Sunday, August 20, 2017

What’s the Correct Information?

I get so excited, as we genealogists all do, about finding that one new piece of information on one of our ancestors.  I find it a little disheartening that when I go back and look at the information I already have on a particular person, as in this case, I sometimes realize that while this one piece of information may be a tremendous find, ugh… I have so many gaps that also need filling in…  Such is the case with my maternal Great-Great-Grandmother Kate Hein Hamman.

What I found was a copy of her Will.  YEA!!!  Happy dance!  What I realized is there are so many unanswered questions and gaps I have about her life.
  • Kate Hamman is my maternal great-great-grandmother. 
  • Based on a census record (1900) and Kate’s death certificate she was born in Germany or Luxembourg  about 1842 to 1845. 
  • Her parents names are unknown except that her maiden name was Hein. 
  • Kate married Jacob Hamman, possibly, in Luxembourg before heading to America by 1880 and settling in Iowa.  Or did she come here with her parents and then meet and marry Jacob Hamman or Hammen?  According to Jacob’s immigration paperwork (See post My First Naturalization Papers-Jacob Hamman) I know that he was in Plymouth County, Iowa in 1882. 
  • In the 1900 census it states that Kate was born in Luxembourg  (Jun 1844) as were her parents.  She had been married for 40 years and she could read, write and speak English.  She had given birth to 12 children but only 9 were alive at the time of the census on 8 June 1900.  She was living in Fredonia, Plymouth County, Iowa.  I can find no US Federal census records for them before 1900.
  • I have found Jacob and Katrina on the Iowa 1895 census in Fredonia, Plymouth County, Iowa with children: Nick, Henry, Peter, Mike, John, Joseph, Maggie and Frances.
  • Kate and Jacob had possibly 12 children: Nickolaus, Henry (my Great-Grandfather), Peter, Michael, John, Joseph, Margaretha/Maggie, Francesca/Frances and Lena, that I know of.  Jacob died in 1900 in Fredonia, Iowa.
  • Kate died 21 June 1908 in Remsen, Iowa.
I found 2 obituaries for Kate:

“Kate Hamman

Mrs. Kate Hamman died at the family home in Remsen Sunday morning at 5:30 o'clock after a lingering illness. She had been far from well the past few years and death came to her as a relief. She was born in Luxemburg, Europe, 68 years ago, when a young girl she came to this country and settled with her parents at Dubuque, Iowa. There she met and married Jacob Hamman about 38 years ago. Eight years later they moved to Remsen, and she has made her home here ever since. She was the mother of ten children, of which two are dead. The eight living are Nick, Henry, Peter, John and Joe, and Miss Francis all of whom reside here, and Mrs. Henry Franks, of Marcus, Iowa. Those, together with a host of friends are left to mourn the loss of a devoted, kind and Christian mother. Her husband preceded her to the great beyond eight years ago. The funeral services were held from St. Mary's church Tuesday morning at 9:30 and were conducted by Rev. Father Schulte. We extend sympathy to the bereaved sons and daughters in their hour of sorrow.”

[The Remsen News, Remsen, Iowa, June 25, 1908, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

Mrs. Catherine Hammen died at her home in Remsen on Sunday, June 21st at 3 p.m. at the age of 68 after a long and patiently endured suffering from the ills and infirmities due to her years.  Deceased was born n the grand Duche of Luxemburg sixty eight years ago.  Thirty-one years ago she came with her husband, Jacob Hammen, to Plymouth county, Iowa, and located on farm in Fredonia township.  Eight years ago the husband died, leaving his widow with twelve children, of whom four have since followed the father to the grace.  The eight surviving children are Nicholas, a farmer of the neighborhood; Lena Maner, of Wilmont, Minnesota; Henry, of Remsen; Peter, a farmer of the neighborhood; John, Joseph, Margaretha and Francesca, at home.  the funeral obsequies and the burial in St. Mary’s cemetery were Tuesday morning and were largely attended.”
[LeMars Sentinel, 30 June 1908 Page 2 Column 7, transcribed by Debby Warner Anderson]

The obituaries give me some additional information but there are also some inconsistencies.  The biggest is that one states she came with her parents to America and met Jacob here and the other account states she came with her husband from Luxembourg.  Her death certificate, copy from the State of Iowa,  says she was Mrs. Kate Hamong 63, died of Chronic Bronchitis and Complicated by Chronic Nephritis and came from Germany.  The copy of the ledger for death records in Iowa says she was Catherine Hamonn, she was 63, born in Germany and died of Old Age and Infirmities.  Yikes…I do like it better when information is consistent.  I know the obituaries and death certificate information or even census information are second hand information at times frequently based on accounts given by family members who may be repeating stories/facts they remember that weren’t recorded or written down.  I am also wondering if the copy I paid for from the State of Iowa is the wrong person or someone just copied the information incorrectly?? (I always prefer a copy of the ledger).   It’s amazing when you look at society today and how well recorded information is.  We have to remember that in the 1800s there were few requirements for recording vital statistics.

I have so much more digging to answer the many questions I have and the inconsistencies.  Perhaps Kate’s Will may help?  I so wish I could find someone in the family who has a picture of Kate they would share with me.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

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