Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rose Loescher – The Mystery of Her Birth

I have heard about Grandma Rose Loescher as long as I can remember.  She was seemingly a larger than life figure in my maternal grandmother’s life.  My Grandmother Clem’s stories about her maternal grandmother Rose included how she raised a large family and managed her various businesses after her husband died from an untimely accident in the spring of 1902 and what a tough but loving and caring person she was.  These were oft repeated stories which my grandma liked to tell.

I spent most of 2015 researching not just Rose Nufer Loescher’s family and children but her parents and siblings lives as well.  It was during this time that I came upon a mystery that is not fully solved yet.  It is really a very basic and common genealogy question – where was Rose Nufer born and what was the date of her birth?  Many times this is the first question that is researched when trying to learn more about an ancestor’s life and times.  During the process of trying to sort out the issues related to her birth I learned a great deal more about the family history research process and also more about my own grandmother as well.

I began looking at the various pieces of information I had acquired over time about my great great grandmother’s birth.  These included the census records, vital records such as her marriage license and death certificate but also a picture I had taken of her cemetery marker in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Kickapoo,  Illinois where she and my great great grandfather Frank Loescher are buried. 

Something did not add up when I reviewed the information I had about her birth date and location.  The birth date given on her death certificate said “Aug  1st 1856” and the birthplace is “Groveland, Illinois”. [i] The informant was her only son, Frank A Loescher.    

Death Certificate for Rosa Loescher

Her cemetery marker gives only a birth year and that is “1856”.[ii] These two information items are the same as they both list the year of birth as 1856. I also have an obituary for her but it is the same information that is on her death certificate. However, I suspect that the same information source was used for the death certificate, the cemetery marker and her obituary – her son Frank A. Loescher.  Therefore all of them are consistent but I believe they are likely incorrect.

Frank & Rose Loescher Cemetery Marker - St Patrick's Cemetery, Kickapoo, IL
Other information items I have for Rose Nufer Loescher lead to a different birth year and the location of birth is a source of confusion also.  First when Rose Nufer and her fiancé, Frank Loescher obtained their marriage license[iii] her age is listed as “20 years”.  Their license was obtained on “27th day of October A.D. 1879.  That indicates a birth year of 1859.  Not 1856.

Marriage License - Frank Loescher and Rosa Nufer - Peoria County, Illinois
What about census records?  They are mostly consistent.  The first census she appears in is 1860 where she is listed as “10/12” months old.  This is probably the most accurate indication of her age in the census records and indicates a birth month and year of August 1859. Her mother or father was the most likely informants of that information and her mother at least would have firsthand knowledge of that event. The rest of the census records that she appears in all have a derived birth year of 1858 or 1859 with one outlier (1900) which has “Aug 1861”.

None of the census records she appears in points to a birth year of 1856.

Census Year
Age Listed
Birth Location
Comments
1860[iv]
10/12 months
Illinois
Rosa is listed in her father’s (Martin Nufer) home.  The census page has an enumeration date of June 10, 1860. An age of 10 months would make a birth month and year of August, 1859.
1870[v]
11 years
Illinois
Rose is listed her father’s home. Her birth year is estimated at 1859.
1880[vi]
20 years at last birthdate
Illinois
Rose is listed in her husband’s home on Washington Street in Peoria, Illinois.  Her birth year is estimated at 1859.
1890


Not Available
1900[vii]
38 years; birth month and year listed are “Aug 1861”
Illinois
Rose and Frank Loescher are now living in Kickapoo, Illinois.  Her birth year is given as 1861.
1910[viii]
51 years at last birthdate.
Illinois
Rose is a widow now and living in Kickapoo, Illinois.  Her birth year is estimated as 1858.
1920[ix]
61 years at last birthdate
Illinois
Rose is living alone now in Kickapoo, Illinois.  Her birth year is estimated as 1858.
1930[x]
71 years at last birthdate
Illinois
Rose is living in Kickapoo, Illinois and this is the last time she appears in a census as she dies in 1938.  Her birth year is estimated as 1858.

What about civil birth records?  The location of Rose’s birth is in conflict also.  Her marriage license says she was born in Peoria, Illinois but her death certificate indicates Groveland, Illinois.  Peoria County did not start collecting birth records until 1877 and Tazewell County (county for Groveland) does not have birth records prior to 1876.  Therefore no civil birth records were created.

That leaves church records.  Rose Nufer’s family were members of St Joseph Catholic Church in Peoria, Illinois while they resided in Peoria.  But if she was born in Groveland, Illinois then there would likely not be a baptismal record for her in Peoria, Illinois.  But, as luck would have it there was such a record!!  I was able to obtain a copy and translation from the Office of Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.  I was expecting this baptismal record to provide the definitive answer on her birth date and location.  But I was to be disappointed because what I got back was just more conflicting evidence and more questions. 

Rose Nufer was baptized at St Joseph’s Church in Peoria, Illinois but according to the register it took place more than one year after her birth.[xi]  The record says she was born on 20 August 1859 (no location given) and was baptized on 22 October 1860.  While this month and year of birth are consistent with her age listed in the 1860 census, the date of her birth is not the same as what is listed on her death certificate.  This record though does support my theory that her date of birth on her death certificate and the year of death on her cemetery marker are incorrect.

But this baptismal record does support the assertion in her death certificate and obituary that she was born outside of Peoria.  If she was born in Groveland as the birth location supplied for her death certificate says then that would explain why there was a gap of 14 months between the time of birth and her baptism in Peoria.  There may not have been a Catholic priest available for sacraments in rural Tazewell County or the records did not survive.

Baptismal Record for Rose Nufer
Where does this leave my quest to answer my initial research question of “When and where was Rose Nufer Loescher born?”  I feel more confident now in my theory that her year of birth was not 1856 as her death certificate, obituary and cemetery marker state.  But, I am still left with the date of her birth (August 1 or August 20) and the location as outstanding questions.

The mystery continues and more research is needed.  Isn’t that usually the case??  I need to spend time digging through any business or newspaper records that may exist for Groveland, Illinois.  I want to see if I can find evidence that Martin Nufer and his young family were living there when Rose was born in August 1859.  Tazewell County, Illinois…..here I come!!!


Copyright ©2016 – Diane Minor – All Rights Reserved.


[i] Peoria County, Illinois, death certificate no. 28291 (15 Sep 1938), Rosa Loescher, Peoria County Clerk, Peoria.
[ii] St Patrick's Cemetery (Kickapoo, Peoria, Illinois, US), Frank and Rose Nufer Loescher marker, photograph taken by Diane Minor, 2006.
[iii] Peoria County, Illinois, marriage certificate, Frank Loescher and Rosa Nufer, date of marriage 2 Nov 1879, Peoria County Clerk, Peoria.
[iv] 1860 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Peoria Ward 1, Enumeration District (ED) 134, p. 40, line 10, household 301, family 324, Rosina Nufar; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed  3 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T653, roll M653_216, FHL microfilm 803216.
[v] 1870 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Peoria Ward 6, p.109, line 27, dwelling 765, family 765, Rose Nufer; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed date 3 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll M593_267, page 466A, image 506, FHL 545766.
[vi] 1880 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Peoria, Enumeration District (ED) 223, p. 345B, line 16, dwelling 77, family 82, Rosa Larcher; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed  3 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 241, image 0352, FHL 1254241.
[vii] 1900 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Kickapoo, Enumeration District (ED) 0078, sheet 12-A, line 38, dwelling 231, family 232, Rosa N Loascher; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Jun 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 333, FHL microfilm 1240333.
[viii] 1910 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Kickapoo, Enumeration District (ED) 0058, sheet 6-A, line 5, dwelling 86, family 86, Rosa Loescher; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed  3 Jun 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll T624_317, FHL microfilm 1374330.
[ix] 1920 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Kickapoo, Enumeration District (ED) 55, p. 55, line 37, dwelling 290, family 293, Rosa Locher; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll T625_398, image 843.
[x] 1930 U.S. census, Peoria County, Illinois, population schedule, Kickapoo, Enumeration District (ED) 13, sheet 12-A, line 32, dwelling 228, family 228, Rose Loesher; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Jul 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T626, roll 547, image 252.0, FHL microfilm 2340282.
[xi] Baptismal Register of St. Joseph Church, Peoria, Illinois, digital image, (Peoria, Illinois:  The Catholic Diocese of Peoria Illinois), record no. 159, 22 Oct 1860, baptism of Rose Nufer.