Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Who Died Again?

Don't you hate it when you get a nice juicy obit to only find that the woman isn't properly defined (or any of the women)?  Sure for the time period she's properly defined...Mrs So-n-so.  That's all you need to know.  Yes, and my husband would be jokingly saying, of course that's all you need to know (I love his humor)!  Unfortunately for a genealogist it's not what we'd like to see.  Luckily, I already had this woman in my family tree and this is supplemental information, but what could I do if I didn't have her in my tree already?  What if I stumbled across this obituary in the scrapbook passed on to me or as I searched through old newspapers?  I saw it and said, "George and Margaret Thalen [sic] Rosbeck are in my tree, so who is this?"

Well, the obit states her birth date and parents names (as mentioned).  That's enough to get me a birth certificate (if they're available for that time).  Her wedding date is in there too, so I can get that record, and with the publication information/death date, I can get the death certificate.  The obituary even tells you what church she belonged to so that opens up baptismal, matrimony, and other sacramental records if they are still in existence.  The Catholic Church is great with record keeping so unless there was fire or disaster, I should be good.  There is most always a way around a not-so-perfect obituary.

So who was Mrs. William Pesch?  Her name was Anna Pesch nee Rosbeck and she was the third of 9 known children born to George and Margaretha Rosbeck nee Thelen:  Frances, Bertha, Anna, John, Hermann, Martin, Adolph, Alfred, and Mary.

Commonwealth Reporter, 28OCT1965
I was delighted when I came across this obituary because I didn't have the names of her children in my tree yet.  Now I do, although I need to keep in mind that there may be children missing that died young and weren't mentioned.  The obituary does mention others that predeceased  her, but anything is possible.  Remember that obituaries are written during a time of grief.

Anna Pesch nee Rosbeck is my husband's great great aunt.

Mrs Pesch Of Kewaskum Expires at 81

St. Mathias Church Service Announced; Survivors Listed

Mrs. William Pesch, 81, Kewaskum, died today at St. Joseph’s Hospital, West Bend.

She was born in the Town of Auburn Nov. 18, 1884, the daughter of George and Margaret Thalen [sic] Rosbeck.  She was married to Mr. Pesch June 27, 1905, at St. Killian.  She was a member of St. Mathias Catholic Church, Town of Auburn, Ladies Altar Society and the Apostolate of the Suffering.

Survivors include a son, Elroy, Kewaskum, R. 1; three daughters, Mrs. Albert Gross, Campbellsport, R. 2, Mrs. Erwin Guldon, Kewaskum, and Mrs. Joe Hammes, West Bend; 14 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and five brothers, Herman, Knowles, John, Minneapolis, Martin, West Bend, Alfred, Mayville, and Adolph, Milwaukee.  She was preceded in death by her husband and three sisters.

Friends may call after 2 p.m. Friday at Miller’s Funeral Home, Kewaskum.  Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mathias Church, Rev. Walter Morgan officiating.  Burial will be in the parish cemetery.”

[Fond du Lac (Wisconsin) Commonwealth Reporter, Thursday, October 28, 1965, pg 30]

Many times the same obituary is published in various newspapers, but don't make assumptions.  See the difference another newspaper can make.  Here we've got her first name, the first names of the daughters that married, and when her husband died.  You never know until you look!

The Sheboygan Press, 28OCT1965
"Mrs. Anna Pesch

Mrs. Anna Pesch, 81, of Kewaskum, died early today at St. Joseph's Hospital, West Bend.

The former Anna Rosbeck was born in St. Kilion [sic], Wis., on Nov. 18, 1884, daughter of the late George and Margaret Thelen Rosbeck.

She was a member of St. Mathias Caholic Parish, Town of Auburn, and the Ladies Altar Society and the Apostolate of the Suffering.

She married William Pesch at St. Kilion [sic] on June 27, 1905.  He died on April 6, 1950.

Surviving are a son, Elroy, R. 1, Kewaskum; three daughters, Mrs Albert (Ceceila) Gross, R. 2, Campbellsport, Mrs. Ervin (Celesta) Golden, Kewaskum and Mrs. Joseph (Lorraine) Hammes, West Bend; 14 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren; five brothers, Herman, Knowles, John, Minneapolis, Minn., Martin, West Bend, Alfred, Mayville, and Adolph, Milwaukee.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mathias Catholic Church, Town of Auburn, with the Rev. Walter Morgan, pastor, the celebrant of the Requiem Mass.  Burial will be in the Parish Cemetery.

Friends may call at the Miller's Funeral Home after 2 p.m. Friday."

[The Sheboygan Press, October 28, 1965, pg 8]

It was also incredibly helpful that in this case I had a funeral card passed on to me as well.


  1. Amazing that they didn't think they needed to include HER NAME!

  2. I hope that practice has gone the way of the Dodo. I have an obituary of my great grandfathers sister and all the females are listed as Mrs. John Doe, Mrs. Jack Smith etc. Who are these women anyway?