About a week after sending my letter to Harry Bingle the phone rang. A Betty from Carthage, NY called. When she informed me the Harry Bingle in the nursing home wasn’t the one I wanted, my heart plummeted. She told me the Harry I wanted had died in 1968. Then she told me the Harry I was looking for was her father and Catherine Sauer Meyer her great-grandmother. She went on to say it was just by luck the letter had reached her. Someone on staff knew her and had recognized I was inquiring about her family and had passed the letter on. Talk about serendipity.
She went on to tell me several of Johann Meyer’s descendants still lived in the area. Her family had kept in contact with the far flung offspring who’d left for Wisconsin but eventually had lost track of them. She was able to verify, the names I had for the girls, were correct. She promised to send me her Great- grandmother’s obituary which said the family had been from Strasburg, Alsace. And she offered to do more digging in the records in her area when she had time.
Not long afterwards a Mr. Seyforth from Milwaukee Wisconsin e-mailed me. He’d seen my query on Johann Meyer and thought we were looking at the same family. Several quick e-mails back and forth determined that we were indeed were and we each had information to share.
When I had begun my Meyer search both my Mother and Aunt Gert had mentioned that their parents occasionally made trips to Mondovi, Wisconsin to visit relatives. They weren’t sure who they were or which side of the family they belonged to. When my new contact mentioned his Seyforth family had farmed near Mondovi I knew they must be the relatives my grandparents had visited. My mother had also mentioned a Jessie Koch and a Trilling from Sheboygan as Meyer relatives who came to their family gatherings. How they were related she didn’t know.
Soon I got a packet of printed material my Seyforth contact. Someone in his family had compiled the family names birthdates at an earlier time and he included that along with his research. The papers gave the place of origin for the family as Alpheshiem, Niederetses, France and listed the name of Johann’s first wife as unknown. (Niederetses, I would later learn meant Alsace) Then it listed his children as:
Margaret who had married a Phillip Welter and they had lived in Pepin county, Wisconsin.
Anna had married Fredrick Seyforth and lived in Mondovi, Wi. He was also her step-brother and son of Julia, Johann’s second wife. (No wonder my grandpa George had trouble keeping this family straight. He had an uncle who was being raised by one of her daughters and an aunt who had married her son.)
Catherine (Kate) had married in New York to Fred Sauer.
John, who had married Mary Thomsen and lived in Cascade, Wi
Mary married a William Demand and lived in Sheboygan. She had descendants by the name of Jessie Koch and a Hattie Trilling the names my mother had mentioned.
George married a Sophie Allman and they’d gone to live in Aberdeen South Dakota around 1900.
Also included in the packet was a copy of this photograph taken in Plymouth, Wisconsin.
Meyer siblings. L-R Mary, Margaret, John and George taken about 1900
Johann Meyer married second, Julia Schleider Seyforth Her children were:
Theresa who married Mr. Hoffman. ( The family said she was unable to have children and so adopted her half brother Johnann and Julia’s youngest son Augustus and lived in Wayne County, New York.)
Wilamina married a Mr. Sontag and lived in Clifton Springs, New York.
Fredrick married Johann’s daughter Anna Meyer.
Together Johann Meyer and Julia had children:
Charles Meyer who live in Carthage, New York (father of Pierre and Edith)
Augustus Meyer Hoffman ( child adopted by half sister) Family stories said his half -sister had been unable to have children so Julia and Johann had allowed her to adopt their youngest child.)
I now had two separate branches of the family to collaborate with. Together we were able to fill out much of the family tree and account for not only the children of Johann but their children as well. But there was still some details that eluded me including where in Alsace thy had come from? Without a village name it would be next to impossible to trace the family back any further. Our collaboration had suggested several names: Strasburg from some of the girls obituaries, Airsheim from John’s marriage certificate and the Aphesheim suggested on the Seyforth document. With the exception of Strasburg I’ve been told the other places had never existed. It was suggested that perhaps the places had been eaten up as the city of Strasburg grew. I also needed to know the name of where Johann had died. Who was the brother he went back to live with? And of course I wanted what every genealogist wants to know, who were the parents?
For the next several years I added very little to my Meyer research until another descendant of the Meyer family contacted me. But that is another story to be shared another day.