January 22, 2020

The Search Hits a Wall - Christian Friedrich and his father, Johann Elling

A quick trip back to the Elling family history...

In documents about Hans Friedrich Elling, discussed in an earlier post, his parents were mentioned: Christian Friedrich Elling and Anna Catharine Maria Brecht. Scattered among the parish records for Dushorn parish were records for the village of Tietlingen and that was where many of the earliest Elling records were found.

The written record of baptisms for Tietlingen began in 1700 and several Elling baptisms were within the first years, among them Christian Friedrich in 1706. His parents were Johann Elling and Margaretha Gronhagen/ Grunhagen. I have a copy of that record, but it really is dark and unreadable and not suitable for posting. However, it reads:

Christian Friedrich Elling
born 10 July 1706, baptized 11 July
Parents: Johann Elling and his wife Margretha Gronhagen
Witnesses: Hans Feitger.
(Dushorn Baptisms 1706, page 73.)

No marriage entries for Tietlingen were recorded before 1712 and in that very year Johann Elling married again - probably this was the same Johann, but we can not know for sure. If this is our Johann, his second wife was Dorothea Liesebeth Helberges, daughter of Harmen Helberges on 24 Nov 1712. (Dushorn Marriages, p. 95.) (See record above under Anno 1712, 2nd entry.)

Christian Friedrich had two siblings named:
Johann - born 11 Dec, 1700, baptized 17 Dec. Parents: Johann Elling, no mother given.
Hinrich - born 22 July 1703, baptized 27 July. Parents Johann Elling and his wife Margretha Gronhagen. Witnesses: Hans Meyer from Tiedteln. (Dushorn Baptisms,1700 and 1703, p. 73.)

Johann Elling and second wife, Dorothea Liesebeth Helberges, have children baptized up until 1732. In 1734 when Christian Friedrich married, Johann had already died. Burial records for Dushorn begin in 1777, so that death record was unavailable.

Christian Friedrich Elling married Anna Catharine Maria Brecht on 11 March 1734 (Dushorn Marriages 1734, p. 95.)

On 11 March were married Christian Friedr. Elling, son of the late Johann Elling and Anne Catharine Maria Brechten, Hans Michael Brecht's legitimate daughter.
(See record in image above under Anno 1734)

Christian Friedrich and Anne Catharine Maria Brecht had children:
1. Hans Friedrich (our ancestor - see previous post)

2. Henrich Friedrich - born 1 Feb 1738, baptized 7 Feb. Witnesses: Friedrich Elling at Hage-?,
Jurgen Buswickel (?) at Walsrode, Johann Heinrich Otten at Utzen.
(Dushorn Baptisms 1738, p. 75)

3. Johann Georg - born 26 March 1741, baptized 30 March. Witnesses: Joh. Luig. Elling held
the child during the baptism. (Dushorn Baptisms 1741, p. 75)

4. Anna Margaretha - born 4 Oct 1745, baptized 8 Oct. Witnesses: Dorothea Margaretha Olffer aus Utze, Anna Margaretha Elling aus Honerdingen?, Anna Meyer aus ?
(Dushorn Baptisms 1745, p. 75.)

5. Georg Christian - born 16 ? 1748, baptized 18 ?. Witnesses Johann Georg Smalstieg from ?,
Joh. P. Kuh from ?, Hans Jurgen Kienbostel from ?
(Dushorn Baptisms 1748, p. 75)

6. Hans Jacob - born 21 aug 1750, baptized 21 Aug. Witnesses: Jacob Holtmann held the child
during baptism.
(Dushorn Baptisms 1750, p. 75)

7. Johann Heinrich - born 3 Dec 1754, bapt. 10 Dec. Witnesses: Heinr. Sals..., Carsten Juck from Oepke and David Meier, teacher at Vorbrugge near Walsrode.
(Dushorn Baptisms, 1754, p. 76)

Sometimes the records for Tietlingen show up in the Fallingbostel records, so it was really a search to find family documents. Tax and census records around 1700 could give us more information. The issue becomes the poor condition of the records and their readability.

I think it was interesting that the Elling family stayed in the village of Tietlingen at least from 1706 until probably after 1859 - over 150 years. Our ancestor immigrated in 1859, but he probably left behind family in Tietlingen. In fact, one correspondent talked about Elling family members there during his childhood, probably in the 1930's and 40's. I guess that is why I would really like to make a visit there someday. I have been sent photos, but it's just not the same as standing in that church where many of these baptisms and marriages and maybe even funerals took place. It's on my list.

January 20, 2020

William David Hollabaugh - Post #2

An addition to a previous blog post on William David Hollabaugh, the great-uncle of my husband, born in Gettysburg, PA and died in Nebraska.

From the Nebraska Daily News Press, Sunday, March 19, 1933, p. 2 -


President Lincoln, because he looked perfectly human, was a disappointment to one Pennsylvania young man. 

'You'd think he'd look sort of different,' this young man thought.  'Being president and all that he should be rather distinguished, very out of the ordinary.'

But here was Lincoln, in a grey suit and looking quite homely, very thin, and not nearly as pompous as his high position entitled him to, standing on a crude platform in Soldiers Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pa., delivering the now famous 'Four score and seven years ago.'

W. D. Hollabaugh, 16 years old, was very disappointed.  He squinted his eyes at the president, wrinkled his nose, pressed closer to the speaker's platform, and today he can't even recall whether he shook Lincoln's hand, but he supposed he did.

Mr. Hollabaugh, now 86 years old, living at 518 South Eighth street, recalls that incident with amusement.  He was so excited because the president was coming to Gettysburg and he would get to see the great man of the nation - and then, he only looked like another man, not even as good looking as his neighbors.

Soldiers Cemetery, Gettysburg
 Hollabaugh is probably one of the first men to conduct a tree-sitting marathon.  He shinned up a tree when the Battle of Gettysburg led off with the first gun and he stayed there in his ringside seat, watched the three day battle, came down only for food and sleep.  

From his treetop observatory, he saw men fall mortally wounded, he heard the agonizing scream of wounded horses, he saw close combat and far range firing, he saw lines of men advance and retreat.

The Confederates arrived on the outskirts of Gettysburg on June 28, 1863, and they threw up entrenchments on what was known as Cemetery Ridge.  All around them were rocky hills soon destined to be scenes of horrible fighting.  There was Baltimore Pike, stronghold of the Union Army, Culp Hill, Wolf Hill and Round Top.  

Gettysburg citizens were all excited over the proximity of the warring armies.  They did not have to wait long for the fanfare of guns.  With the first boom of the real battle, Hollabaugh was out of the house and ensconced in a tree, at a safe distance from the battle, you may be sure.

He saw the Confederate strongholds fall one by one.  Cannon balls and bullets went zipping through the air and soon Round Top was barren of trees.  All the paths of that hill and the familiar woods were blown up.  At the foot of Round Top were two huge stones standing close together.  Seven men were found dead in the crevice the rocks formed.

Culp Hill was covered with cannon balls.  Hollabaugh had always remembered it as the best place in the country to get raspberries, blackberries, sugarberries and red haws.  The Sherfey peach orchard was cut down as clean as any woodcutters could do the job and the Hollabaughs had no peaches that fall.  The orchard belonged to an uncle of Emory Sherfey, living on north Tenth street.

'I saw a horse race that would excel any track champion demonstration,' Mr. Hollabaugh tells.  'About half a mile from where I sat, a Confederate and a Union soldier, both on horseback, came within sight of each other.  They pulled their guns and spurred their horses.  The shooting began and the horses skimmed over the ground.  After a couple rounds of shot, they were far apart and I don't believe either was hurt.'

An unsolved mystery came into the Hollabaugh family during the battle of Minnie Run.  A brother-in-law of W. D. Hollabaugh was in the battle.  He fell wounded and his brother, another soldier, ran over to him, propped him against a tree and returned to the ranks.  The brother-in-law was never seen again.

'Confederate soldiers did a great deal of pillaging.  Anything they wanted in the way of supplies they took,' the narrator tells.  'They appropriated horses, grain, food.'  One day an uncle of Mr Hollabaugh's refused to tell where he had hidden his horses.  A rope with a noose on one end was thrown over a tree limb and he was asked: 'Now, can you remember where they are?  We'll hang you if you don't tell.'

'That limb isn't strong enough to hold my weight,' was the repl and the soldiers set him free.

A face to face encounter Hollabaugh had with the Confederates came very unexpectedly one day as he and his two brothers were on their way to the hills carrying feed for the hidden horses.  Seven Confederates hailed them with: 
'Where are you going, boys?'
'Oh, nowhere.'
'You better take us where your horses are.'
'All right,' the boys bargained, 'we'll take you there if you let us ride your horses.'
Mr. Hollabaugh still regrets the soldiers went on and he didn't have a chance to ride off to safety on an enemy's horse.

The bloodshed did not end with the war, he says.  Bullets picked up off the fields were kept as souvenirs and it was not an infrequent accident to have a bullet suddenly explode and kill someone.  The lost brother-in-law and a bullet through the Hollabaugh house were the only war tragedies for that family.

The next excitement was the visit of the president of the United States.  It was a gala day and everyone turned out for the occasion.  As near as Mr. Hollabaugh can figure, the platform from which Lincoln delivered his famed Gettysburg address was built over a plot of ground in which his parents are now buried in Soldiers Cemetery."


 The obituary of William David Hollabaugh, as it 
appeared in the Nebraska Daily News-Press, Sunday, January 5, 1936, p. 2.

Pioneer Farmer Drops Dead in Post Office.

William David Hollabaugh, 88, who, as a youth, watched the Battle of Gettysburg from a point of vantage in a tree, and a few months later, heard President Abraham Lincoln speak his immortal words at Gettysburg, dropped dead in Nebraska City Saturday morning.

Mr. Hollabaugh died in the post office, a building which he helped to build.  His heart failed him.  Mr. Hollabaugh had not been ill before his sudden death came.

Born in Gettysburg, Pa., July 24, 1847, he lived there as a boy until after the Civil War.  He was married April 10, 1873, to Margaret Jane Furnish at Spencerville, Ind., then he came to Nebraska.

Mr. Hollabaugh worked as a skilled carpenter on the Nebraska City Post Office when it was erected in 1886-1888.  For years he was a farmer southwest of Nebraska City.

Mr. Hollabaugh is survived by six children: W.E. and J.A. of Nebraska City; H.E. Hollabaugh of Overbrook, Kas.' Mrs. Mabel McWilliams, Mrs. Lulu Dwyer and Mrs. Emil Niemann, of Nebraska City.  Two sisters, Mary Hennigh, Carlisle, Pa., and Anna Pensyl, Sibley, Iowa, and two brothers, J. B. Hollabaugh, Biglerville, Pa., and Levi Hollabaugh, St. Joseph, Indiana, also survive.  Mrs. Hollabaugh died July 17, 1934, in Nebraska City.  Mr. Hollabaugh was a member of the Presbyterian Church.

Funeral services will be held at 2 o'clock Monday afternoon at the Karstens-Patterson chapel with Dr. Harry Markley in charge.  Burial will be at the Wyuka cemetery.  Pallbearers will be R.C. Jones, Frank Fields, Charles Lare, Sr., George Lathrop, Frank Sim and Dan Hill.  Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Hollabaugh of Overbrook, Kas., will be here from out-of-town for the funeral.


January 8, 2020

The Hollabaugh Brothers - A Brick Wall Broken!

Thanks to my researching cohort, Mary Diehl, for solving this family mystery.  It has always been wondered why three of the four Hollabaugh brothers headed west, specifically to Spencerville, Indiana.  (The youngest and fourth brother, Jacob, stayed home with his mother on the family farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.)

William, George and David Hollabaugh left home after the Civil War and headed to Indiana, where it an uncle, George Bittinger (1810-1881) had gone much early, prior to 1850.  George Bittinger was the brother to the boys' mother, Elizabeth Bittinger Hollabaugh.  In the 1850 census, Uncle George Bittinger and his family lived in Spencerville, Concord Township, Indiana.

Uncle George and his wife, Margaret Rudisall Bittinger, had five children, all of whom worked and lived in the surrounding areas around Spencerville, some of them quite prominent.  Uncle George, himself, ran the lumber mill in Spencerville.
So it seemed logical that the three Gettysburg nephews headed for Indiana, either because they were promised jobs or thought they could get jobs with their uncle or one of the cousins.
Image result for lumber mill Spencerville IN
 George Washington Hollabaugh and William Levi Hollabaugh both found wives there and settled in for the rest of their lives.  David William married there, but then headed out to Nebraska City where he became very successful, as well.

So, it was the lure of a job with uncle and cousins, and perhaps an escape from the remnants of war, that brought the Hollabaughs to Spencerville, Indiana.

William Levi Hollabaugh was the great-grandfather of James Kline.

December 17, 2019

"Bird Lady of Napoleon" - Spoering Cousin, Pauline

Image result for opaline parakeet

Pauline Maria Wilhelmina Helmke was the daughter
of George J. Helmke and my paternal grandmother's
sister, Anna Spoering Helmke.   I remembered
my father talking about his cousin, Pauline, but
I never imagined the celebrity she was in
the world of birds.  

An article by Karen Arnos in the May 24, 1982, newspaper, The Marketeer recently caught my 
eye while researching the Spoering family. What
a well-known breeder and seller of parakeets Pauline was!  

by Karen Arnos
Marketeer Staff Writer

NAPOLEON -Lots of people have a parakeet as a pet, or maybe even two.  But you'd have to be a real bird lover to keep as many as 500 pairs at one time. 
Pauline Polker is a real bird lover.

Today, Mrs. Polker has about 200 breeders plus about 60 young birds, 'but if you think that's a lot, I used to have 500 pairs,' she says.

It all began more than 30 years ago.  'I started with one bird.  Then I bought a female.  After my mother died in 1956, I started raising more to have something to do.  'I just love birds.'

Mrs. Polker, who lives with her husband, Harry, at 403 E. Washington St., raises the parakeets from babies and sells them retail and in pet shops as far away as New York.

Seven years ago, her grandson took over the business which she operates in a small building behind her home.  But when he decided to go into the ministry four years ago, Mrs. Polker returned to her first love.  

 However, the time has come for her to part with the business again - this time for good.  Her husband has asthma, she explains, and has been advised by his doctor to move to a warmer climate during the winter.  Since her parakeets cannot move with her every year,  Mrs. Polker, 69, has decided to sell the business.  'Otherwise, you couldn't beg, borrow or steal them from me.'

Image result for baby parakeets 

Mrs. Polker hopes to sell the operation as a unit, including about 200 breeders, 56 breeding cages, six flight cages, toys, other equipment and her own special seed and breeding formulas.  The young birds are still available for sale individually, of course.

Mrs.Polker's parakeets are not just the ordinary variety, either.  Along with normals, which are green or blue and have bars up their backs and on their heads, she also has Pieds (variegated colors with a square patch on their heads, coloring at the top, and white or yellow flight feathers); Harlequins (coloring at the bottom and no patch); Selfs (grey or same color wings); Albinos (white with pink eyes); Lutinos (yellow with pink eyes); Opalines (any color with a V on their backs instead of bars); and Fallows (colored with pink eyes). 
Except for normals, the other varieties are relatively rare, she says, noting that her first bird was a blue normal.

Mrs. Polker, who volunteers to teach ceramics at
the Henry County Senior Center, says it takes about
45 minutes once a day to feed and water the birds.
Cages are cleaned once a week, which takes about
two hours
Mrs. Polker explains that female parakeets lay an egg every other day.  It takes 17 days for an egg to hatch and five to six weeks for the baby birds, which resemble miniature young turkeys, to leave the nest.  After they are six weeks old, the birds are available for sale, and after nine months, Mrs. Polker begins breeding them.

The parakeets are kept in special cages which 
she made herself.  Old fashioned large bread pans
are used for the bottom of the cages and can be
slid in and out instead of using a small door,
making feeding easier.  She also made all of the
ceramic dishes.

Mrs. Polker, who volunteers to teach ceramics at
the Henry County Senior Center, says it takes about
45 minutes once a day to feed and water the birds.
Cages are cleaned once a week, which takes about
two hours

At her peak, Mrs. Polker shipped 150-200 birds
a week.  And during the past 30 years, she 
estimates she has probably raised 'millions' of
parakeets.  Of course, 'you have to love them to 
raise them,' she warns.
 'And I get so attached to them that it's hard to put them in boxes and send them away.'  

Although, she now considers parakeet raising her hobby, it was once the family's livelihood.  'When I started, there were at least 10 breeders in this area.  I guess I just stuck to it longer than anyone.  Now I'm the only one around.'

But her business is still booming.  People come from as far away as Kentucky and Pennsylvania to buy her special brand of seed, and birds have been shipped as far away as California.  

Her son, Raymond, who lives in Grand Rapids, also raises and sells normal and fancy parakeets and cockatiels and now has 900 pairs.  The Polkers have three other children and 15 grandchildren, many of whom keep parakeets as pets.

'Birds are good company, especially for older people,' says Mrs. Polker, who has won ribbons for her birds from the Toledo Aviculture Society, along with a state trophy.  'They give you something to talk to.  You can watch tv or listen to the radio, but you can't talk to them, and you need something that will respond.

If the birds are purchased as babies and the owner begins playing with them right away, they can easily be taught to talk, she explains.  In fact, many of them even pick up accents.

'But a lot of people think you can bring them home, set them in a corner and expect them to talk.  it doesn't work that way.  I can't guarantee a bird will talk unless you are willing to talk to it and play with it.'"

Pauline, born in 1913, passed away in January, 2016.  She is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Napoleon.



December 16, 2019

A ChristmasToast

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Eins! Zwei! Drei! — G’suffa!

I can remember that toast being sung at so many German dances and weddings in my youth. I never did know what it meant; in fact, as a child I couldn't figure out why everyone was singing, "I'm frozen, I'm frozen!" I also knew that you had to have something in your hand to drink when the "Gesundheit" part came at the end.

Finally, after all these years, I can rest knowing that this song can correctly be translated to:
"A toast, a toast
A feeling of good times, comfort and peace" (no exact translation to English for this word)
"One, two, three - Guzzle!"
A toast to all our family, wishing everyone a Christmas filled with good times, comfort and peace!

*This post originally appeared on Elling Family News on December 23, 2008.

Albert Elling's Baptismal Certificate

Thanks so much to the beautiful aunt (You know who you are!) who shared this  with me - the baptismal certificate of my grandfather, Albert Elling.  

The first Bible verse above the handwriting reads:

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ." Corinthians 3:11.

Translation of the handwriting:

Albert Louis Johann born on 28 January 1888 in Henry County, Ohio
Son of Fritz Elling and Maria born Rohrs
On 28 February, 1888 at the house of the parents.

Printed banner - In the name of the Triune God (could not read right side)
Witnessing the Christening were

L. Bockelman, H. Miller
C. Bostelman, H. Meyer
Johann Harms
L. Damman, Pastor  (Louis) 

I'm sure the photos are very significant, although very hard to see in this copy, even with a magnifying glass.  The top has the ship sailing toward the light around the church.  On the left is Jesus with the lambs, a chick with her hens, and an angel pouring the living water over a child.

On the right side is Christ on the cross with lilies suggesting his Resurrection, a duck with its ducklings and finally the tree in the Garden of Evil with the snake and the skull.  Some passages are just too blurry to read, but I'm sure they all have a connection to baptism.

What a treasure! 

Albert and Ida Spoering Elling - Confirmation Certificates

It was interesting to know that my grandparents were confirmed in the same church - St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bartlow and Richfield Townships, Henry County, Ohio, just two years apart.  The name of the church was later changed - keep reading!

The elaborate, colorful certificate marked the confirmation of Albert Elling.  Surprisingly, this paper noted his birthday as 1887, while his baptismal certificate said 1888, which would be correct.  Albert was 14 years old when this
remembrance of his confirmation was presented to him.

The red printing could not be read, but the handwriting said this:

Albert Elling born on the 28th January 1887, 
confirmed on 23rd March 1902,
in the evangelical Lutheran St. John's church of
Bartlow and Richfield Township, Henry County, Ohio
John Boomgarder, Pastor  

The same certificate style was used a few years later for Ida Spoering's confirmation.
 Ida Sporing (Spoering) born 5th February 1890, 
confirmed on the 27th day of March
in the evangelical Lutheran St. John's church 
of Bartlow and Richfield townships, Henry County, Ohio
Boomgarder, Pastor

Again, a look at the symbolism on the certificate is worthwhile.  In the top right is the communion cup, carried by the angels to the feast.  A large sidebar on the left shows a pastor confirming three children who kneel at the altar.  A vine travels up the side of the page and leads us to the Lord's Supper at the bottom.  Poppies for remembrance, perhaps, and in the right hand corner I see a chalice with the risen Lord above it.  Maybe you see something different?  Please add in the comments.

**This church is now known as Peace Lutheran Church near Deshler.  In the graveyard near this church, the last child, an infant daughter, of Albert and Ida was buried.  She was stillborn, it was said, and she was unnamed.  Ida was 42 at this child's birth.