Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Minnie Kurtz Ratofsky/Retkofsky

Minnie and August Kurtz are the first members of the Kurtz family to come to the US from Germany.  They were married in Germany in approx 1874.  It isn't clear if they made the trip across the Atlantic together of if August came first and Minnie came a year or two later.  According to naturalization records, August Kurtz arrived in 1882.

Minnie and August had 10 children born in the US***updated****According to the 1910 Census, Minnie gave birth to 15 children, only 10 of which were living in 1910.  It is surprising that the first 8 years of their marriage didn't result in any children.  It is possible they did have a child or several when living in Germany, but for some reason the children either didn't come to the US or they fell victim to some diseases.  ***updated***August and Minnie did have two children born in Germany prior to their arrival to the US that survived and accompanied them to Pennsylvania - Mary and Julius Henry Kurtz.   This may have been a contributing factor to why Minnie and August deciding to leave Germany.

Minnie and August's life together in the US was fairly short.  August died in some sort of accident while working on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in ***updated***April 1903.  August was only 55 when he died.

You can imagine the situation that Minnie found herself.  10 or more children, no husband and no visible way to support herself.  It is no wonder that she remarried.  She married Carl Ratofsky/Retkofsky in 1905.  Carl had recently become a widower himself when his wife died in 1902.  Carl had 6 kids of his own.

Carl Ratofsky/Retkofsky and his wife Elenore were married in Germany.  There is some family history that suggests that Elenore and Minnie may have been sisters and that the families knew each other in Germany.  There have been no documents that support this and I haven't been able to track the Kurtz family back to where in Germany that they lived.

Here is Minnie's obituary from her death March 3, 1917.

If you have any information on the Kurtz family from western Pennsylvania or have any suggestion on how to track down their German origins, please feel free to share any information or ideas you might have.***updated**** I have uncovered the German origins of August and Minnie Kurtz.  She this post for how I uncovered their origins.

Some interesting leads which I haven't been able to find any additional information are relating to Minnie's sister, Mrs. Mary Combs of Phillips (a coal patch town in Fayette County, PA) and her unnamed brother living in Wisconsin.  ***Updated*** I have not seen the records, but I have been told that the Lutheran Church in Connellsville, PA show that Minnie's maiden name was Salefski.

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