
Two of Elisabetha’s great great grandfathers, Johann Jacob (Georg) Hauck and Jean Nicolas Scheidt owned mills. Johann Jacob (Georg) Hauck owned a mill in Vinningen near Rodalben while Jean Nicolas Scheidt owned the Moulin d’Eschviller in Volmunster, Moselle which had previously been owned by his father-in-law Nicolas Bittel/Buttel. This was likely the town’s mill. The current day Moulin d’Eschvhiller is not the mill that was standing in the 1600s. Nicolas Bittel’s father Gall Bittel was a miller in Haspelschiedt, Moselle. Right there, Elisabetha Scheid has at least 6 ancestors owning or operating mills in the Palatinate and Moselle. Sources: Register zu Gerichtsbuh des Amtes Grafenstein, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Die Helfriche, Archives Moselle/Archives 57, Heredis Online, Wikipedia.
Before I write about the unconfirmed part of Elisabetha’s Moselle ancestry from the French Genealogy website Geneanet.org, I have to account for two small things regarding Elisabetha’s ancestry which are also confirmed through credible sources. Her great great great grandfather Jean Jacques Hauck was Game Keeper (Garde Forestier) and Court Alderman (Eschevin de Justice). Source: Heredis Online. His son, the miller Johann Jacob Georg, married Anna Katharina Helfrich. Do you remember that surname from the Schultheiss post? Anna Katharina Helfrich was the daughter of Schultheiss Johann Valentin Helfrich. Now if I am counting correctly, Anna Katharina Helfrich was also the 6th great granddaughter of Junker Helfrich of Leiningen, who was alive in the early 1400s. Emilia Bold would then be the 11th great grand daughter of Junker Helfrich. Sources: Die Helfriche, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Rodalben Kirchenbuch. A Junker is a usually a minor nobleman or an honorific title, or a country squire. Source: Wikipedia.
Unconfirmed Scheidt Possibilities:
Every time I turn around there are more French genealogy sites giving me more avenues on these ancestors. The major French genealogy site is called Geneanet.org. There are spectacular trees from Moselle on there. And the sources! Wow! Their sourced tree are incredible! Many trees on Geneanet detail parts of the French ancestry of Elisabetha Scheid, that me as an American, without access to more records can neither prove or deny without having someone visit the archives for me. One tree makes a claim that Frederic Scheidt’s great grandfather Alexandre Zeigler was a miller in Volmunster. This data is confirmed at Heredis Online but is not confirmable elsewhere. If that turns out to be true, that would make seven millers in Elisabetha’s ancestry.
Gall Bittel, mentioned above, if the trees can be believed, is purported to have been born in Sarreguemines, Moselle and his father Nicolas Shaub “dit Bittel” is alleged to have migrated from Switzerland or Tyrol. The sources in these trees site notarial records of Comte de Bitche that were not destroyed during the Thirty Years War. Another tree makes the claim that Frederic Scheidt’s great grandfather Francois Jacques Fabing/Faber was born in Switzerland, while another one ties the surname to the Fabers that lived in Bitche, Moselle. If the latter is to be believed, and Emilia Bold’s ancestor Susanna Fabing’s father is actually a Faber from Bitche, and not Switzerland, then Emilia Bold and Johann Leies would be distantly related to each other because the Bitche Fabers are in the ancestry of my second great grandfather Johann Leies as well. The French have access to older records and genealogy books at their genealogy societies that I can only dream of accessing here. I am still skeptical about these Fabers/Fabings and Nicolas Shaub claims .
I wish I knew half as much about Emilia that I do about her mother’s ancestry and I just wish I had a photo of her.
In addition to the sources mentioned throughout this post that can be found at Family Search online and on microflim or online at Archives Moselle/57, the following sources were used:
Uncle John’s writings
United States Federal Censuses
Cook County Marriage and Death Indexes
*The book on the Helfrich’s full title is: Die Helfriche im Grafensteiner Amt by Alfons Helfrich. It is not available online.
On this day in 1852, my 16 year old great great great grandmother Louisa Gerbing departed from Hamburg, Germany for Quebec City, Canada with her parents Friedrich and Marta, and her 4 siblings Franz-19, Christian-17, Dorothea-12, and Maria-7 on the ship the Anna Catharina, piloted by Captain Gehm. Friedrich’s occupation was maurer or mason. According to the manifest, his place of birth was Vieselbach, Preussen. It is a tiny town outside of Erfurt.
It was cheaper for them to take a ship to Canada and the trip would have lasted around 90 days.
My great great grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht had 5 siblings. Carl, Auguste, Wilhelm, Heinrich Ferdinand, and Eduard. His brothers Edward and Henry Ferdinand arrived in New York City on May 25, 1866 aboard the Jennie with him. Edward was the baby of the family. You can see him on the far left of this photo taken sometime between 1868 and 1875. Henry is likely the tallest pictured in the middle back OR the gentleman on the far right.
Edward was born in 1859 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia. He was only 6 or 7 when he came to America with his family. He looks very young in the above photo! By 1880, he was living with his brother Wilhelm and working as a harness maker because his mother Marie Louise, seated above – middle, was already deceased. His father Quirinus, seated above, was living with his oldest son Carl. On September 27, 1880, at the age of 21, Edward enlisted in the United States Army in St. Louis, Missouri. His profession was recorded as harness maker and he was listed as 5’5″, having blue eyes, light hair, and possessing a light complexion. He was put into the cavalry, naturally, because he was a harness maker. Of the 41 enlistments on the page I found him, he was 1 of 19 men born outside the United States.
Edward was part of a famous regiment – the 4th Cavalry Regiment, Company B. Edward would have enlisted at the time the United States was engaged in various struggles with Native American resistance in the West. In fact, Edward enlisted in the 4th Cavalry Regiment at the time they had been sent to Colorado to “subdue” the Utes and then to Arizona to “subdue” the Apache. In Company B he would have served directly under then Colonel Ranald S. McKenzie, aka “Bad Hand/No Finger Chief”. In October, the 4th Cavalry under MacKenzie was sent to New Mexico to “subdue” White Mountain Apaches, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and Mescaleros. Edward deserted the United States Military on May 5, 1881. About 1/3 of the page of enlistments where I located his name had deserted.
I find it incredibly interesting this Eckebrecht tale was lost to my side of the Eckebrecht family considering the fact that about ten years earlier his brother, my great great grandfather Fritz, was a “captive” of the Comanche in Texas. Uncle John had doubts about the word “captive” too. See: The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920 If Fritz was a “captive” I never understood how he was allowed to visit a German family for Sunday dinner once a week. Don’t forget the tale about our Fritz… during a civil case before a judge he spoke with his thick German accent. A lawyer told him to speak more clearly – more “real American.” Fritz replied in Comanche. The lawyer asked him what he had said. Fritz said, “That was real American, from the people who were here before we came…”
Nobody views desertion positively, right? Since Edward was part of a military unit that at that time was forcing the Native Americans to reservations, there is no fault in his desertion… That being said, unless the digging pans out with the potential brother of Johann Schuttler, a.k.a. “The Gigantic Brick Wall” ancestor, Edward was the first of the first in the Ferraro ancestry that served in any capacity in the United States Military.* Edward Eckebrecht was an immigrant that enlisted to serve his new country. He deserted for a reason we will probably never know.
*My 3rd great grandfather Johann “The Gigantic Brick Wall” Schuttler made wagons for the Union Army but never served. I am on the trail of a potential close relation to him that served in the Civil War for Illinois as a wagoner.
After he left the army, Edward married Mary Ruebhausen, a German-American. They had two children: Loretta and Elmer. By 1900 Edward was a machine engineer for a bank. He had a stepdaughter through that marriage – Sophie Eckebrecht. Sophie married Gerald Brown. Edward died in 1926 in Chicago.
Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht
Researching Fritz’s brother Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht gave me a hint about the migration of the Eckebrecht family to Chicago. I always thought the Eckebrechts stopped off somewhere between arriving in NYC in 1866 and appearing in Chicago on the 1870 census. I found the confirmation of Henry Ferdinand in the St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in Chicago with a date of April 5, 1868. So Quirinus and Louise Eckebrecht already had the family in Chicago by 1868. I believe at this point that our Fritz was wandering around the Post-War South picking crops.
Henry Ferdinand was in the medical profession, the only sibling of Fritz that didn’t work in a laboring capacity. He was a pharmacist. In fact, he was comfortable enough in the 1900 census to have a servant. Henry Ferdinand married a German-American born in Wisconsin named Theresa Louise Engleman. They had three children: Henry Frederick, Theresa, and Albert. Henry Ferdinand has many descendants on the West Coast today. Below is a photo of his son Henry Frederick that I retrieved from his Seaman’s Certificate application on Ancestry from 1918.
Researching Edward Eckebrecht was a surprise for me. You have to read everything on a military record! I have not found any biological descendants of Edward alive after 1920. I would like to research more about Edward’s time in the United States Army to find out what his Company did while he served.
New York Passenger Lists
Chicago City Directories
United States Federal Censuses
Chicago Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes
United States Social Security Death Index
Chicago 1892 Voter Registration
National Archives, U.S. Army Register of Enlistments
Coming: Carmine’s sister Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia.
I do plan to do write-ups on the Gerbing immigrants (the family of my third great grandmother.) Her siblings had huge families, who had huge families, who are now allover the country. They may likely come last.