Monday, August 27, 2007

Keeping contact

Nothing really exciting today, other than the fact that I got to listen to George
and Drew talk genealogy. In addition to the timeline that I have started, I have started the basics of some letters that I plan on writing to these long lost cousins that I mentioned over the weekend.
In reviewing my notes from those conversations, I remembered that the middle son actually told me that he heard that his grandma, grandpa, and one of his uncles (Nathaniel?) were buried in Bowman cemetary, but we don't have anything to confirm it yet. Until then, I'll just keep searching.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Famous mentioning

Well, I was curious to find out why I have gotten a couple of comments on my blog and was pleasantly surprised to find out that The Genealogy Guys actually mentioned me on their podcast. Thanks a ton guys - it is very much appreciated. I am kind of hopeful that perhaps someone out there can think of an avenue that I have not already traveled. After all, if George can find Brisco Holder, then maybe I stand a chance at finding Jacob Sommerfelt.
I spent a little bit of time trying to do a time line of this particular family and I'll have to share what I have soon. At least what I know of the facts - and then try to fill in more where I can.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cold calling

Boy there is nothing more nerve-wracking that cold calling someone and then trying to explain that you are a long-lost relative. Here is the story: After considerable effort in trying to find any further information on Jacob Sommerfelt, I decided to go out on a limb.
It started with me calling the Wichita County Clerk again and then getting the idea of calling a few of the clerks form the adjoining counties. All with the same result that they did not have anyone named Sommerfelt or Sommerfeld anywhere in their books - let alone someone named Jacob Sommerfelt.
All of this was quite frustrating, so I sat back and tried to figure out another approach. What I settled one was I decided to use an online phone book and try calling some long-lost cousins. I searched for the maried last name of one of the sisters of my great-grandma Schulz. Then narrowed the search to Wichita Falls, TX because that is the last place I knew of them at.
That search produced three telephone numbers and I started calling and asking if they knew of a relative named Tillie (which is what this sister went by in life). Go figure that the last one I called is the only one that had heard of her - but the miracle is that he was her son.
After talking for about an hour, we hung up and I had the phone number of one of his brothers.
I ended up cold calling him too and we had a great conversation for about a half an hour. When I hung up with him, he gave me the phone number for the third brother. I called him the next day (Friday) and we chatted for about 45 minutes. These connections were wonderful to establish and I was so thrilled. The trouble is that I am in Utah and they are in Texas. However is was nice to meet the, even if it was just over the phone.
Unfortunately, even after these wonderful chats that we had, I still didn't get any closer to finding Jacob. I did; however, get closer to family which is a very gratifying experience.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I have not forgotten

Well, I have been pretty busy in my personal life, but I have not forgotten Jacob and Minnie, or their family. In scouring the newspaper findings, I did not see a single reference to Jacob Sommerfelt or Sommerfeld. This has been unfortunate. I feel like I am back at square one, but I have got to push through this. I am starting to research again and am thinking about calling the Wichita Falls County Clerk again. Here goes nothing. I am starting today.

Friday, January 19, 2007

What was lost

Well, I continue to investigate everything that I can. I have not been able to find any more information on Nathaniel, nor any information on Minnie's burial. I feel like I am in serious need of some local family help. Then I had a glimmer yesterday evening. On a whim I decided to search for Jacob again. Basically because I was curious as to what local newspapers would have been in operation, during his life. If there was a newspaper open in Wichita Falls, and anyone got wind of his death - perhaps there could have been a small obituary.
I discovered that there were actually two main newspapers in operation for 1907 to the mid 1980's. There was the Wichita Daily Times and the Record Times. I have not yet found anything thing online from the Record Times, but I did find an archive of the Wichita Daily Times, from 1911 to 1923. I figured that it might be a long shot, but I took it anyway. I searched on Sommerfelt and got nothing, I searched on Jacob and had a list longer than my arm. Then I searched on Sommerfeldt, since that is a common alternate spelling - and I got a hit! To further cement my belief that maybe I found something - I searched for 'Jacob Sommerfeldt' and came away empty-handed. However, not to be discouraged, I changed my search to look for 'Jakob Sommerfeldt' to try the traditional German spelling of his first name - and the same date popped out - August 12, 1921!
Now it is time to scour all 12 pages of this paper to see if I can find any more information. I suddenly feel like I might have found a missing brick in the wall that I have been facing. Just enough that perhaps I might be able to peek on the other side and perhaps find a way to bring it down. Here goes nothing!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A day of new names

I am continuing to research and have found nothing on Nathaniel Sommerfelt. I have searched the North Dakota death index, and scoured A couple of interesting tidbits of information is that Tillie was issued a birth certificate in Wichita Falls - but the information shows that she was born in North Dakota in 1900. From that information and the fact that Matilda was one of the witnesses tells me that this is Othelia. The interesting fact that really comes out of this though is that there are 2 names as witnesses. The first is Matilda, the second is someone named Carl Kuehn. This is a new name that I have not previously run across in my research.
Another new name that I had not run across is Mrs. Minnie Weidenbach. This name was listed as a contact on the Owens & Brumley funeral home record for Minnie Sommerfelt, along with Rudolph Sommerfelt (which I believe to be Wilhelmina/Minnie's son).
There also seems to be a little bit of confusion regarding Minnie's birthdate. The obituary shows Jan. 16, 1872 - the death record shows 1875 - family records have shown 1865. Pretty nutty stuff.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Little puzzle pieces

Today's findings consist of a single obituary that was uncovered by Owens & Brumley - which is the funeral home that handled Minnie's funeral. The text of this obituary is as follows:

Mrs. Minnie Sommerfelt
Funeral services for Mrs. Minnie Sommerfelt, 75, a resident of Wichita Falls 10 years who died at her home, 1310 Thirty-fifth, Monday, are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday from the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Pallbearers will be Veston Lindsey, Charles Davis, J.H. Baucom, W.H. Dickey, Aubrey Bennett, Haskell Mayo and Lawrence Schrader. Interment will be under the direction of Owens & Brumley Funeral Home.
Mrs. Sommerfelt is survived by three sons, four daughters, 22 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

This little gem brings a few questions to my mind. These are questions that I need to figure out how to answer. I am curious now, whether or not Minnie was a member of the congregation for the Evangelical United Brethren Church. If she was, perhaps they have some membership records or things that I might be able to retrieve some information from.
In reading sequentially, the next question becomes... who are these people that were her pallbearers? There is not a single name that looks familiar. So, perhaps this is another avenue to take, trying to discover who these men are and see if perhaps I can find any information out that way.
The last question that sprung to my mind was this item about three sons and four daughters. I believe I have figured out who the daughters are: Matilda, Othelia, Emma, and Christina. The sons are a little bit more confusing for me, as I have 4 sons that survived infancy and so should have been alive: Nathaniel, Rudolph, Heinrich (Henry), and Arthur (Art). The one that I think that had died is Nathaniel, since I have death dates for all of the rest of the brothers - and the dates are all after Minnie died. Thus, this is a conclusion that I now have to substantiate. The last known location of Nathaniel was in North Dakota and that is where my research will pick up tomorrow. Well, that and trying to answer the other two questions as well.