Thursday, December 3, 2015

Great-GrandmotherAnna Maria (Mary Ann) Veenker or Mrs. Herman Wilmes

Herman Wilmes, passport photo about 1920

This is grandfather Henry John "Hank" Wilmes'es father Herman Wilmes on his 1921 U.S. passport application for a return European trip ( entry for Herman Wilmes, accessed 17 Nov 2015).  Herman arrived, 24 Aug 1881 from Amsterdam, submitted his "first papers" application for citizenship on 3 Mar 1884 and was naturalized on 23 Nov 1887 in District Court in Niobrara, Knox County, Nebraska(which was accessed 3 Dec 2015 and included below). Sometimes it takes a great deal of help to find such information and it arrived in November.

Family history informed only two things about his wife, our great-grandmother Anna Maria/Mary Ann:  that Herman and William Wilmes married sisters and that Henry's mother died when Henry was very young.  Finding records other than census records and an index entry for their marriage on 26 Jan 1886 at St. Patrick's Church in Neola was unsuccessful - until this obituary provided some valuable hints. The obituary misspells the Wilmes surname as Wilmus but genealogists often say that spelling doesn't matter and that is true here.  The obituary helped identify a path to important facts anyway.  

Neola Gazette Obituary for Mary Anna Veenker Wilmes, November, 1907

Thanks to a very generous genealogist - Don Quigley, of Escondido, California, who is the husband of our cousin Sharon Doyle - we have this obituary of our great-grandmother Mary Ann Veenker Wilmes.  Don includes it on his website   Anna Maria/Mary Ann died in 1907 at 46 years old of typhoid fever in Neola or that vicinity.  The obituary's dates for their move to Creighton, Nebraska and return to Neola, Iowa where they were married are helpful.   The name Herman Von Habel also helped.  Using pieces to connect with other pieces, it was possible to confirm her parents, her full brother John, half sister Anna Catherine Veenker Wilmes (wife of William Wilmes) and half-brothers Fritz, Barney and George Veenker. Anna Catherine, Fritz, Barney and George are the children of Anna Catherine Von Habel, Jan Hendrik Veenker's second wife (he became (Henry Veenkeer in America).  I will post those civil registration entries in a future posting.  

Her parents were Jan Hendrik Veenker and Anna Gebina Bergman. I have not yet located the marriage record for Jan Hendrik Veenker and Anna Gebina Bergman but will continue to look. Anna Maria Veenker's civil registration/birth record for 8 Aug 1862 in Assen, Holland, a short distance from Groningen, follows.   Anna's brother John (recorded Jan in the Dutch civil registration entry) was born 11 Aug 1864, also in Assen. The registration entry shows her parents and we can share those great-great-great-grandparents soon, as well. Anna Gebina Bergman also died very young, probably in childbirth, for a third and unnamed child, on 8 Aug 1866. 

Civil Registration of Birth of Anna Maria Veenker Wilmes, 1862

Sadly, I have not found a photo of Mary Ann Veenker Wilmes.  This photo of the Veenker and Wilmes brothers, brothers-in-law and cousins-in-law - which was also a gift from Don Quigley.

Herman Wilmes, his brother William, bottom right) and his Veenker brothers\-in-laws

The note identifying each man does not state who wrote the names.  Both photos were provided by Don Quigley.  They are undated but assumed to be around 1920.

Herman who died in Missouri Valley in 1934 and Mary Ann (1907) are buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Lot 164 in Neola, Iowa.  The records of St. Patrick's Church (obtained through
Don Quigley) state that Mary was buried on November 11, 1907, by Rev. Hilary Rosenfeld.  This picture is listed on the St. Patrick's Cemetery website:  Wilmes Headstone at St. Patrick's Cemetery

Headstone of Mary and Herman Wilmes at St. Patrick's Cemetery  
Several notes:  Iowa genealogy records are very hard to obtain but they may exist.  Having already scoured the records available at the Iowa State Historical Society and the Pottawattamie County Genealogy Society without finding other records, in order to obtain death and birth certificates, it would be necessary for me to have an application form for each request notarized and pay a fee.  I have decided to do that only when necessary, and with this new information, I feel it is not a priority to do so. 

The priority is now to obtain the German records for Herman's family and the records are not as good. It may be faster and more efficient to hire a German genealogist to do that, spending on that priority instead.  There is some information available, thanks to Don Quigley on Herman's brother William, and it may help a genealogist pinpoint Herman where he was born, in Altenberge, Germany. Altenberge is on the very western border with the Netherlands, a short distance from Munster, Germany.  The baptism record for William was at Parochie Rutenbrock which I believe is a church in Germany very near the Dutch border.  I believe Don Quigley obtained it from someone in York, Nebraska. That will be included in a future post.  

Besides some untranslated Dutch entries, many records during that time period were in Latin! Google Translate has an excellent app for tablets and smartphones and it helped me distinguish birth (geboorte, for example, is Dutch for births), also marriage and death dates in Latin and Dutch (perhaps every language!).

And finally, if you have pictures or family stories to share, please post them here.  On your Facebook stream, click in the Search blue box at the top and a drop-down menu will offer the closed group My Dispersed Wilmes Family. The photos and stories do not need to be very old.  Please check your photo albums.  You may not remember what you have.  

Genealogists say that oral family history is gone within three generations so we are in a big hurry! 

This post to my genealogy blog Long Since Dispersed ( will be cross-posted to the My Dispersed Wilmes Family closed Facebook group (which simplifies reaching cousins). Soon it will be a separate Wilmes page on the Long Since Dispersed blog.