Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Frank Thelen

Appleton Post Crescent 23APR1960, B1
After my first reading of this obituary, all I could think of was, "Boy, wouldn't it have been nice to put his parents names!?!?! Thanks a lot!"  There's also no mention of his wife in the obituary.  Not cool dude.  Not cool...

But there is some good information in here.  I don't know if Frank Thelen belongs in my family tree, but the Thelen name is in there.

I looked on Ancestry and found Frank in the 1940 census with his wife, Anna, and three children:  Marie, Paul and Robert.  We can see Paul and Robert in the obituary, but we don't know which of the women is Marie.  No biggie at this moment, but I can be fairly certain that I've got the right person since this census was from Menasha, Wisconsin and at least 2 of the kiddos are in there.

His son, Anthony, is in the 1930 census along with the 3 children already mentioned.  In the 1920 census, we've got Anthony and Marie joined by another sibling, Leona, but Frank's wife's name is now Gertrude.  Mistake?  Perhaps Anna was her middle name and that's what she preferred?

In the Wisconsin State Census for 1905 Anna is Anna again and their oldest daughter is Gertrude.  Leona is there too as a munchkin.  So obviously just a mistake was made in the one census.  It happens.  No biggie.  I'm still trailing the right family.

So their children are: Gertrude, Leona, Anthony, Marie, Paul and Robert (in that order).  Perhaps the daughters were listed by age in the obituary as well.  Not significant to my current search but could be something to follow up with down the road.

So Frank and Anna are married and we've got them in several census records.  Let's see if I can find those parents.  I've got a sister, Margaret, that can help me narrow down some parents.

I couldn't find Frank Thelen in the 1880 least not one that matched up properly.  I was almost ready to give up and say this can wait until I get back to Wisconsin for more research when I cheated....I looked at a family tree on Ancestry.

I didn't take the information as true, I just looked to see what someone else thought the parents were for Frank and Margaret.  There were several trees that said their parents were Anton and Gertrude (nee Escher).  I didn't assume this information to be true, but what I did do was use it to search in the 1880 census.  I'm glad I did because this was what I found:

1880 US Federal Census - Anton Thilen household
Hard to read, huh?  Well, Anton and Gertrud's surname is transcribed "Thilen" in the census.  Very close and you'll get the hit if you aren't searching for the exact "Thelen" spelling.  And Frank wasn't Frank yet.  He was Franz.  Margaret was Margretha.  I don't know if Gertrud's maiden name really was Escher or not, but look at the "Escher" living right next door.  I'll be checking into Anton and Gertrude in the future and hope to see if I can discover her maiden name.  I haven't confirmed anything from the online tree, but I have used it to get me a little farther back and to point me in a direction where I can now go home and see about pulling Franz's birth record as well as his marriage record when I head to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

So is Frank Thelen in my family tree?  No proof yet.  The only Thelen I have is Margaretha and to the best of my information she was born in Wisconsin in 1856.  I don't know her parents, but it doesn't look like he'd fit in there.  He may not be related at all.  So I'll head back to Wisconsin (hopefully over Christmas) and pull some records.  See what I can find.  If nothing else, I hope the information helps someone.

"Frank Thelen, 84, Retired Wooden Ware Employe (sic), Succumbs

Menasha - Frank Thelen, 84, of 723 First street, died at 7:30 a.m. today.  He was born Feb. 22, 1878, at Marytown, Wis., and had worked at the Menasha Wooden Ware for more than 50 years before he retired 10 years ago.  He was a charter member of the Germania society and also a member of the Menasha Eagles, Catholic Order of Foresters and Holy Name society.

Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary's Catholic church with burial in the parish cemetery.  Friends may call at the Laemmrich Funeral home after 3 p.m. Monday and the rosary will be recited there at 8 p.m.

Survivors are three daughters, Mrs. James Hale of Chicago and Mrs. Walter Peterman and Mrs. Edward Becker of Appleton; three sons, Anthony and Robert of Menasha and Paul of Mundelein, Ill.; a sister, Miss Margaret Thelen of Sherwood; 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren."