Friday, February 14, 2014


As a child, I loved giving as well as receiving valentines on February 14th.  No one I actually knew though had the name "Valentin".  In the past few years, I have learned that a few of my ancestors did have the first name of Valentin.  How romantic is that?

In my German roots, there are two male relatives named Valentin -- Valentin Hober and Valentin Zirfas.  Valentin Hober was my first cousin 7 times removed.  He was born on 20 Jan 1733 in Staudt, Germany and died on 26 Mar 1897 also in Staudt, Germany.  Staudt is near Cologne and the Rhine River. Valentin married Katharine Kleibusch.  Valentin and Katherine are buried in Katholische Friedhof Wirges in Wirges, Germany.

My other German "Valentin" is Valentin Zirfas, who was my 7th great grandfather.  Valentin Zirfas was born in Helferskirchen, Germany in 1665.  He is buried at Katholische Maria Himmelfahrt.  His wife's name was Elizabeth.  Valentin and Elizabeth had four children -- Johann, Christian, Anna Catharina (my 6th great grandmother) and Peter.

Happy Valentine's Day to my two German Valentin's!  Looking forward to March 17th , I am wondering how many Patrick's are in my family tree ...

Thursday, February 6, 2014


      John Jacob Wolf (1808) and his wife Maria Anna Lauf (1811) had three sons -- Jacob, Baltas and Peter. What is amazing to me is how many times Jacob and Maria's grandchildren married into my family of Homrich and Simon.

        Jacob (the eldest son of John and Maria) married Eva Debri and they had 4 children -- Emma, Helena, Peter and Katherina.  Jacob's son Peter (1877-1932) married Elizabeth Homrich (1991-1978). Jacob was the only one of his siblings who married into the Homrich family.

     The middle son of John and Maria Wolf was Baltas (1848-1923), who married Mary Miller (1858-1918), and they had nine children.  Four of the nine children married either a Homrich or a Simon. Adam Wolf (1890-1975) married Emma Homrich and they had 5 children -- Bernard, Matilda, Cleo, Raymond and Delores.  Then John Wolf  (1883-1969) married Oleva Marie Homrich and together they had 8 children -- Genevieve, Albinus, Clara, Bertha, Richard, Kenneth, Marie and Elmer.  Baltas Wolf, Jr. (1885-1949) married Katherine Simon (her mother was a Homrich and her father was a Simon [my 2nd great grand uncle]).  Together Baltas and Katherine had 4 children -- Leo, Geneva, Nicholas and Neola.  Then Christian Wolf  (1888-1963) married another Simon -- Caroline Marianna Simon (who was the sister of Katherine Simon) and they had a lot of kids -- 13 to be exact -- Edwin, Lawrence, Dorothy, Walter, Isadore, Norman, Roger, Sylvester, Viola, Redeatha, Rita, Genevera and Christian.

     Now, the youngest son of John & Maria, is Peter Wolf who married Catharine Meyer.   Peter and Katy (as she was known) had 8 children and so far I have found that 3 of them married into the Homrich family.  Emma Marie Wolf married Quirin Homrich (my 2nd great grand uncle).  Margaretha Wolf married Christian Homrich (son of Anton Homrich).  The youngest child Joseph married Katharina Homrich.  Now to add just a bit more to the confusion (if your head is not already spinning -- I think mine is!) Joseph and Katharina Homrich Wolf had 5 children -- Florence, Frank, Veronica, Matilda and Lorene.  So now these kids are the great grandchildren of John and Maria.   Well, two of these kids -- Veronica and Matilda -- also married a Homrich.  Veronica Wolf married Edmund Homrich while Matilda Wolf married Leander Homrich.

See how much fun my genealogy research is!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


My 3rd Great Grandfather Joseph Simon (born in Prussia in 18118) immigrated to the US in 1852.  The earliest records I have been able to locate on Joseph is the ship manifest on his trip from Liverpool, England to Boston, Massachusetts.  He sailed on the ship Tirrell and arrived in Boston on 29 Nov 1852.  He traveled with his wife Catherine (Schneider) and children Philip, Mary [Anna], Matthias and Peter.  Anna Maria Simon (born in 1844) is my 2nd great Grandmother.

What I find interesting is in the 1900 census it asks 3 of my favorite genealogical questions -- How many children have you given birth to?  How many children still survive?  How long have you been married?  You wouldn't believe the information I have learned from those simple questions!  Okay, back to my story -- Catherine answered that she had been married 50 years, which would mean that Joseph and Catherine got married in 1850.  This would have been after the births of Philip (1843), Anna (1844) and Mathias (1846).  No, of course, that doesn't rule out Catherine as their mother but the next little nugget of information does.  Catherine answered that she gave birth to 7 children but only 2 survive.  At first glance, it looks like she could be the mother since in addition to Philip, Anna and Mathias, there were also younger children -- Peter, Nicholas and Mary.  However, the answer to how many survive throws "a big wrench" into the situation.  In 1900, Anna, Mathias, Peter and Nicholas were all still alive with Philip dying in January of that year.  So, what makes sense and backs up my theory is that Catherine was only the birth mother of Peter and Nicholas and Mary (who died in 1874).  This means that Joseph had been married before (while in Prussia) and probably the birth mother died before he married Catherine.  Catherine is listed on some of the documents as their mother but this is a common occurrence when the birth mother dies when the children are very young and the father remarries.

So what is the mystery?  What is the name of the birth mother of Anna Simon and who are her ancestors?  That would open up an entire new branch of my family tree.   Some times I don't feel like I am just hitting a brick wall, I feel like I am in a maze -- where there is wall after wall after wall!