|Katharina Neumayer Vetter|
I decided to write about Katherine Vetter now for two reasons. First, so far I’ve written very little about any of my Vetter relatives, because I know so little about them. Katherine and her husband George were born in Germany and did not immigrate to the United States until 1883. Since I have yet to develop my research skills beyond the United States I do not have any documentation about their lives before they came to this country. Katherine died at 46 so she only lived in the US for 20 years. She appeared on the 1900 census living in Chicago but had died before the 1910 census. The 1890 census was destroyed in a 1921 fire. Census data provides valuable information for genealogists – not having these records means a dearth of information.
The second reason I’ve chosen to write about Katherine is that I recently “met” the great-granddaughter of one of Katherine’s daughters, Rosie Elizabeth Vetter – one of my grandmother’s four sisters. The great granddaughter’s husband Chris contacted me after seeing an article and photo I submitted to the California Genealogy Society. The photo depicts George Vetter in front of his liquor store in Chicago. Chris had heard the story about George owning a liquor store and my photograph proved the story to be true. Making connections with distant, unknown relatives is one of the great joys of doing family history research.
Chris provided a birth record showing Katherine was born on February 25, 1857 in Wattenheim, Frankenthal, Bayern, Germany. This location jibes with records from Gramma Pattillo. If you Google this place a link to the Family History Center in Utah comes up and this message: “This place has no commentary yet.” So, I cannot tell you anything about where Katherine was born. According to the same document, her parents were Guilelmi Neumayer and Maria Anna Hofmann. I know nothing more about her parents – will save that for a future post when I’ve completed more research.
The spelling of her maiden name is a real puzzle. So far I have found 7 different spellings on various documents. It is spelled:
Neimeyer on Emma's birth and death certificates.
Neumeier on Kate's birth record.
Neumeyer on Lizzie's death record.
Newmeyer on Kate's death certificate, Anna's birth, and in Anna's bible.
Newmayer on Anna's wedding record.
Newmeir on the Wallace Family Tree on Ancestry,
And Neumayer on Katharina's own birth certificate – so that is what I’ve chosen to use.
Katherine and George Vetter were married in 1883. The source for this date is the 1900 census which included a column for “number of years married”. The amount and type of information gathered during each census varies and reflects the trends of the time.
Katherine and George immigrated to the United States on July 25, 1883 shortly after they married. They travelled by ship departing from London and arriving in New York. The name of the ship was “France” owned by the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique. The France was in service from 1896 – 1915 when it was sunk by a submarine.
|New York passenger list for the "France" showing George Vetter, stonecutter and Catherine "wife" heading for Chicago|
The sixth child was another daughter named Augusta Elizabeth Vetter. Augusta was born May 13, 1884 in Chicago and died October 16, 1884, so she only lived five months. At the time Augusta was born the family was living at 500 S. Halstead Street in Ward 7 of Chicago. The cause of death listed on the death record was noted as convulsions. Augusta was buried in St. Bonifacius Cemetery which was consecrated in 1863, and according to their website was the first German catholic cemetery. Buried there are the “builders of the German catholic community” in Chicago. Augusta is also the middle name of another Vetter daughter – Mary, born in 1888 has Augusta as her middle name. This seems significant and suggests that Augusta is a family name. Hopefully, sometime in the future I’ll figure out the source of this name.
|Mary, Lizzie, Anna, Kate & Emma with their father George ca. 1903|
I believe Katherina died in 1903 because Gramma told us that her mother died when she was ten years old, but I do not have a death certificate or other document to prove the death date. My notes also state that she died from asthma, but I don’t have a source for that fact either. It seems likely that George would have buried her with her first born in the Bonifacius cemetery – something to follow up on. I don’t recall Gramma having said much about her mother, probably because she was so young when her mother died, so I have no personal information about her – what kind of person she was. The few photographs I have depict her with her hair always up and wearing somewhat severe clothing – typical of the Victorian era.
During her prime – from age 27 to her death – Katherine witnessed an era of great transportation innovation. The first motorcycle, automobile and airplane were invented during this period. She also experienced three major information technology milestones – the first musical record, Tesla’s invention of the radio, and the first movie being made.
Sources: Birth and death records for Katharine's daughters, New York passenger list, Google, stories from Gramma Pattillo, and other family trees on Ancestry.com