Wednesday Wanderings: From Germany to Dekalb County, Indiana

According to a biographical sketch in the History of Dekalb County, Indiana published in 1914 by B.F. Bowen & Co., John Mathias Shoudel was known as a leader in the agricultural circles in DeKalb County, Indiana. He was born in Bavaria (Germany) in 1814 and was the son of Johannes (John) Franz Schaudel and Magdalena Schmitt. He married Magdalena Miller, who was from the same area and was the daughter of Johannes (John) Miller and Mary Trapp. He learned the trade of a weaver and also farmed. He came to the United States in 1854, eventually ending up in Chicago for a couple of years, working on the Chicago docks. His family came in 1855 and they moved to DeKalb County in 1857, where he joined four other men and together they bought forty acres of land located in Section 15 of Smithfield Township. They divided the land between them, eight acres each –

1918 Land Records from Smithfield Township

Eventually John was able to buy more land until at the time of his death he owned two hundred acres of land.

John was one of fourteen founding members of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Waterloo in 1880. According to the church’s website, he died while the church was still under construction, but his wife donated an acre of land for the cemetery. John is buried near the center of the cemetery.

Tombstone Tuesday — Magdelene (Miller) Shoudel

Here’s another tombstone from St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Cemetery in Waterloo, Indiana. Magdelene, Magdaline, Magdalena, Mary Magdaline, Maria Magdalena (whatever because the name is different depending on what record you look at) Miller was married to John Matthias Shoudel. The spelling on the tombstone is Magdalene, I’m just going to leave it at that for now.

Photo courtesy of L. Mafera

There are quite a bit of date discrepancies which I have to work on to verify what is correct. In her obituary (thank you to Scott Bowmar!), it states she was born in Bavaria, Germany about 1815 and came with her parents in 1855 to Smithfield Township, in DeKalb County, Indiana. According to the genealogy that a family member gave to me decades ago — and shamefully for the life of me I cannot remember who gave it to me — she was born on May 24, 1816, the first child of John Miller (spelled Müller in Germany), and that in 1855, John Matthias sent for his family, so it sounds as if she was married before coming to the United States. However, the Birkenhordt Project website states her birth date was May 21, 1815.

The Birkenhordt Project website states it is “a non-commercial project committed to documenting all genealogical relationships in the Southern Palatinate and the French district of Bas-Rhin.” Wow, that’s pretty cool. I’m sure going to have to read up on that area of Germany and work on verifying all of that information.

Magdalene died on February 15, 1888.

Wordless Wednesday — Winarski

This is a two for one but not really a photo Wordless Wednesday. One of the toughest lines I have been researching is the Winarski line, my maternal grandmother’s mother’s line. Well thanks to Ancestry’s newspaper database, $5.95, and a search for the name “Frank Winarski”, I was super thrilled to find a couple of obituaries in “The Menasha Record”, a newspaper in Menasha, Wisconsin.

The first obituary is for Julia Winarski, Frank Winarski’s wife, who died on August 22, 1929 and lived in Menasha. The obituary does not even mention her first name, which irritated me but times were very different back then.

The second is of Frank, who died on October 19, 1935. It mentions he was a pioneer of the fifth ward in Menasha. Unless it is a mistake, Frank must have remarried since it says his wife survived him and Julia died 6 years before.

One of Frank and Julia’s daughters was Margaret Winarski, who married Edward Schoudel, and who is the mother of my maternal grandmother, Madeline (Schoudel) Bass. The information in these obituaries have certainly given me more avenues to research!

Notice the Schoudel name is mistakenly spelled differently in each obituary, Shoerdel and Shoudell. How many different ways has that name been spelled?

Tombstone Tuesday- Martha Shoudel

Today’s tombstone belongs to Martha Shoudel, my great-great grandmother on my mother’s side, who is buried at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Cemetery in Waterloo, Indiana. I am having difficulty finding verification sources for Martha under her maiden name to try to get further on her line. Her name has been listed as Garr, however my belief is it is in fact Carr. If I look closer at the tombstone, I cannot verify if the letter is a C or a G, it could go both ways, although I’m leaning toward it being a C. I still have to research further but do have some fairly solid resources that confirm the name is Carr. Martha was married to Balthazar Shoudel, the son of John Matthias Shoudel (an earlier Tombstone Tuesday participant).

The tombstone is in fairly good shape for being 128 years old (thank you to L Mafera through Find a Grave for the photos)!!

Tombstone Tuesday – John Mathias Shoudel

This tombstone is where John Mathias Shoudel is buried in Waterloo, Indiana (thank you to Scott Bowmar for the photo and information on Find a Grave). In the near future, I will be posting more information about John Mathias but what’s interesting about this is the various ways the surname has changed. My maternal grandmother changed her maiden name of Shoudel to Schoudel, and all of my cousins have always spelled it as Schoudel. Now this is the first time I have seen it spelled “Schaudel”, it appears that is the way it is spelled on the tombstone. I was thinking it should be spelled Shoudel as various records for him have his name as Shoudel. For instance, in land ownership records for him for the Township of Smithfield in DeKalb County, Indiana, the name is spelled Shoudel. The 1880 census records also spell his name as Shoudel (although sometimes census records have been incorrect). I haven’t been able to confirm yet but have seen a family tree online that shows his father spelled the last name as Schaudel. Since John Mathias emigrated to America from Germany, I am guessing it may be the original German spelling. His first name is listed as Johann, which I’m also guessing is his German birth name. More research to do!

How am I connected to him? He is my maternal great-great-great grandfather. He was married to Magdalene Miller and one of their sons, Baltzis Shoudel married Martha Carr; one of their sons was Edward Ambrose Schoudel (again notice the name change here, which is why my cousins spell it that way I’m sure); Edward married Margaret Winarski and their daughter, Madeline Cecilia Schoudel, is my maternal grandmother. My grandmother was really big on changing names, she changed her name from Magdalena Sophia Shoudel to Madeline Cecilia Schoudel.

Johannes Ambuul, one of the founders of Roseland

Welcome to my new family history blog! I will be posting about my four family lines, Ooms, Bass, Kros and Schoudel. My goal is to share with others what I have learned about my family and to make sure and save all of this information for future generations. I hope you join me on this journey and also share with me what you know. Let’s go!

Since this first post is the beginning of my blog, I will start with another beginning. Johannes Ambuul was one of the nine men who founded Roseland in 1849 and my great-great-great grandfather on my mother’s side (Bass family). At that time, Roseland was known as High Prairie, located in the very far south side of what is now Chicago. Although we moved from the area when I was only two years old and don’t remember much, I have been told by family and have read that Roseland was an idyllic place for families. Unfortunately, the collapse of the steel mill and automotive industries and other issues led to decades of economic decline, blight, and high crime, and it is sadly not what it once was. As most of my ancestors are from Roseland, look for more posts about it in the future!

In the middle of April 1849, at the age of 31, Johannes said goodbye to his relatives and home of Schoorl, a little town in North Holland in the Netherlands, to seek a new life in America. With him were other families also looking for a new life, 62 people in all. The group first left from Rotterdam by steamboat to Le Havre, France and then set sail on the “Massachusetts” of Boston. Johannes was not alone, also traveling with him were his wife, Aaltje (maiden name Van der Veen), age 28, and their two children, Willem (“William”), aged 3, and Saakje (“Jacob”), aged 1. Unfortunately, during the voyage tragedy struck which took may lives — the dreaded Asciatic cholera. In all, 19 died, including Willem and Saakje, and to try to contain the spread of the illness, all who died were buried at sea. It has been reported in other sources that one child and Aaltje died, however, that is incorrect. Aaltje indeed made it through the voyage but died three years later in 1852, two months after she had given birth to their baby, Wiebe. Sadly, the baby died not long after the mother. How do I know this? Through the South Suburban Historical Society I obtained copies of the actual membership records from the Thorn Creek Reformed Church, aka The First Reformed Church of Roseland, which was the church that this group formed once they were settled. In that document, Aaltje’s death is listed as July 19, 1852 (thank you to Glen DeYoung for the records and also for the photo!). After a forty-two day voyage, the group arrived in New York, and then traveled by steamboat along the Hudson River from New York City to Albany, NY, and then by canal boat to Buffalo, NY, through the Erie Canal. The final part was a steamboat to Chicago.

After they settled in High Prairie, as this time period was before the advent of modern medicine, death was very common, especially in young children. Johannes and Aaltje sadly lost a total of 5 children during their marriage. Besides Willem (born January 8, 1846) and Saakje, (born March 3, 1848), another baby named Willem who was born on August 20. 1850, died on October 19, 1852, only a couple of months after Aaltje and Wiebe died. Pieter died on December 28, 1857 (according to family history passed down from the Albert Bass family).

By the way, if you’re confused by all of these children named Willem, look for future posts on Dutch baby naming practices!

On October 21, 1852, three months after Aaltje died, Johannes married Neeltje (“Nellie”) Oudendijk, 22. Neeltje was also new to America, joining her father and mother, Pieter and Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk on the same ship as the others in 1849 — unfortunately her father died during the voyage.

Johannes and Neeltje had a total of four children during their marriage: Pieter (“Peter”), born July 30, 1853; Trijntje (“Katherine”), born September 24, 1854; Willem (“William”), born January 15, 1856; Jannetje (“Jane”), born June 14, 1857; and Pietertje, born June 4, 1859 (my best guess for her name is “Petra”, but I have found no translation yet for Pietertje). All of these dates were confirmed through baptismal records from Thorn Creek Reformed Church. Once I’m able to figure out how to post documents, I will include the records in the documents section (well, once I figure how to set up that section, I’m having some issues).

Now here’s the connection to me: Trijntje (Katherine) married Pieter Bass. One of their sons, William Bass, married Bertha Conner. Their son, William Peter Bass married Madeline Schoudel — their daughter, Patricia (Bass) Ooms, is my mother.

To get back to Johannes, The First Reformed Church of Roseland retained him as its first janitor and caretaker of its cemetery from 1849 until sometime during the 1860’s. Although he kept handwritten notes of the locations of burials (located at 107th and Michigan Avenue), the notes were lost, and thus, many grave locations and the names of those buried were lost. The property was eventually sold and bodies needed to be moved and the decision was to bury them at Mt. Greenwood Cemetery. However, Mt. Greenwood Cemetery wanted proof of ownership/identification or it could not accept the bodies. For any bodies where there was no identifying paperwork for, they were buried in a mass grave in Mt. Greenwood. When 107th Street was widened, more bodies required relocation and were moved to a different location in the churchyard. This undertaking is described in detail in “The Trail South Out of Chicago” by Ross K. Ettema.

On November 22, 1887, Johannes was once again left a widower when Neeltje died at the age of 57 from chronic nephritis. Johannes lived until the age of 75, dying on April 7, 1894. Both are buried at Mt. Greenwood Cemetery — once I get photos of the tombstones I will post them!

So that’s my first post, hope you enjoyed it and will keep coming back! Feel free to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the follow button.

About me

I am a wife and mom and live in Naperville, Illinois. My husband and I have two wonderful daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, two very large poodles, two cockatiels, and three snakes (we begrudgingly take care of them for our daughter who is away at college). I work as a compliance specialist for credit unions by day. In my spare time, besides researching my family history, I enjoy cross-stitching and reading.

I can’t remember what age I was when I became interested in my family history, but remember being at least 16 when I became serious about it.

This blog will concentrate on my four family lines: Ooms, Bass, Kros and Schoudel. I will also be posting about genealogical research, DNA, photos, areas my family came from and settled in, and other things I can’t think of at the moment.

I hope you will find my blog interesting and follow me as I share our family legacy!