Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Does Alfred Kuehl Belong in my Tree?

The Luxembourg News,
Thurs 13OCT1949, pg1
You look for an obituary to try to see if someone fits into your family tree. You're looking for parental acknowledgement to help determine a connection and then you see that none was given in the obituary.

It's terribly frustrating to see "He was born in...on..." and then nothing significant following. One assumption is that the names of the parents wasn't known, but I'm doubtful that was the case here. Alfred married in his twenties so unless his parents died and he never mentioned them to his surviving wife, they should be known.

Another possibility is that there was a rift in the family and they were intentionally omitted. I hope no one finding this post thinks I'm making that assertion. I'm just throwing out possibilities. Maybe they just didn't think that listing parents long gone was significant. Not everyone writes an obituary to please a genealogist. If only...

Doing a quick search in the Wisconsin Birth Index I easily found him. Alfred W. Kuehl; Birth Date - Dec 1887; Birth place - Kewaunee, Wisconsin, USA; Reel 0098; Record 001987. I'm fairly certain that I pulled this record during one of my trips to see about a connection, but being enrolled in school full time and having a pile of documents to sort through for genealogy isn't helpful.

Another hit I got with the information provided in the obituary was from the Wisconsin, Births and Christenings database. You don't get to see an actual document. It's just an index, but it's still useful information.

Name: Alfred W H Kuehl
Birth Date: 1 Dec 1887
Birth Place: Kewaunee, Kewaunee, Wisconsin
Gender: Male
Race: White
Father's name: Fred Kuehl
Father' Birth Place: Kammrin, Mecklemburg (sic), Germany
Mother's name: Friederike Strahl
Mother's Birth Place: Tessin, Mecklemburg (sic), Germany
FHL Film Number: 1302886

Apparently the transcriber never heard of Mecklenburg, but those m's and n's can blur together when transcribing, so I'm not going to be too picky. I do have a Frederich Kuehl in my tree and he was from Mecklenburg, Germany. His wife's name in the census records was Wilhelmina not Friederike.

I have census records for my Frederich and Wilhelmina Kuehl and they were born around 1842. I easily found this Alfred in the 1900 census and his parents were born around 1857. That's a fairly big discrepancy. So as of right now I can't put Alfred into my family tree. I can't rule him out completely either. My Fred and Mina Kuehl may have been his uncle and aunt. I don't know. They are the beginning of that branch of my tree. To find out I'll have to work past them. I'll put Alfred away for now and see if he comes in to play in the future. At least in my research I was able to rule him out (for now), and I was able to add his obituary to his FindAGrave memorial for others to benefit from. Sharing is caring and I hope that this post at least helps another Kuehl to place Alfred.

"Illness Fatal To Alfred Kuehl, 61

Kewaunee - Alfred Kuehl, 61, died at his home here Saturday after a several months illness.

The funeral service was held Tuesday afternoon in the Duescher Funeral home with the Rev. Leonard A. Spooner officiating. Burial was in Riverview cemetery. Pallbearers were Tom Rank, Jule Neumann, William Trakel, Othmar H. Lietz, John Vanderbloemen and Edw. J. Stika.

He was born in Kewaunee Dec. 1, 1887 and lived in Kewaunee all his life. He was a plumber by trade and for a number of years was associated with Wencel Selner as Kuehl & Selner. Later he entered business alone, and after working at the shipyard during the war entered the employ of Jerry Libal, Luxemburg plumber.

He was a former chief of the Kewaunee fire department, and served with the department for many years.

Surviving are his wife, the former Emma F. Landt whom he married in Kewaunee Feb. 20, 1912; three daughters, Mrs. Alfred (Alyce) Kasal, Kewaunee; Miss Hazel, Manitowoc; Mrs Robert (Marion) Goen, Long Beach, Calif.; two sons, Earl and Eben. Kewaunee; and three grandchildren. Other survivors include two brothers, William of Marshfield, Otto of Aledo, Ill., and one sister, Mrs. Hattie Zimmer of Manitowoc."