Family Quilts

Quilt made by Chrintina Rueck & Rosina (Schinnerer) Schumm, c1881.

This week I have an interesting story that connects both sides of my family, the Millers and the Schumms, long before my parents were ever married.

This story involves my great-grandmother Christina Rueck, before she and Jacob Miller married. It also involves my mom’s side of the family, the Schumms.

The Schumms were from Ruppertshofen, Wuerttemberg. Johann Georg immigrated to America with his five children in 1833. They settled a couple miles east of Willshire, in Van Wert County, Ohio, in 1838. Their settlement consisted of the small village of Schumm and Zion Lutheran Church. They also owned a lot of land east of Willshire.

The Schumm women in the Willshire area were known for their fine quilting. In fact most of them were avid quilters. Back then women sewed out of necessity but many also liked to quilt. My grandma Schumm also loved to quilt. I remember her talking about quilting with the ladies of the church. The women would regularly meet at the church or in someone’s home and they would stitch on the same quilt all day long. I’m sure they would catch up on the latest news in the Schumm area while they stitched. That was part of the fun! Those Zion Lutheran ladies made beautiful quilts. Their designs were intricate and their stitches were very small. No machine-stitched quilts for the Schumm quilters!

The Rueck family was from Appensee, Wuerttemberg, and they immigrated to America in 1880. Their family at that time consisted of the parents, Jacob and Marie Regina (Gross) Rueck, eight children and one grandchild. Christina was the oldest child in the family. The family settled in Van Wert County, Ohio. In 1881 Jacob purchased 80 acres of land along the St. Marys River. Their property was a little east of Willshire. The Ruecks had settled in the land of the Schumms.

The Ruecks lived in the Willshire area for only a couple years. Christina’s family moved to Oregon about 1882 but Christina stayed behind in Van Wert County. She was about 23 years old and she was seeing Jacob Miller at the time. She didn’t want to go out west with her family and leave Ohio and Jacob behind. But Christina needed a place to stay. She stayed with a neighboring family, Henry and Rosina (Schinnerer) Schumm and their family.

Henry and Rosina Schumm also lived along the St. Marys River. Henry was known as “River Henry”. This name was to distinguish him from several other Henry Schumms living in the area at the time.

During the time Christina Rueck stayed with the Schumm family Rosina taught her how to quilt. Together Rosina and Christina made these two quilts. Both women worked to piece and stitch the quilts and Christina kept the finished quilts to use in her home with Jacob Miller. The quilts were made about 1881 and my mother now has them.

Quilt made by Christina Rueck & Rosina (Schinnerer) Schumm, c1881.

Clara (Miller) Reef, the youngest child of Jacob and Christina (Rueck) Miller, recalled her mother saying, “all the Schumm women wanted to do was to quilt”. Christina learned to quilt from the best quilters around!

Christina (1858-1945) was my great-grandmother but what was my relationship to the River Henry and Rosina (Schinnerer) Schumm? This gets a little complicated because I am related to the both the Schinnerers and the Schumms, so I am related to both River Henry and his wife Rosina.

Rosina (1854-1890) was my great-grandaunt. She was the daughter of Frederick Schinnerer and his first wife Margaretha Deier. Frederick and Margaretha were from Ipsheim, Bavaria, and they immigrated in 1849. They first lived in Mercer County, Ohio, near Rockford, and later moved to Van Wert County, east of Willshire.

River Henry (1844-1922) was my great and great-great-granduncle. He was the son of Johann “Ludwig” Schumm, who was one of the Schumm immigrants. River Henry married Anna Magdalena Geissler (1868-1946) after Rosina’s death.

Christina Rueck and Jacob Miller were married in 1882 and the quilts were stitched before they were married. These are photos of the two quilts that Christina and Rosina made together.









These two beautiful quilts have this very special connection to only two people in the world–our son Jeff and me! That makes them pretty special indeed!

Unfortunately, I have not inherited the quilting gene. I can sew and I used to like to sew a lot, but not anymore. I don’t even like to hem a pair of slacks these days. I would never have the patience to make a whole quilt. All that precise cutting and tiny stitching–not for me. About the only needlework I enjoy is counted x-stitch. Does that count?



Tombstone Tuesday–Elisabeth (Ehrenmann) Schumm

Elisabeth (Ehrenmann) Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio.

This is the tombstone of Elisabeth Schumm, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio.  The tombstone is inscribed Hier Ruhet Elisabeth, Ehefrau von Martin Schumm, Gest. Den 28 Jan 1893, Alter 32j, 11m, 28t. Translation: Here Rests Elisabeth, wife of Martin Schumm, Died 28 Jan 1893, Age 32 years, 11 months, 28 days. Schumm is inscribed in large letters at the base of the tombstone. I like this lectern-style marker. The closed book represents the Book of Life. The book is closed–life has ended.

I do not have much information about Elisabeth Schumm, only the information from her tombstone and the church records of Zion Lutheran, Schumm. According to the church records Elisabeth “Lizzie” Ehrmann married Martin Schumm on 12 October 1882 at the home of the groom’s brother. Martin belonged to Zion’s parish and Elisabeth was from Fort Wayne, Indiana. (source: records of Zion Lutheran, Schumm, Book III:202)

According to Elisabeth’s death and burial record at Zion she was born 31 January 1860 and died during childbirth the morning of 28 January 1893. The church record states that she was age 33 years minus 3 days. She was buried on 31 January in the parish cemetery. She was buried on her birthday. Her burial text was Isaiah 28:29. (source: records of Zion Lutheran, Schumm, Book III:237)

Martin and Elisabeth had three known children:

Arthur Heinrich Ferdinand Schumm, born 19 July 1883, baptized 29 July 1883 at Zion, Schumm. His sponsors at baptism were Heinrich Roehm, Heinrich Schumm II and Ferdinand Schumm.  (source: records of Zion Lutheran, Schumm, Book III:53) He married Daisy Webster.

Esther Velma Schumm, born 4 August 1885, baptized 23 August 1885. Her sponsors at baptism were Mrs. Wilhemine Schumm and Mrs. Wilhelmine Seemeyer.   (source: records of Zion Lutheran, Schumm, Book III:54) She married John Schnackenberg.

Herbert Georg Wilhelm Schumm, born 29 January 1888, baptized 12 February 1888. His baptismal sponsors were Carl Neubrecht, Georg Roehm and Wilhelm Schumm.  (source: records of Zion Lutheran, Schumm, Book III:57) He married Anna Buesener.

There is no mention in the church records of the birth, baptism or death of the child born in 1893 when Elisabeth died. Perhaps the child was stillborn.

Although I do not know who Elisabeth Ehrmann’s parents were, there were other Ehrmanns/Ehrenmanns mentioned Zion’s church records. They may have been relatives. Others mentioned in the records with that surname:

Mrs. Ehrenmann died 21 March 1851, age 45 years. (Zion, Schumm, Book I:102)

Mrs. Ehrenmann died 17 September 1853, age 43 years. (Zion, Schumm, Book I:84)

Adam Ehrenmann married widow B. Albrecht in 1853. (Zion, Schumm, Book I:72)

Adam Ehrenmann died three months later, age 53. This may have been the same person. (Zion, Schumm, Book I:84)

Christian Ehrmann married Margaretha Bienz in 1854. (Zion, Schumm, Book I:72)

Fred Schumm III was married to Margaretha Ehremann.

Elisabeth’s husband, Jacob “Martin” Schumm, was the son George Martin and Maria (Pflueger) Schumm. His father was one of the Schumms who immigrated to America in 1833. I am not related by blood to Elisabeth (Ehrenmann) Schumm but her husband was my first cousin three times removed.







Jacob Muller Sails to America

The Bremen (1858). Jacob Muller sailed to America on this ship. Original painting in Focke-Museum, Bremen, used by permission from Focke-Museum.

Last week I detailed how I found Jacob Muller’s immigration information in the Germans to America index at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne. That index showed that Jacob traveled on the ship Bremen and arrived in New York on 15 June 1871.

With that information I headed to the library’s microfilm cabinets to look through the passenger lists of immigrants arriving in New York.  Once I knew the ship’s arrival date it did not take long to find the images of the Bremen’s passenger list.

There it was, on roll M237_344: The Manifest List of all passengers taken on board the Bremen, Captain W. Ladewig, Master. It was exciting to see Jacob’s name on the ship’s list. He was 28 years old and his occupation was a farmer. He was from Germany and was traveling to the U.S.

Jacob Muller on Bremen manifest.

Jacob boarded the ship Bremen and sailed from the port of Bremen, Germany, on 31 May 1871. From Bremen they sailed to Southampton, England, and departed from there on 3 June. They docked at the port of New York on 15 June 1871. The voyage took 16 days.

It was not an easy way to travel. Many immigrants had to sell their property and most of their possessions to pay for the voyage to the new land. They put the few possessions they had in a large wooden box, which was their traveling trunk. Most of the German emigrants traveled in steerage and so did Jacob Muller. Their quarters were in the lowest levels of the ship where it was very crowded. There were no facilities down there either.  Many passengers were overcome with seasickness during the voyage. Passengers were allowed to go up on deck for fresh air if the weather was nice.

The Bremen was a steamship built by Caird & Company of Scotland. It was owned by Norddeutscher Lloyd and was the first of five passenger steamships with the name Bremen. It was constructed of iron, weighed about 2,550 tons and was 321′ x 39′. It had a clipper stem, one funnel, and 3 masts rigged for sail. It could travel at a speed of 10-11 knots. The Bremen could accommodate 160 passengers in first class, 110 passengers in second class, 400 passengers in steerage, and a crew of between 102 and 118. The ship had a freight capacity of 1,000 tons.

The Bremen was launched on 1 February 1858. The ship’s maiden voyage was from Bremen to New York on 19 June 1858. The ship carried 115 passengers and 150 tons of freight. The Bremen’s last voyage was 5 November 1873 from Bremen to New York via Southampton.

Some voyages of the Bremen:

1.  Captain Meyer, 336 passengers and merchandise, sailed from Bremen to New York via Southampton on 22 November 1863, left Southampton on 25 November, and arrived at New York on 10 December 1863. Captain Meyer.

2.  Captain Meyer, 702 passengers and merchandise, sailed from Bremen to New York via Southampton on 18 November 1865, left Southampton on 22 November, arrived at New York on 6 December 1865. It was “a very boisterous passage.”

3.  Captain Ladewig, sailed from Bremen to New York via Southampton on 31 May 1871, left Southampton on 3 June, arrived at New York on 15 June, 1871.

Ship Bremen's Manifest. Arrived in New York 15 June 1871.

In 1874 the Bremen was sold to E. Bates & Co. of Liverpool and was converted to a sail ship. On 16 October 1882 the ship was carrying a cargo of coal and whiskey when it ran ashore on the Farallon Islands. It wrecked under the light house in a dense fog 27 miles from San Francisco. The cargo of coal and whiskey was insured but the ship was not.  Small craft waited for the cargo of whiskey to float to the surface, but it never did. In 1929 some proposed trying to raise the whiskey but the US government prevented it. (sources of Bremen ship information: Palmer List of Merchant Vessels website and  North Atlantic Seaway, by N.R.P. Bonsor, 1978, Vol. 2: 544)

Thanks to the Focke Museum in Bremen, Germany, for giving me permission to post a copy of the oil painting of the Bremen. It was painted and signed by Fritz Müller, 1858, and is in their museum. The Palmer List of Merchant Vessels website shows a couple more paintings of the ship Bremen (1858).

Because of digitization, indexing  and the Internet we can now view Jacob Muller’s name on the Bremen’s passenger list on, although I believe the immigration collection is a paid subscription on their website. Their immigration collection is very good and it is nice to be able to search their indexes and images from home.

Jacob Muller may have been traveling with Christian Kessler since they are listed next to each other on the passenger list. Ancestry’s index shows his name as Christian Kepler. The double “s” was written in the old style and could look like a “p” if you didn’t know the surname. Christian was also from Bierbach.

More questions arise:  Was Christian Kessler related to Jacob? Was this the same Christian Kessler that had already settled in Liberty Township several years before? Perhaps Christian sailed back to Germany and brought Jacob back to America with him? Hopefully some day I will figure it all out.

Tombstone Tuesday–Barbara A. Schinnerer

Tombstone of Barbara A. Schinnerer, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio.

This is the tombstone of Barbara A. Schinnerer, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The tombstone is inscribed Hier Ruhe Barbara A. Tochter von F. und E. Schinnerer, Gest. Den 14 Marz 1897, Alter 33 y, 11m, 20t. The translation: Here rests Barbara A., Daughter of F. and E. Schinnerer, Died on 14 March 1897, age 33 years, 11 months, 20 days. Schinnerer is inscribed in large letters at the base of the monument.

Catharina Elisabeth “Barbara” Schinnerer was the first child born to Frederick and Elisabeth (Schumm) Schinnerer. According to the church records she was born 24 March 1863 in Dublin Township, Mercer County, Ohio. She was baptized at home on 29 March 1863. Sponsors at her baptism were Catharina Schumm, Mrs. Elisabeth Bienz, and Mrs. Barbara Büchner. (source: Church records, Zion Lutheran Schumm, Book 1:61) “Barbara Anna” Schinnerer died of epilepsy on 14 March 1897 and was buried on the 16th, aged about 34 years. Her burial text was Psalm 16:6. (source: Church records, Zion Lutheran Schumm, Book 3:238) Barbara never married.

The death notice of Barbara Schinnerer was combined with that of Magdalena (Meier) Schumm :

Mrs. Fred Schinnerer [sic; should be Schumm] an aged and most estimable lady was interred in the Schumm cemetery Thursday. She leaves a large circle of friends, relatives and a devoted family of grown children to mourn her absence from the fireside. Especially is this true in the case of Miss Barbara, who has been her constant attendant.

Died, March 14, 1897, Miss Barbara, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Shinnerer (sic) aged 34 years.  She had been an invalid from her second year and while the ever loving, patient mother, the kind father and the sisters and brother sorely miss her, they should rejoice that the frail body is at rest.

“It must be true that far away
The spirit into new life springs,
That somewhere in a boundless clime,
Beyond the misty shores of time
We’ll reach the golden gates of peace,
And weary hand will somewhere rest.” 

Mrs. Lizzie Scaer, Mr.[sic] Hoffman and Mrs. Hannah Scaer, of Monroeville, Ind., were here this week attending the funeral of their sister, Barbara, and visiting with their father, Fred Shinnerer, who is very sick.    (source: Van Wert Times Bulletin, 19 March 1897)

Magdalena Schumm died the day after Barbara passed away and their death records are on the same page in the Schumm church records. Magdalena was the wife of Frederick Schumm, who was the son of John Georg Schumm. Frederick Schumm immigrated to America in 1833 with his father and four siblings.

Barbara Schinnerer was enumerated in only two censuses. In 1870 the Frederick Schinnerer family was still living in Dublin Township, Mercer County, Ohio, with a Shane’s Crossing address. Their name was spelled “Shiner” in that census. The family consisted of 8 children and Lewis Schumm, 19, my great-grandfather! Lewis was my grandpa Schumm’s father and his occupation in that census was “farm laborer”. He was probably working for Fred Schinnerer. Frederick and Elizabeth Schinnerer’s youngest child at that time was Elizabeth, aged 1 month. Elizabeth was my grandma Schumm’s mother. Interesting.

By 1880 the Frederick Schinnerer family had moved his family and they were living in Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio. His daughter Barbara was 17 years old and she and her mother were both listed as maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled.

Barbara Anna Schinnerer (1863-1897) d/o Frederick & Elizabeth (Schumm) Schinnerer.

I received this photo of Barbara Schinnerer from the late Mildred (Schumm) Franz. My mother and I visited Mildred at her home in Decatur, Indiana, in 1999 and Mildred copied a number of photos from an old photo album that she had. Mildred was my second cousin once and twice removed and my third cousin once removed. Barbara was my great-grand aunt and my first cousin twice removed.




Thank You, Jacob Miller!

Jacob Miller (1843-1918) Photo c1900

Nearly two decades ago, when I first seriously started researching my family history, I wanted to find immigration information about my great-grandfather Jacob Miller. On what ship did he travel? When and where did he arrive? I knew he immigrated sometime in the last half of the 19th century but I didn’t know the exact details.

Today many original records and indexes are available on the Internet and we can do a lot (but not all) of our research without ever leaving our home. But back in the early 1990s genealogy research on the World Wide Web was basically nonexistent. The Internet was just in its infancy. Back then I researched the old-fashioned way–by going to a library and looking through indexes, volumes of books, and reels of microfilm.

I knew a few details about Jacob Miller. I knew that he was born in 1843 and that he came from the town of Bierbach in Germany, which was actually the Kingdom of Bavaria at that time. These things I learned from our church records. I knew his mother’s maiden name was Marie Kessler and I knew from his naturalization records that he immigrated in about 1871.

With that information, I headed off to the best genealogy library around, the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I was all set to search through many volumes of passenger indexes which hopefully would lead me to the drawers of passenger lists on microfilm.

At the library I found a set of Germans to America, edited by Glazier and Filby. This multi-volume set of books (now up to Volume 60) contains an index of passengers arriving at US ports during various years. The books contain lists of names, ages, occupations, sometimes places of origin, and destinations for many German immigrants. It also lists the ship name, port, and the date of the passenger ship list. I zeroed in on Volume 25, 2 Jan 1871-30 Sep 1871.

My first challenge was to consider the possible spelling variations of the Miller surname. How did Jacob spell his name when he immigrated? Was it Mueller, Muller, or Miller? I would have to search through them all.

In addition, Miller is a very common surname. According to several Internet sources, Miller is the most common surname in Germany and the 6th most common surname in the United States! Having a less common surname is usually an advantage in genealogy. Finding immigration information about my Schinnerers or Pflügers shirley would have a lot been easier.

If those two things weren’t enough of a problem, the name Jacob was a very common given name. Jacob Mueller. Do you realize how many Jacob Mueller/Muller/Millers immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s? I can only tell you that the Jacob Muellers were leaving the Germanic Kingdoms in droves back then! How was I ever going to find my great-grandfather in an index? Would I ever learn where and when he arrived in America and on what ship he traveled?

I got real lucky. As I mentioned before, each volume lists passenger information that may include the province or country of origin, village of origin and destination. The column for that information was in code and the code for the village of origin for most of the immigrants was ZZZZ, which meant that the city or village of origin was unknown. But behind Jacob Mueller’s name was the code AAMB. According to the book’s key AAMB was the code for Bierbach! My great-grandfather, my very thoughtful and wise-beyond-his-years great-grandfather, told someone during his immigration process that he was from Bierbach. That tiny bit of information set him apart from all the other Jacob Muellers that immigrated in 1871.

The name of this little German town enabled me to find the information I was looking for. From Volume 25, page 235 I learned that Jacob Mueller left from the port of Bremen and later Southampton on the ship Bremen and arrived in New York on 15 June 1871. He was 28 years old, male, a farmer, from Bierbach, and his destination was Indiana. It all fit in with what I knew.

Germans to America, Vol. 25:235

Jacob may not have been traveling alone on his voyage to America. Next to him on the passenger list was Christian Kessler, 25, a farmer from Bierbach, destination was also Indiana. Jacob’s mother was a Kessler and Jacob’s uncle, Christian Kessler had been living in Mercer County for about 20 years already. I’m not sure who this young traveling Christian Kessler was, but I bet that he and Jacob were related in some way.

I found a copy of the Bremen’s passenger list that same day at the library and saw Jacob Mueller’s name written on it. That was exciting.

Perhaps Jacob Miller somehow sensed that one day his great-granddaughter would search for his name on a passenger list. So he decided to make it a little easier for her by detailing some vital information along the way.

Dankeschon, Jacob Mueller!