Monday, March 12, 2012

Mystery Monday - Finding Minnie Salefski Kurtz's Brother

Do you know how many people lived in Wisconsin in 1920?  2.6 million people.

My only lead to find Minnie Kurtz's brother was from her obituary which stated she had "a brother in Wisconsin".  No first name, no town name and at this time, I didn't even have Minnie's maiden name.

Chances of finding her

The other day, I was given a clue by a distant relative that they believed that Minnie Kurtz's maiden name "Salefski".

Ok.  It wasn't much, but it was a start.  

Chance of finding her brother.....greater than zero, but not by much.

I did a search on to see if I could find any "Salefski's" in Wisconsin.  There appeared to be an army of Salefski's in Illinois, but I only found what appeared to be one family in Wisconsin.

Could this be the one...and if so, how do I prove it?

I found a couple who appeared to be the first of the Wisconsin Salefski's, August and Charlotte Salefski.     I found an existing family tree for the Salefski's.  It appeared that August Salefski was born about 1854 in Germany.  He and Charlotte had three children:  Mary, Frederick and Edward.   According to the family tree each of these children were born in Pennsylvania.  

Ok.  Coincidence?

One thing I love about is that you can contact other users to ask them about their family trees and share information.
So I did.
I sent an email to the most complete Salefski family tree in Wisconsin I could find and waited.
I was contacted by Bruce Beyerlein that same day.  He was unaware of August Salefski having any Pennsylvania or anywhere else.  However, he was able to confirm that August and Charlotte's children were born in Trotter, PA in Fayette County.   Trotter is very close to where Minnie Salefski Kurtz lived in Connellsville, PA.

What was great, was Bruce started some research on his Salefski side of the family to see what he could find.    

August, Charlotte and Augusta Passenger List
Shortly, he was able to find August and Charlotte's arrival at Ellis Island.  They arrived on Nov 9 1883. Their destination once they landed in the US was Connellsville, PA.  The same town his sister was living in.  August and Minnie Kurtz arrived in the US in 1881.  So they were probably on their way to live by his sister.

One other benefit from Bruce's research was that he found a previously unknown child of August and Charlotte Salefski.  Their daughter Augusta who was born in Germany, who came with them to the US.  As it turns out she moved to Wisconsin and married Ferdinand Koehler about 1900.  

August Salefski died in Hamburg, Wisconsin on August 1, 1934.

Not much question, August Salefski is Minnie's brother.  

Never one to leave any stone unturned, I have requested some early church records that should provide some additional detail about August and Charlotte and their children while they lived in Fayette County.

Very Thankful the help that Bruce has given me.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  I continue to be impressed by the assistance fellow researchers so freely give me in my family odyssey.

Should be some updates coming....

1 comment:

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