Wondering About Wendels

I needed something new to research, something to get the detective side of my brain jump started, and something to really get my teeth into. I was curious about what information I had gathered on my family tree that was complete so I printed off a six generation ancestor tree. It was pretty full, seeing as the last year I had filled in my paternal grandfather’s information thanks mainly to the generosity of a couple of my readers pointing me in the correct direction and doing research for me. What more could a girl as for? There was nothing there to me really going.

My husband had asked several times if I had found anything more on his family, all from Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri and to some degree much harder to find. I printed off his six generation ancestor tree and took a look. Yup, plenty of holes here, and now I wondered how in the world was I going to do that. For some reason his Wendel line caught my eye and I decided to see exactly what information I had and what I could find out new.

Jacob N. Wendel was my husband’s great grandfather. Jacob was born in Lucas county, Ohio. I even had an old photograph of him that my mother-in-law had given me. I had previously discovered Jacob’s father’s name. John Wendel was born in Hessen-Darmenstat, Germany around 1823. John’s wife was Roseina Milena, born in Wurtenburg, Germany in 1836. John and Roseina had 10 children, all born in Lucas county, Ohio. I decided to start with a search on Lucas county, Ohio for Wendels and see where that took me.

The searches kept turning up a Conrad Wendel in Lucas county, Ohio. I noticed the Conrad’s age would put him in the area of being a brother to John. This looked promising, so I kept digging. As I browsed through the Census records, I stopped cold. There, living next door to Conrad, was John. I double checked to see if indeed this was the same John Wendel that was the father to my Jacob Wendel and it was a dead match. Previous experience usually shows that families with the same last name, living next door to each other on farm land were generally related. My mother-in-law had mentioned that John had a two brothers, one in Ohio and the other one went back to Germany because he didn’t like it here.

The next move was to see if I could find Conrad in any immigration records, hopefully with two brothers. With my first try, up popped Conrad with two brothers a sister-in-law and a mother. Two more of the entries on the record seemed interesting and they would fall in line as I kept digging. According to the September 7, 1840 record for the Maria and Adriana, departing from Rotterdam, Conrad was traveling with what seemed to be; his brother Franz, Franz’s wife Elizabeth, his mother Elizabeth and his brother Johannes. Three more entries seemed a bit confusing: Phillip Nagler, 63, Conrad Wendel, 10 months and Jacob Rietz, 50. I wasn’t sure how or if they were related.

I dug in. Conrad lived his life in Lucas, Ohio. Francis (Franz), and his wife Elizabeth moved to Michigan, not back to Germany as the family remembered. From Francis’ Census entries I now had a good idea who the young Conrad belonged to. Conrad was the son of Francis and Elizabeth. I followed Francis’ family and found a grandson that moved from Michigan to Lucas county Ohio for several years and then on to California.

I cannot find the death information on Conrad’s mother Elizabeth, it is possible that she moved with her son to Michigan or lived with Conrad or John in Ohio and died before the 1850 Census. Conrad’s death was between 1880 and 1900. His wife Elizabeth died between 1900 and 1920. For twenty years they had Jacob Rietz living with them, the relationship, if any, still unknown. Francis died in 1897 and his wife Elizabeth in 1866, both in Michigan. My original family member John would pass between 1880 and 1900 and his wife Roseina (Rose) in 1917.

There is still plenty more to dig and find on this family line. But I think I have a pretty good start on this brick wall.

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