Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joseph Peter Heimbach: Background

Joseph Peter Heimbach was born in Losheim, Prussia. in 1838,  He lived in Prussia during a time of political unrest and 3 rulers, Fredrick William III, Fredrick William IV, and William I.  In his youth, the country was embroiled in The First Schleswig War and The Second Schleswig War then the Austro-Prussian War was ended when he left for the United States. Looking at the pictures drawn to depict the wars, one is left wondering, did he fight in any of the wars?  Did he take his family and leave in the hopes of peace and prosperity in another land? I may be able to find out about the military, but his motives will remain unanswered.

The land he grew up in is beautiful.  Some places that were in his time are still there.  We were not blessed with pictures of Joseph from any time period.  This website has some great pictures of Germany including some historical pictures. German Picture of the Day   Losheim is a picturesque area.  We are blessed to have access to old newspapers that describe the time period from men and women who traveled there.  I was amazed to find that it was an extremely ordered society.  Coaches if early could not enter a city except at a specific time as shown in an article I found on  When I started using this site, it was to find specific information on ancestors and I was not disappointed.  Now I am finding a way to make the life experience of an ancestor real.
Date: Saturday, July 28, 1849   Paper: Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, VA)   Page: 4                                                                                         This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.

About 1863 (I am still looking through records to find a marriage record) he married Anna Maria Oswald.  This information was derived from the Familienbuch der Pfarrei Kisgeun 1729-1899 and  Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s  on Ancestry.  The story of obtaining the Familienbuch der Pfarrei Kisgen is a story in itself.   They had at least one child, Nicholas, in Prussia before leaving for America.
Once again, the imagination kicks in.  Did they live in town or in the countryside?  What did Joseph do for a living?  What type of home did they have?  These are all hopefully future finds as I leave the United States to explore more.

The first clue was family stores of the Ellsworth family that Frances Ellsworth shared with the Hero saying that Helena was from Germany (she was not)  and that she had been lost on the streets of Chicago during the Chicago Fire (maybe).

Helena Heimbach Ellsworth picture owned by Fran Ellworth 

The second Clue that Joseph and Anna were immigrants was the 1870 census that gave their place of birth as Prussia.

The third clue was the transcribed records of St. Michael's Catholic Church, Chicago (Cleveland Avenue) German-speaking parish in Chicago, Illinois, USA.  This Church survived the Chicago Fire.

I have only found transcribed records so far, but am making my plans for finding the ship records if possible.  The hope here is to find if there was a family member already in the United States or if they originally planned on staying in the East.

There you have it.  The beginning.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Joseph Peter Heimbach and Anna Oswald... The beginning

My first encounter with Joseph Peter Heimbach was a letter from a distant cousin saying Helena Heimbach Ellsworth's death certificate identified her father as Peter Heimbach.  Armed with that information, I found him on the 1870 census.  This was before digital records were online in the late 1980s.  I loved scrolling though the films.
No one in the family had any inkling about the family other than they lived in Chicago during the Chicago Fire of 1871 and that Helena married Edward Ellworth in Chicago about 1890.  No clue as to how they met.

From the 1870 census, I learned they were from Prussia. Their oldest child Nicholas, was born in Prussia too.
Then I found an index done by someone on Rootsweb of St Michael's Catholic Church in Chicago.  There was Joseph and Anna and the third daughter Margarurite.  The blessing was, the priest had them write their birth place also.  I spent some time searching but to no avail.  It would be 8 years later, I met a man in the Family History Center I worked in that had the family genealogy book from Losheim, Germany where they were from.  He loaded me the book and it had both families back to 1800.

I will begin the journey of this story with Joseph Peter, his birth and the events around his birth.
I love this family; they are so interesting.
My internet is so incredibly slow tonight I can not upload anything.  More later.