Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker

East Lincoln Highway (1912)
This photo shows East Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL in 1912 from Seventh Street looking West. Andrew Kaiser operated his tinning shop at 622 E. Lincoln Hwy at this time. In this photo, his shop was located in the building near the car parked on the left side of the road, in the two-story building with the large sign that says “Drugs.” (Image source: NIU Digital Archives, Ritzman photo collection.)

For over 30 years, the Kaiser family ran a successful sheet metal shop in DeKalb, IL. (I wrote about the later years of this shop in this earlier post!) Andrew Kaiser and his two youngest sons operated the shop, but the family’s history in tinsmithing didn’t start in DeKalb. The patriarch of the family, Andrew Kaiser, had been a tinner and metal worker for nearly his whole life, and his career lasted for over 50 years. His long career even includes some exciting surprises! Continue reading “Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker”

Where is Conrad August?

One of my genealogical mysteries is the brother of my great-grandfather George Weil. The brother’s name is Conrad August Weil, born in 1895 in Pittsburgh. He grew up with his siblings, attended Concordia Orphans’ Home (read more about this orphanage in this post), and then disappears. Here’s a timeline of everything that I know about his life: Continue reading “Where is Conrad August?”

Floyd, the youngest Kaiser brother

Kaiser_Floyd
Floyd Kaiser, about 1917. This may be his high school photo. (Image Source: Kaiser Family Photos)

My great-great-grandparents, Andrew Kaiser and Jennie Holbrook, had a large, blended family. Between the two of them, they had 18 children. This is the story of my great-great uncle Floyd, who was their youngest child, who also died when he was very young.

Andrew Kaiser and Jennie Holbrook were married on 22 July 1885. Both of them had been married previously, and had had children with their previous spouses. Andrew had eleven children with his previous wife, Elizabeth Wentsel. Four of these children died young, before Elizabeth’s death in 1884. Jennie had previously married Thomas Burke, and they had three children. She was granted a divorce from him in June of 1885. Although it’s not clear how Jennie and Andrew met, they lived in the same small town of Prophetstown in Whiteside County, Illinois. Thomas Burke was a druggist in town, and Andrew Kaiser was a tinner. Both businessmen may have known each other, and may have been in the same social circles. After losing their first spouses, both Andrew and Jennie found themselves as single parents, with at least several small children at home. Joining their households was likely a beneficial situation for them both. Continue reading “Floyd, the youngest Kaiser brother”

Mapping DeKalb County in 1905

1905_DeKalbCoMap_example
A snapshot of the map I created with historic maps and GIS. Click here to see the whole interactive map!

About one year ago, I shared a map that I had put together using a 1929 plat map. This summer, I’ve done it again! (Click here to see the whole interactive map!) This is a map from DeKalb County, Illinois in 1905. Like the previous map, I overlaid scanned, historical maps from a 1905 plat atlas onto a modern map. It’s amazing what you can discover if you look closely at these maps! Continue reading “Mapping DeKalb County in 1905”

A New Minister at Kingston Methodist Church, 1906

Kingston_1906_MethodistChurch_front A postcard of the Kingston Methodist Church, mailed in 1906.

I recently came across this postcard on eBay from 1906, showing the Kingston Methodist Church. It is a wonderful piece of local history! The Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) shows the parsonage on the right, and the church on the left. The Methodist Church is in its present-day location on First Street in Kingston. The building was originally built in 1861 near Pleasant Hill Farm, along Baseline Road on the southern edge of Kingston Township. It was moved to this location in 1875. The parsonage was built in 1878. Notice the dirt road, hitching posts, and narrow sidewalk! Today, the church has a basement and a new entrance, and the trees and hitching post has been replaced by paved street parking! The parsonage has also lost part of its covered porch, but otherwise looks very similar!

Continue reading “A New Minister at Kingston Methodist Church, 1906”