Immigrant #29 ~ Great Great Grandfather Johann Leies, Chicago Saloon Owner and Piano Dealer ~

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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.

 

Heinrichship
September 1848 Passenger Manifest of the Nicolas, which sailed from Le Havre, France

 

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.

JohannesBaptism
Johannes Leies Baptism, dated April 25, 1843, Catholic Parish in Nuenschweiler

 

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.

 

LeiesandSonPianos
Chicago City Directory, 1896

 

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.

The Ancestry of Johann Leies (so far)

The great grandmother of Johann was Margaretha Rubly.  It is in this part of Leies line that we descend from The Anabaptist Rubeli of Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Switzerland, religious refugees to the German Palatinate in 1672.  I really enjoyed researching that part of the Leies family.

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.

cropped-jeanmichel.jpg

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.  

Sources:

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

Uncle John

Chicago Marriage and Death Indexes

Find-a-Grave

Newspapers.com

New York Passenger Lists/Manifests/National Archives

Wikipedia

Google Books

Chicago City Directories

Numerous French and German personal genealogy databases

 

 

–cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My German Palatinate, Saarland, Lorraine, France, and Swiss Anabaptist Surname and Place Lists

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The German Palatinate

  • Nunschweiler: Leies/Lais/Layes/Leis/Leyes, Bold, Pfeiffer, Scheid (originated in Loutzviller, Moselle), Bauer, Burkhart, Conrad (originated in Schweyen, Moselle)
  • Knopp-Labach: Bold, Becker
  • Rodalben: Scheid (originated in Loutzviller, Moselle), Buchler, Becker, Wilhelm, Hauck, Bisser(in), Helfrich/Helferich/Helferig
  • Vinnigen: Hauck, Kolsch (originated in Moselle)
  • Leimen/Merzalben/Leiningen: Reber, Helfrich/Helferich/Helferig (in Leimen before and after the Thirty Years War according to 850 Jahre Leimen.  See also Die Helfriche)
  • Mauschbach: Conrad, Steu/yer, Pfeiffer, Kempf, Burkhart, Ziegler
  • Grosssteinhausen: Pfeiffer, Kempf, Schaefer, Engel
  • Leichelbingen (Monbijou): Ziehl
  • Hornbach: Ziehl
  • Beidershausen: Stuppi/y, Muller, Rubli
  • Niedershausen: Stuppi
  • Oberhausen: Rubly/Rubli, Schwartz, Leyies/Leies/Layes/Leyies-Trauden/Traudi
  • Bechhofen: Rubli
  • Zweibrucken: Schwartz
  • Weisbach: Leies
  • Contwig: Leyies/Leies/Leyies-Trauden/Leyies-Traudi/Traudi, Rubeli
  • Messerschwanderhof: Rubeli

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. 

Please see this former post on the ancestry of Emilia Bold from Nunschweiler who descends from the Hauck, the Helfrich, and several Moselle and Pfalz millers: Immigrant #24 ~~ Great Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies~~

 

Saarland*

  • Saarbrucken: Kempf, Ludt, Hufflinger
  • Burbach: Gans, Hufflinger

*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
  • Haspelscheidt: Fabing/Faber
  • Sarreguemines: Bittel
  • Roppeviller: Schaub dit Bittel
  • Bliesbruck: Stauder dit Le Suisse
  • Leiderschiedt: Weyland
  • Urbach: Faber, Champion (origin possibly Picardie, France)
  • Petit-Rederching: Faber, Faber dit Schoff Jockel
  • Bitche: Faber

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, Muller migrated to Fischbach, RP and lived in Messerschwanderhof and Contwig.  The Rubeli were related to the Gungerich Anabaptists of Diessbach.  See: Mennosearch.com. 

My DNA matches the Rubeli descendants that emigrated to Pennsylvania before the Revolution.  They used Ruble and Ruple in America.  See also this former blog post for sources and references on the Rubeli: Immigrants #11 to 20 ~ The Anabaptist Rubeli of Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Switzerland.

 

Links to my Palatinate Immigrants and Refugees on Ancestry.com

Christian Rubeli – Mennonite Refugee to the Palatinate

Anna Muller – Mennonite Refugee to the Palatinate

Emilia Bold Leies

Elisabetha Scheid Bold

Johannes Leies

Peter Leies – Palatinate Immigrant that died at Antietam

 

cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net 

Shoot me an email if you want to compare DNA. Have a Wonderful Fourth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immigrant #24 ~~ Great Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies~~

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.

EmiliaBold
Emilia’s baptism from the Catholic Kirchenbuch of Nuenschweiler.  Her godmother is her aunt Gertrud Scheid.  Father Peter Bold baptized her.  He was from Rodalben.  He baptized her mother in Rodalben in 1822 as well.

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.

In 1876, Emilia and Johann moved to Chicago.  I regret that so little else is known about my second great grandmother.  Emilia died at age 51 in 1894 and is buried in Saint Boniface Cemetery in the Leies plot. Emilie Bold Leies (1843 – 1894) – Find A Grave Memorial.

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:

FranzBook

bold
Snippet out of the blatt

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.”

Elisabetha Scheid

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.

frederic scheidt baptism
Frederic Scheidt had a “t” at the end of his name on his baptism.  I was lucky.  His baptism was on the first page of records at Archives 57.

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.

Elisabethatree.PNG
Portion of Elisabetha’s pedigree

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. 

 

Rodalben Area.PNG
Map of the southwest corner of the German Palatinate bordering Moselle, Lorraine.  Some areas mentioned are underlined in red.  The arrow at the top points to the direction of Leiningen, Germany and the arrow at the bottom points to the direction of Bitche, Moselle.

 

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.

 

LeiningenSchloss
Leiningen Schloss

 

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.

Frederictree.PNG
Frederic’s pedigree.  If correct, Francois Jacques and Ottilia would be my 10th great grandparents

 

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

Find-a-Grave

United States Federal Censuses

Cook County Marriage and Death Indexes

Newspapers.com

*The book on the Helfrich’s full title is: Die Helfriche im Grafensteiner Amt by Alfons Helfrich.  It is not available online.

**The link to 850 Jahre Leimen is here: click me

Coming:  The next immigrant is Carmine Ferraro’s Mother Filomena Napolitano from Nola, Napoli, Campania.  I don’t have much more to add about Filomena’s life beyond what was in that previous post.  I have been investigating her mother’s tree for about 6 months and found a midwife ancestress that I have been studying.

cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net

-A