I have a lot of family history pictures that originally belonged to my great aunt Grace (Waege) Larson. Just the other day I realized that out of all these pictures, the pictures I have of my Great Grandmother Ida (Brockhaus) Waege are the only pictures I own that do a really nice job of spanning an ancestor’s entire lifetime.
These are two of my favorites from my collection of family pictures. The first picture was taken on the porch of the Brockhaus family farm nearl Campbellsport, Wisconsin in about 1913. Seated from left to right in the back row are my Great Great Grandparents William and Pauline Brockhaus, their son-in-law Oscar Schwinge and their daughter Hilda. In front are my great aunt Grace Waege, my Great Grandmother Ida, my grandmother Alice (Waege) Rathkamp and Emil Brockhaus. I’m pretty sure my Great Grandfather, Bill Waege took this picture. I’m not sure exactly why this is a favorite of mine, but I could spend hours looking at it.
The next picture includes Pauline and her son Emil Brockhaus. I still haven’t identified the little girl or the woman, but I assume they are Emil’s daughter and wife. The body language in this picture needs no translation. I have very little information on Emil, but I do know he died in 1946 and is buried next to his parents in the Hustisford Cemetery. In the 1920 census, Emil shows up twice. First as a farm hand in Oak Grove, Wisconsin and next living with his parents in Hustisford, Wisconsin. Both entries list him being divorced. Go figure.
If I am the trunk of my genealogical tree, Olive Hassell is the closest branch with the most mystery surrounding it. Olive is my paternal great grandmother, married to William J. Rathkamp. I know almost nothing specific about her other than her date of death. I know she was born in Sweden (my only non-German ancestor) in or about 1886. I know that when her family came to the United States, they lived in Michigan. I’m fairly certain, based on the 1900 US Census and the 1905 Wisconsin census, that her father was Charles Hassell and that they lived in Iron
Mountain. After all, how many “Olive Hassells” could there be in Michigan? There is nothing else I know of tying Olive to Charles. Charles’ first wife (Olive’s mother?) died in about 1890.
I’m pretty sure she married William Rathkamp sometime between 1906, the year his first wife Sophie Hartmann died, and 1909, the year my grandfather was born. That’s about it.
The lack of information seems to bring on a lot of questions. Who were her parents? When specifically did they arrive in America? I haven’t found any arrival information. Were she and William married in Wisconsin or Michigan? I searched the marriage index for Milwaukee County at the Golda Meier Library at UWM and found nothing. How and where did they meet? Did she move to Milwaukee alone or possibly with a sibling? What were the circumstances surrounding her early death at age 40?
One last note…
Many genealogists talk about the missing 1890 census. The lack of an 1890 census hasn’t really been that big of a deal for me, except in the case of Olive. With that census, I probably could confirm or deny her relationship to Charles and I would probably also know the identity of her mother. Bummer.
If anybody has any ideas or information, I’d appreciate hearing from you.