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After years of searching, I finally found my great-great grandmother! All it took was a little time  (a LOT of time!) and a few bucks (well, actually a lot more than a few!) and voila! I found out she died and was buried in Queens, New York. You see, Grandma, Amelia Gode, had two daughters, my ancestor (Minnie) on the west coast, and and her elder sister on the east coast. Once I found Louisa Kreutzer, I found her mother and my great-great grandmother!! The next order of business was a trip to The Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery to photograph the headstone.

Since I found this information in the late fall, an early spring trip was planned. Only snag in this was there was no spring . . . well actually there was, but about a 4 day span and I missed it! We’ve had winter this year, a couple days of spring, back to winter, a week of summer, and this week we are having spring. Ideal week to go! Springtime in June!

Tuesday I boarded the 8:32 train heading for Penn Station in New York, sat back and enjoyed the ride. The most enjoyable part of the ride was finding $20! That’s the 3rd time in a month I’ve found $20! The first time was in a pair of jeans I hadn’t worn since last winter, the 2nd time was in the Ikea parking lot, and this time it was in a little zippered purse in a bag I bought at the Salvation Army just for this trip! I’m on a roll! I could tell it was going to be a good day!

Once I arrived in New York, I immediately headed one block away to catch the M subway that was heading to my destination. For just short of a $5 bill, I bought a ticket for the trip out and back, grabbed a seat and watched the sights . . . both on the subway and on the horizon.

The subway had a variety of people to look at, from boys carrying skateboards to women carrying Gucci bags, and every imaginable person in between. The horizon was just as colorful.  In one section of Brooklyn, all I could see was rooftops – rooftops of very tall buildings with all of the chimneys colorfully painted with various graffiti. Suprisingly, I found it interesting and beautiful in a strange kind of way. I wish I had taken a picture, but then it would have been a blur since the rate of speed of the car didn’t match the rate of speed that my little mind moves.

AllFaithsCemetery

The end of the line was at Metropolitan Avenue, right across the street from the cemetery office! I walked to the office and saw a sign on the door that said it was closed from 12:00 to 1:00 for lunch so I decided to take a walk rather than try the door. Good decision on my part. As I started to walk, I met one of the nicest employees in the cemetery who offered to drive me to the site if I knew the lot number and told me just to go in and ask the girls in the office. Forget about the sign on the door since it wasn’t accurate. Meanwhile someone else needed directions so he was going to lead him to the site he was looking for and I would ride with Mr. Rodriquez in the Cemetery’s pick up. My site was on the north side of Metropolitan Avenue. The women in the office were nice enough to furnish me with this map for the north side with the section G-G-Grandma is buried in circled for reference. The red dot signifies the area she is supposed to be buried.

OfcMap

As I said this cemetery is HUGE, and the site the other man was looking for was at the back of the property on the south side of Metropolitan Avenue, and mine was on the north side, the very old side. Needless to say I got a wonderful tour of the south part of the cemetery with Mr Rodriquez pointing out various things of interest to look at.

Kreutzer Site

I had already prepared myself to not be disappointed if Amelia Gode’s headstone was either no longer there or too difficult to read. As I had anticipated, Amelia’s memorial was no where to be found. What you see above is the site, or plot. The first two headstones facing the front are Gabriel and Louisa Kreutzer’s next to Gustav Kreutzer, Grabriel’s youngest brother. The small one behind the Kreutzer couple’s is facing the other way and belongs to the largest one facing the road. That plot belongs to the Broadmans. The one next to Gustav’s is the next site over. Only the two Kreutzer’s belong in this particular site.

Kreutzer

Louisa Kreutzer is Amelia’s eldest daughter, so I knew we were at the correct site. As I leaned over to remove a few weeds so I could photograph the memorial, Mr. Rodriquez insisted on getting his weed wacker and clearing it himself. He made me stand clear of it ~ which I did because I could get a photograph of exactly how accommodating the staff of this cemetery is.

weeding

When I finished taking photographs of the area, I hopped back in Mr. Rodriquez’ pick up and he dropped me 0ff at the office, so I could ask a few questions ~ specifically, is there a book published on this cemetery? Answer: not that they know of! (and why not??? It’s a wonderful cemetery!)

FrickeBefore I left I took pictures of several monuments that impressed me, and this was one of them. I don’t know how the Slatterys are related to the Frickes, or even if they are. I photographed this, because I do have Fricke in my ancestral line. I have a Sophia Fricke who is my 6th great grandmother, on my mother’s side, so I had to take a picture of this particular monument.scene

This scene just appealed to me. It was so serene looking, and looked like a place that a family could have had a picnic by on a Sunday afternoon.

German

. . .  and this one was just plain elaborate and beautiful!! It is located on the corner of the site diagonally across from the Kreutzers.

After a few more pictures, it was back to the M line and for the trip to the Big Apple for a delicious sandwich, a bottle of $3.50 Diet Coke and a ride home in “The Quiet Car” on the Amtrak. Jim was there to greet me at the station. Life is good.

Google map

This is a Google map, with exactly how far I had to walk to get to the final resting place of my ancestor. The blue dot represents the Subway station, the red dot, the Cemetery Office, and the yellow dot, the burial site of the Kreutzers and my great-great Grandmother.

I cannot end this blog without giving a sincere thanks and hats off to the wonderful staff at this gorgeous cemetery. It is evident that they take personal pride in their service to visitors and the grounds their loved ones rest in. I, for one, am deeply appreciative.

Although I could not find her marker, there is no doubt that she is buried here. The office has records that prove it,

. . . and the earth probably has what is left of her earthly remains.

It’s our tradition. Every year we take a trip or two and visit relatives for Memorial Day. Well, actually we don’t visit live relatives, we visit my ancestors, take them flowers, pull a few weeds and take another picture of their headstones, as though the information changed since the last time we visited. It never changes, the information, that is, but the headstone, that’s another story!

We started on Saturday and drove north to Harrisburg to visit my great-great-grandparents in their home in Harrisburg Cemetery. There was a change in their headstone, but it wasn’t drastic. This was the headstone as I photographed it in 2009.2009

. . . and this is the way it appeared on Saturday, a little worse for the wear, but very readable and looking like it will last for quite a while.

Niess

Abraham Auxer, Catharine’s younger brother is another story. The stone was easily readable in 2009, not so Saturday.

Abraham1
On Saturday I was hardpressed to even find the stone, and when I did and cleared away the debris, I couldn’t remember if it was Abraham’s or his father (my great-great-great-grandfather!) Philip’s headstone.

Abraham2

I’m going to have to go thru a few photos and see if I can find the ones I took in the 1990′s to see what those were like. I know the ones laying flat were covered with debris so they were probably protected.

Perhaps we shouldn’t clean them up every year. What do you do? Clean them or leave them protected by the debris? It would be interesting to know what to do. . . .

My headstone of the week is going to honor my great-grandfather, Ola Lindgren. Since he brought his family across the ocean and then across this great nation of ours to end up in California and I just recently returned from a trip across this country of ours, I decided to see if I could do the trip faster! Ha! One hundred and 10 years gives me an advantage, and of course I did! I probably could have done it a dozen times and still beat him!Ola is buried with his family in Sacramento’s Masonic Cemetery. His headstone also marks the passing of his son’s life, my grandfather, Henry. Take another look at that headstone. Notice Ola’s surname is spelled differently than Henry’s? Bet you think a headstone carver made a mistake but the family accepted it anyway, don’t you?  If so, you’d be wrong.

As family  historians, we always hear stories of how a name was changed at Ellis Island and 95% of the time it is just a family legend. Well, this one could be a family legend also, but I rather doubt it. I can see where a European’s pronunciation of Lindgren could sound like Lindgreen to an “American” ear filing out immigration papers at Ellis Island. Whether the name was changed upon arrival to these shores or not, the name was spelled Lindgreen until my grandfather went to court in Sacramento, California and had his name changed back to the correct Swedish spelling. A copy of the decree is in my files.

Ola was born in Wanga, Sweden on 7 October 1852 to Ingar Persdotter and Lars Jonnson Lindgren. At some time in his life he crossed the border and went into Germany where he began working for a farmer and fell in love with his daughter and married her. I imagine the next picture was taken about that time. The couple look very young. According to Family Legend, their first home was the Pig House, which was cleaned out and remodeled just for them! Whoopie!

Whether the fact that Ola’s sister Augusta was already in America was part of the decision to migrate is not known. She lived in Galesburg, Illinois with her new husband and son about the time the family arrived in their new country. It would be the third country Ola had lived in. Two children were born to them before they finally immigrated to America. The family arrived in New York on 18 April 1887 aboard the ship Rhaetia and settled in Big Rapids, Michigan. They didn’t stay in Michigan long and by 1896 they were in the Golden State where Ola renounced “his allegiance and fidelity to  . . . The King of Norway and Sweden” and became a citizen of the United States.

Ola worked as a boilermaker, as did his son Henry in his footsteps. On story related to me was during one strike, Ola felt a loyalty to the company that employed him and crossed the picket line. He got beat severely by those on the picket line for doing what he considered the right thing to do.

Ola came through Ellis Island twice, and I will assume it was easier the second time. On 20 August 1913, when they arrived at that New York portal aboard the ship Imperator from Germany Ola and Catharine entered as citizens. They had gone home to visit family and friends, but returned to their new chosen home to live the rest of their days.

I am assuming that this picture was taken about the 1920′s. Catharine died in 1925 and Ola followed her a short 3 years later on 26 December 1928. His passing was noted in the Sacramento Bee with the following obituary:

Ola Lindgreen, a resident of Sacramento for forty years, died today following a long illness. Lindgreen was the father of Mrs. Albert Greilich, wife of a Sacramento funeral director.
For several years, Lindgreen had been on a pension from the Southern Pacific Company. He formerly was employed in the local railroad shops. He was born in Sweden seventy-six years ago, and came to California forty years ago, taking up his residence in Sacramento.
He was a member of Eureka Lodge No. 4. I.O.O.F. The Odd Fellows will participate in the funeral services, to be held from the parlors of  Andrews & Greilich Friday at 2 P.M. The interment will be in the Masonic Lawn Cemetery.
In addition to Mrs. Greilich, Lindgreen is survived by a son, Henry Lindgreen of Hilo, Hawaii.

Four short paragraphs to cover a man who’s life covered 3 countries! My Great-Grandfather, and the man I honor as

This Week’s Headstone of the Week, for Week #15!

This week I’m going to honor my very own Grandma Nellie with her headstone as my “Headstone of the Week.” The reason I selected her is because I just celebrated the marriage of my grandson to a beautiful bride, and my grandmother was a beautiful bride! These two brides a few things in common, as you will soon see.On Saturday evening, 31 March 2012, Stephanie Ages became the bride of Nellie Viola Niess Sherman’s great-great-grandson, Michael Foster. She was a lovely bride in a beautiful ceremony. She had her friends and relatives attend her, as bridesmaids and maid of honor. Nothing was lacking in the ceremony or reception. . . . and 98 years prior, the groom’s great-great-grandmother had a similar ceremony on 16 September 1914. She, too, was attended by a maid of honor, and four bridesmaids, that included both relatives and a BFF (although the term would be foreign to her!)  in the perfect wedding ceremony with the perfect reception. Details of it were written up in the Washington Post on Thursday, September 17, 1914:

 The marriage of Miss Nellie Viola Niess, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Niess, and Mr. William Francis Sherman took place last evening at 8 o’clock in the First Congregational Church in the presence of a large company of relatives and friends.  The pastor of the church, the Rev. Jay T. Stocking, officiated.  The bride was given in marriage by her father, and wore a gown of ivory brocaded crepe de chine made with a court train.  Her veil, which was of tulle, fell from a cap of lace and orange blossoms to the edge of the train, and she carried a shower bouquet of lilies of the valley, orchids, and bride roses.  Mrs. Jarvis Goodwin was matron of honor, and her gown was of pale pink satin and lace.  She wore a cop of pink tulle and carried a basket of pink roses.

There were four bridesmaids, each of whom wore a gown of crepe de chine in the pastel shade to form the colors of the rainbow.  Miss Hattie Montgomery, of Baltimore, was in pale green; Miss Martha Niess, of Pennsylvania, in pale mauve; Miss Dorothy McElwee in yellow, and Miss Elsie Small in pale blue.  They all carried standard baskets of asters tied with chiffon ribbons to match their gowns.

Mr. Charles Graves was best man, and the ushers were Benjamin Harlan, Mr. Edwin N. (sic) Niess, Mr. Carl Joras, and Mr. Edwin Kavanaugh of New York.

The ceremony was followed by a reception at the home of the bride’s parents, 61 Rhode Island avenue, after which Mr. and Mrs. Sherman left for their wedding trip.  They will be at home after November 1, at 20 W street.

Out of town guests here for the wedding included Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Niess, grandparents of the bride; Mrs. Louis Houseal, Messrs. Louis and Robert Houseal, Mrs. Julia Kern (sic), Miss Fannie Laverty, and Mrs. Sarah Luxen (sic), all of Harrisburgh(sic), Pa., Mr. James Montgomery of Kansas City, Mr. Samuel J. Montgomery and Mrs. Hildeman of Baltimore, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Lehman and Mrs. Saide Leham (sic) of Camden,  N.J.

This is probably where the similarities will end, however. Times have changed and expectations differ in the 21st century. My grandmother was expected to fit into society, have Bridge parties as her mother did, belong to the DAR, and all the proper societies. Stephanie, on the other hand, plans to continue her schooling and be a supportive wife of a husband serving his country in the US Coast Guard.

Grandma Nellie’s life took a turn for the worse as the Depression affected the family and a downward spiral sent the family first to New York City, then San Francisco where the only available jobs could be found. Her “Papa” continued to write and spoil his Nellie who eventually spent her waning life engulfed in that terrible Alzheimer’s disease. We called her, affectionately, “Grandma Forgetful.”

She died in Riverside, California on 30 April 1976 and her ashes were sent to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania to be placed in the same grave with her mother. A small ceremony was held with about 10 people present and she was laid to rest with flowers placed on her grave. Until I moved to Pennsylvania, I doubt that anyone remembered her or her mother on those special occasions such as Mother’s Day or Memorial Day. We remember her each year with fresh flowers even though she didn’t remember us for years before her death, thanks to that dreaded disease.

We remember her as a beautiful bride, a talented artist and most of all a loving and caring grandmother.

Last week I wrote about Catharina Dorothea Elisabeth Schultz Lindgren (and I bet she didn’t put all that on one line!) and the fact she saved the money her son earned only to give it all back to him. This week I’ll honor that son, my grandfather, my Poppie, Henry August William Lindgren, whom I was named after.

His nickname was Lindy, and according to mother, there had been no grandchild named after him, and I was elected! I was named Dorothea Linda, Dorothea for his mother and Linda for him . Since his nickname was Lindy, the obvious choice for my name was Linda and I was called Lindi throughout my childhood.

Sacramento Masonic Cemetery

Ola Lindgreen, father; Henry August William Lindgren, son

Henry August William Lindgren is buried in Sacramento Masonic Cemetery and is in the same plot as his parents. He is listed on the same grave marker as his father, Ola Lindgreen.

Lindgreen Family

L-R: Ola Lindgreen, Henry August William Lindgreen, Catharine Dorothea Elisabeth Schultz Lindgreen, Anna Dorothea Louisa Lindgreen

 Henry was the only son born to above mentioned Catharina Lindgren and her Swedish husband, Ola Lindgren. He was just 3 years old when the family immigrated from Germany to America, and  as I wrote last week, the family first settled in Big Rapids, Michigan. This picture was taken in that City in 1889, according to the information on the back. My grandfather would have been about 4 years old in this picture.  He was a handsome young man, wasn’t he? I imagine this was about the age he was when he met my Nana, or rather she met him! She had spied him on a streetcar and talked about him so much that her friend finally had a dinner party and invited the both of them. They were married on 18 June 1913, in the morning, and she graduated from High School that afternoon! 50 years later I was at their anniversary celebration in the same city. I still have the invitation and a napkin from the event.

He was a Boilermaker by trade, starting his career in Sacramento with the Union Pacific Railroad and finishing the career in Hilo, Hawaii for the Hilo Ironworks. That’s where I remember visiting him, the Hilo Ironworks! It was noisy and hot, but just getting to visit him at work and go into his office was a thrill. He always had time for us.

The first thing he’d say when we arrived to spend a good portion of the summer was, “come over here and let me count your ribs!” Each time, we’d dutifully go over, and he’d tickle us until we were gasping for air! You’d think we’d learn and we probably did, but we’d go anyway!

Then there was the time he was going to pull my loose tooth. As he put a string around the tooth about to be extracted I kept trying to talk to him and couldn’t talk with his big hand in my mouth. He pulled the wrong tooth . . . and then he did what any good grandfather would do and pulled the right tooth! All this with a twinkle in his eye!   . . . and probably holding his tongue right, because he’d tell us you can’t do anything correctly unless you were doing just that!

. . . and no story about my grandfather would be complete unless I mention that he was an awesome candy maker! Not just any candy, mind you, but Coconut Candy! Not Baker’s Coconut, but Hawaiian Coconut! . . . and we thought it was a treat to get to stir it as it cooked! My mouth is watering as I type this!

Henry Lindgren, Bertha von Breyman Lindgren, Catherine Lindgren Sherman
Front Row, L-R: Linda (me!) Priscilla and Bud (WF Sherman, Jr.)

See that twinkle in his eyes? I think this picture was taken on one of our visits to Hilo and it must have been on a Sunday after Church and after going for “Chop Suey” in town, a Sunday tradition when we were there. This picture was taken in front of the large front porch, and that’s me being controlled by my Grandfather . . . or teased, one or the other!

When the time came for retirement a decision was made and they sold the house in Hilo and came back to California. They bought a lot with a barn in Lakeport, and Poppie remodeled it into a wonderful two bedroom home with a great kitchen for Nana and a living room large enough for the grand piano. Rosebushes were in the backyard and the large dictionary had it’s place on it’s stand for Nana. It was a lovely setting and I loved visiting there just as much as I loved visiting Hilo. Why? Because they were there

and Poppie still had that sense of humor and that twinkle in his eyes!

I was named Dorothea Linda at birth. Dorothea, my first, and I always thought my very formal name, was after my great-grandmother, Catharina Dorothea Elisabeth Schultz Lindgren. You’ll find out where the Linda came from on another post.The names tell the story ~ her maiden name is Schultz and she was born in Germany and her married name Lindgren, a Swedish name. He had come from Sweden and was a field hand on her father’s farm. She was the farmer’s daughter and who Ola Lindgren picked for his bride. According to family legend, land in Germany was only passed to the sons at that time, and with no land of their own, Ola and Catherine decided to immigrate to America, a decision the couple never regretted according to copies of letters in my possession.

On 18 April 1887 they arrived in New York with their 7 year old daughter, Anna Dorothea Louisa, and their 2 year old son, Heinrich August William and life in America began for the family. The first stop on their journey was Big Rapids, Michigan where they added to their family with a daughter, Elsie Laura Vera, and lost Anna, who is memorialized with her mother.  They didn’t stay there long because they were in Sacramento by the early 1890′s, and blended into the immigrant population.

Ola and his son (my grandfather, Henry) worked together as Boilermakers for the Railroad, and Catharina charged her son “rent” each payday. Unknown to Henry his mother was setting his “rent” aside and saving it for his son’s future. When the time was right, according to my mother, the money was given to him, and with it he built a home. According to a letter she wrote to her niece in Germany:

“Henry, as a carpenter, so they call them here, build a house and now he has already started the third house. He has already sold two. He got 2650 dollars for the first one and 3000 for the second one. He has 16 more lots here in Oak Park, everything here has built up and gotten more expensive. Where one paid $100 gets $1000 for it. . . I can hardly believe what I am writing . You will think we are bragging. It is very good here. We have everything we want when dear God only gives us our good health. When I and my husband don’t have to work any longer, we can live from our earnings.”

Catharina loved her new country, and yes, she bragged about it in letters home. She continued being frugal, teaching her son the habits that would follow him throughout life. She left this earthly life on December 28, 1925 and is buried in Sacramento’s Masonic Cemetery with two of her children, her husband and her daughter-in-law.

My great-grandmother appreciated the life she had in America, but took nothing for granted. She kept the values she had in the old country and instilled them in her son. Because of those things (and because I am her namesake!) Catharina is my pick for

Linda’s Headstone of the Week, Week #12.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be covering my California ancestors ~ my maternal ancestors! Since the only one I have done so far was my great-grandfather, William Adolphus George von Breyman, I’ll honor his wife this week, Wilhemine Sophia or Minnie, as she was known.  

First I must go back  to her beginnings ~ Minnie was born in New York in 1854 to immigrant parents, Frederick and Amelia Gode/Goda. The only thing I know of the parents is from two different census records, 1850 and 1870.

  • In 1850, Minnie was not born, but her sister Louisa was. Louisa was a year old and her father was a milkman. I’d been looking for a Lutheran Minister, since that was what my grandmother’s memoirs said! Just another family legend, I guess!
  • By 1870, Amelia is alone with the two girls – Minnie, age 15, is a domestic and Louisa, age 20, is a tasselmaker and Minnie was born in New York. I’d been looking her birth in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania where her father was a Lutheran Minister. That’s where my grandmother said she was born and that’s where subsequent census data states, also. Second family legend.

Sometime in the 1870′s Amelia took Minnie left New York and headed to San Francisco where Amelia had relatives. California families with names of Blum, Swank, Murdock and Wagner are supposed to be relatives of Minnie ~ this from letters written by her son to various members of the family. In 1877, Minnie marries and before Christmas that year she is a mother. Her husband is almost 20 years her senior and would die before their 25th anniversary. Minnie still had three young girls under ten (my grandmother was one of them) and several other children at home to care for. The family lived in Arbuckle for a while before moving to Sacramento close to a married daughter.

I have several pictures of my great-grandmother and I decided to share two of them on this blog; one taken either before she was married or shortly thereafter, when she was in the prime of her life and the other taken shortly before the end of her life.

Buried in Ventura, California

That move to Sacramento mentioned above is important for several reasons, the most important is the fact that my grandmother, Bertha, met the man she was married to for over 50 years in that city and because she did, I am.

And because Bertha met and married Henry Lindgren, Minnie was able to spend the last few years of her life in Hawaii. Henry Lindgren’s job took him to Hawaii, and when Henry went, he took Bertha, Minnie’s daughter. And because Bertha was in Hawaii, Minnie was able to spend the last few years of her life in sunshine and tropical weather, enjoying her daughter’s growing family.

The picture above was taken just months before her death, sitting in the yard at my grandparent’s home in Hilo, Hawaii. She is holding a large hibiscus in her lap. Shortly after this was taken, she boarded the Lurline and sailed back to California. She died 3 months later at her son’s home in Ventura on 13 March 1934 and is interred in Ventura in Ivy Lawn Cemetery. At the time of her death she had two sons, six daughters and twenty-nine grandchildren!

Minnie had traveled from New York, around the Cape to California, to Hawaii and back to California. She was loved and cared for by her family and left a legacy that will continue with each generation from now until eternity, and this is why I have honored her as

Linda’s Headstone of the week for week #11.

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