The shortest lineage I’ve documented in my family tree is that of the Solles. My great great grandfather William Solle immigrated to Springfield Illinois where he married another recent immigrant from Germany, Maria Hein. I know very little about William Solle’s origins and knew even less about Maria Hein. Until recently.
I searched around to see if any web site had added more Illinois newspapers, and noticed that GenealogyBank now had a number of Springfield newspapers in their database. I’ve made a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Library’s newspapers on microfilm collection before and pulled a lot of obituaries for my known Solle family. But researching newspapers without an index or search facility is extremely limited, so I was quite ecstatic at discovering that the newspapers had been digitized.
Here I must break the narrative to thank Michael John Neill for his excellent genealogy blogs, RootDig.com and Genealogy Tip Of The Day. His posts cover the nuts and bolts of genealogy research when other blogs regurgitate press releases or write about other fluff that doesn’t interest me. His sponsor is GenealogyBank, and I remembered that there were subscription links posted. So rather than pay the $69/year that is GenealogyBank’s regular rate, I got a good deal at $55 for my first year.
After subscribing, one of the first hits when I searched for William Solle was this obituary for an Amelia Kibele, sister of my great great grandmother:
It’s the first good clue that I’ve found for additional family in that branch. It doesn’t tell me much about her parents, but now I have a bunch of possible siblings I can dig into.
In addition to Emilia Hein Kibele (Emilia is how her grave stone spells the name) and Maria Hein Solle, I suspect the remainder of the mentioned siblings are:
- Charles Werner (abt 1828 – 1902). The two obituaries for Emilia give different spellings for his name. The one above spells it Warner, and the State Register’s spells it Werner. I haven’t been able to find a Charles Warner in Springfield, but Charles Werner’s obituary has a few biographical details about his immigration that make me think he’s the same person. His life could be really fun to research, as the difference in surnames perhaps has a story behind it.
- Bertha Hein Schultz/Schutz (abt 1831 – 1914). A few other newspaper articles reference Maria Solle’s sister giving her name as Bertha Shultz. There are a number of possible matches in various records from Detroit, with a woman who died in 1914 being the most promising.
- Otto Hein (abt 1834 – 1902). This Otto Hein died in Nebraska but had lived a number of years in Petersburg, Illinois and was buried there. Petersburg is about 20 miles northwest of Springfield.
- Anna Hein Helfer (1844 – 1927). Married to a Philip Helfer, and there was a Philip Helfer in Springfield for a number of years, so she’s my current top candidate for this sibling.
- Hugo Hein (1845 – 1919). This is the only Hugo Hein in Springfield with an approximate age that could make him a brother.
Obviously these are all speculative identifications. One big flaw in these tentative identifications is that none of the death records and indexes for them have matching parents names. They variously have the father listed as Henry Hein, Vincento Hein, or Frank Hein. It’s going to take some work to resolve the conflicting information.
And in fact, I don’t have a solid genealogical proof that the Mrs. William Solle mentioned in the obituary is my great great grandmother. There was indeed a second William Solle who lived in Springfield for a brief time before being run out of town. It’s possible he left a wife who also had a connection to the Hein family.
But a rather large brick wall now has a really good opening in it.