Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Mary Frances Villers...nee Villers

Clipping from family
Yes...Villers nee Villers, but I'm not going there completely right now. I'm ramping up to it just stay with me.

"Mrs. Louis Villers Dies Suddenly Friday

Mrs. Louis Villers, 76, 1470 E. Mason St., died suddenly at her home Friday afternoon. She was a lifelong Green Bay resident and a member of the Cathedral St. Ann and Mission Societies and the Daughers of Isabella, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Circle.

Besides her husband, survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Edward Van Benadeno (sic), one granddaughter and five great grandchildren; a brother, Joseph; and a sister, Mrs. William Wendricks,* Green Bay.

The body will be at the Schauer and Schumacher Funeral Home at 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon. The Daughters of Isabella will say the rosary at 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon. The St. Ann and Mission groups will say the rosary at 7:30 in the evening. The Rev. John Gehl will say the rosary at 8 o'clock Monday evening, and will offer the solemn requiem mass at 9:30 Tuesday morning in the Cathedral. Burial will be in Allouez Cem-"

This clipping is from a family scrapbook that was passed on to me from my in-laws. The obituary cuts off there. I imagine that not much followed except "-etery" or whoever did the clipping would have thought to paste it on there.

Clipping from family
Her funeral notice was scarce with the ancestral information as well noting only a brother, Joseph Villers, and sister, Mrs. William Wendricks.*

"Villers' Rites To Be Held Tuesday  Morning

Funeral services for Mrs. Louis Villers, 76, 1470 E. Mason St., who died Friday, will be held at 9:30 Tuesday morning in the Cathedral. The Rev. John Gehl will offer the requiem mass and burial will be in Allouez Cemetery. The body is at the Schauer and Schumacher Funeral Home where Father Gehl will say the rosary at 8 o'clock this evening. Mrs. Villers is survived by her husband; a daughter, Mrs. Edward VnBenaden (sic); one grandchild; a brother, Joseph Villers, and a sister, Mrs. William Wendricks,* Green Bay."

So her brother's name is Joseph Villers. That's not really proof that her maiden name is Villers. Obituaries/Death Notices in the past weren't always clear with siblings. I've seen notices that say "brother" or "sister" when they meant "brother-in-law" or "sister-in-law." In this case Joseph Villers is her actual brother.

As in the short and not-so-sweet Funeral Notice posted for her husband, Louis, I mentioned that the statement "lifelong Green Bay resident" isn't accurate. Neither of them were born in Green Bay. They may have lived there for a good chunk of their lives, but not before their marriage in 1896. A marriage that isn't mentioned in their obituaries. Their parents aren't mentioned either. No worries. I know who they are and I have a copy of their marriage certificate.

Excerpt of the marriage record for
Louis Villers and Frances Villers
Louis Joseph Villers and Mary Francis Villers were married on March 26th 1896 in Lincoln, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. Louis was the son of Martin Joseph and Octavia Villers nee Waguener. Mary Frances was the daughter of Pierre Louis and Emerence Villers nee Jadean. The parents of Martin Joseph and Pierre Louis were Eugene and Mary Teresa (maiden name unknown). So their parents were siblings making them first cousins. They weren't married in the church, but by a justice of the peace.

Louis and Frances had one child, a daughter. She is only referred to as "Mrs Edward Van Benaden" in the obituaries, but her name was Eva. Eva was born on December 28th 1896 and died on May 3rd 1974.

Finding cousins that married each other happens in genealogy. It certainly makes us question our research when we reach that conclusion because we assume it doesn't happen much. We make that assumption because it's looked at today as being wrong. I don't know how it was viewed in the late 19th century. Was it frowned upon then as well? Was this why the wedding wasn't performed in the Catholic Church? The reasons don't really matter nor should we view it as scandalous. Royalty had been doing it for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

When you think you have a marriage in your family tree that involves someone that's already in your tree, don't panic. Just carefully review your research and confirm your suspicions. Your genealogy program will permit you to add someone that's already in there because genealogists know this happens. I have a great uncle whose surname is Brown and his wife was also a Brown. I just haven't discovered if they were related yet and if so how.

Just verify your research and breathe.

*Wendricks should actually be Hendricks.