Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Unexpected Obituaries

Some weeks ago, I was excited to learn that the Allen County Public Library has an online index of the obituaries published in The Evangelical Messenger.  Published between 1848 and 1925, The Evangelical Messenger was the English-language publication of the Evangelical Church.  My great-great-grandparents were members, as were their parents.

I found several relatives in the index and ordered the full obituaries from the ACPL (at $2.50 each).  A few weeks later I got a lovely package in the mail.  The best part?  These were all obituaries I didn't think existed.   These were average people who weren't famous and they lived at a time when detailed obituaries weren't common.  My favorite of all the ones I received is the one for my 3rd-great-grandmother, Barbara Steiner vonAllmen:
"Allmann. -- Died happy in the Lord, at Evansville, Indiana, June 24, Sister Barbara von Allmann, nee Steiner, aged 63 y., 9 m.  She was born in Lanter-brunnen, Canton Berne, Switzerland, and married to Christian von Allmann in 1839.  This union was blessed with 11 children, 7 of whom preceded their mother to the spirit world.  They emigrated to America in 1842, and settled near Olney, Ill.  She was converted in 1846, and with six more persons joined the Evangelical Association.  These seven persons were organized as the first class of our church in and near Olney.  About 30 years ago they moved to this city.  Sister A. loved the church and took delight in Christian work.  Her disease was consumption.  She bore her pain with Christian patience.  She leaves a husband, 4 children, 2 sons-in-law, and 1 daughter-in-law and grandchildren, to mourn.  Christ. Stier." 6 July 1886, page 427, Evangelical Messenger.
I can't get over the level of detail given and was especially happy to learn their year of arrival in the US (something I hadn't known).  The only thing I wish had been mentioned were the names of her four living children.  I know one was my great-great-grandmother, Susanna, and that the two boys were Abraham and Joseph.  But who was the second daughter alive, Margaret or Mary/Maria?

If you have ancestors who were members of the Evangelical Association, or were German-Americans in the Midwest, it might be worth checking out the database - you might be pleasantly surprised like I was!

Christ. Stier, "Allmann," obituary, The Evangelical Messenger (New Berlin, Pennsylvania), 6 July 1886, page 427.

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