Anton and Clara Weiss 50th anniversary

On occasion I’ve contacted distant relatives when I find contact information for them. That’s been somewhat hit or miss. One big hit though was last month I contacted someone who turned out to be the cousin of Anne Klindt Falconer. Anne would be my second cousin once removed. That means she and my father shared great grandparents.

My second great grandparents were Anton Weiss and Clara Voigt Weiss. After Anton died in 1911, Clara moved to California and lived with her daughter Celia. Clara’s photo album went into Celia’s hands when she died in 1915. Her daughter Agnes took the album after Celia died, and Agnes’ niece Anne took the album when Agnes passed away.

Anne sent me copies of the photos. This one is from Anton and Clara’s 50th anniversary in 1906. Seated in the center are Clara and Anton Weiss. Standing behind Clara is, I believe, my great grandmother Frances Weiss holding my grandfather, 2 year old George Archibald Weiss. (click for larger version)

Anton and Clara Weiss 50th wedding anniversary group photo
Anton and Clara Weiss 50th wedding anniversary

The Cassville Index reported on the event. (Back then, the small town newspapers reported on who you had over to dinner.)

Golden Wedding

In Regensberg, Bacaria, on February 27, 1827, Anton Weiss was born. And near Cologne, Germany, Clara Voigt first saw the light of day on May 2, 1833. They both came to America in the same year, 1852, although they never met until within a few weeks of their marriage, Mr. Weiss spending some time in the east and was also in business in Dubuque before he came to Cassville in 1855 in company with Gustav Candler and William Schmitz. He formed a partnership with Mr. Schmitz and for seven years conducted the Cassville brewery and also a hardware store; when they dissolved Mr. Weiss retained the hardware business which he successfully conducted until he retired about fifteen years ago. Anton Weiss and Miss Clara Voigt were married by the late J.H.C. Sueclode, Esq., August 17, 1856, in the house now occupied by Thos. Williams, then owned by Jehn Berhardt Sr. (deceased), and standing on site of Mrs. Bernhardt’s present residence. In that house for a few months Mr. Weiss and his bride lived until their own home was ready, and since then their home has been continuously where they still reside although the building has been continuously enlarged and improved from time to time. TO bless the worthy couple were good sons and dutiful daughters and all now living, except the eldest daughter, were at the Golden Wedding last Friday. Robert was the first born, then Cecelia (now Mrs. Henry Klindt,) they reside at North Ontario, California. Frank of Pukwana S.D.; Theodore J. of Madison, Wis.; Joseph P. of Merrill, Wisc.; Mary died in June, 1898; Clarissa now Mrs. C.F. Troeller of Larrabee, Iowa; the youngest child, their daughter Agnes, died July 21, 1903. Other members of the family in attendance were Mr.s Frank Weiss and children, Marion, Theodore and Agnes; Mrs. J. P. Weiss and children Marie, Glenn and Archie; Harold, Paul and Agnes Troeller; Mrs. Barbara Freidmann of Chicago; and the Cassville relatives: Mrs. G. Kuchenberg, Miss Gertrude Josten, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kuchenberg and children Hilda and Joe; Peter Voigt; Mr. and Mrs A.B. Teasdale and sons Charles and Harold. Mr. and Mrs Gustav Canderl, who for fifty years have been next-door neighbors, were at the wedding-dinner which was prepared by Mr. Weiss’ niece Mrs. Friedmann, one of whose many accomplishments is that she is a most skillful cook, and her offer to perform this labor of love was highly appreciated by the guests. A number of handsome gifts, leather coach, oak rocker and pieces of Haviland china and other tableware and mementos of the golden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. A. Weiss from their living family and friends.

Anne identified the Troellers in the photo. Charles Teasdale’s son is still alive. I found contact information for him online, and he responded when I requested his help identifying his family in the photo. I haven’t yet built the Kuchenberg part of my tree, so noone yet for me to contact regarding those identifications.

Group photo at Anton and Clara Weiss 50th anniversary, with labels identifying known people
Group photo at Anton and Clara Weiss 50th anniversary, with labels identifying known people

Tracking down the living Weisses

My great great grand-father Anton Weiss had 8 children: Robert, Celia, Frank, Theodore, Joe, Mary, Clarissa, and Agnes.

Robert married Martha Grace and they had one child who died before he was a year old. Martha and Robert divorced and I don’t believe either had any more children. Martha and her third husband do not have any children connected to them in their census records. Robert does not appear to have married again, and if he fathered any more children they are likely illegitimate and untraceable.

Celia married Henry Klindt. They moved to South Dakota and then to Ontario, California and had a few children. I’ve tracked down a number of living descendants but hadn’t found current contact information for any. Yesterday, I found a memorial for one of their children on Find-A-Grave (a site for cataloging grave sites along with virtual memorials and flowers). It had been put up last week, and included photographs of the person. The photos indicated to me that a living relative had put up the page, so I emailed her. She responded this morning, and is related by marriage on the other side of that family. But she is forwarding my email on to her cousin, a Klindt who is living.

Frank married Nancy Conaway and lived in South Dakota. His children mostly lived in South Dakota as well, but the next generation moved to Illinois, Minnesota, and Tacoma. Unfortunately, the Tacoma branch is no longer local. However, one of the Minnesota branch lives in Issaquah now. I attempted contact today, and am keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll respond.

Theodore married Kathryn Franey and stayed in Madison, Wisconsin. However, they had no children.

Joe married Frances Ryan and they also lived in Madison. Only two of their children have descendants. There’s me and my cousins, and a few others spread all over from Minnesota to Texas to New York to Virginia to Massachusetts to California. Although I was unable to attend, a number of them gathered three years ago for the 100th birthday of Joe’s daughter, my great aunt Babe. I know a fair number of second cousins.

Mary never married and died at age 28. She lived most of her life with Anton and Clara in Cassville, but died in Denver. I still don’t know why she was there. No children that I’ve found.

Clarissa married Conrad Troeller and moved first to South Dakota, then Iowa, and finally California. Though she died young, she had four children before she passed. Their descendants live in California, Idaho, and Alaska. And one fellow who has lived in dozens of places, but seems to have settled in Ohio. I’ve corresponded with four living descendants of Clarissa and the wife of another.

Agnes died at age 25, still living in Cassville with her parents. She did not marry or have any children.

If the two contacts made today are successful, I’ll have a line of communication to descendants of each of Anton’s children that have some.

The benefits of web-based genealogy

Last summer after I decided against using Geni or as primary storage for my genealogical data, I had to figure out what I was going to use. There’s a number of desktop applications, some free or shareware, and some paid. I looked at a couple, and decided against them. They might have been good, but I wanted a web solution so my data would be in the cloud so to speak.

My main reasoning for that was simply for crash protection reasons. Making sure my local hard drive is backed up has always been a pain in the ass, and with every crash I invariably don’t have something backed up. The secondary reason is that I could work on my genealogy from any computer, rather than having to bring my laptop with me, or having to bring data back to a desktop.

I eventually settled on PhpGedView as the software I’d use on the web site. It’s open source, I can fix broken things if I want. I doubt I would ever do a major overhaul, but little changes here and there I can do. PhpGedView is pretty mature, but hasn’t had any major developers pushing new features for a couple of years. Unless someone takes it up, that does mean I’ll probably eventually switch to something else.

I’ve figured out an additional benefit in the last couple of months though: Google Analytics. I’ve used Google Analytics for years to track visitors and pageviews on my blogs. I added a profile for the genealogy site and started tracking there too. I can see the keywords that bring people to the site. I can see what people and families in my tree people are looking at.

The thing is, if you are looking for someone in my tree, you are probably related. That’s not a guarantee, because my tree includes in-laws as well. But I can filter those out.

A couple of examples: Last month, I started seeing a lot of hits on the Troeller branch of the tree from computers in Alaska. I had a good guess as to who they were because I’d entered in that branch just a few weeks earlier. A couple of days later, I got email from them asking if I would give them full access (information about living people is blocked unless the viewer has an account), which I did. They’ve since fleshed out a few of the details I didn’t have for that branch.

Yesterday, I noticed a big spike in traffic to the Nordvall portion of the tree, starting with my great-grandmother’s brother Fritz Arvid Nord (he shortened the name from Nordvall). That traffic is coming from Marysville. I’m willing to bet that whoever is doing the looking is a grandchild or great-grandchild of Fritz’. I’m really hoping they contact me as well, because I don’t actually have a lot of information on Fritz’ kids.

But the thing is, now I know that someone out there is descended from him, and is local. That’s actually a pretty big help.

It also means I really should make a point of calling my grandmother’s cousin in Shoreline to pump her for information. For all I know, she may continue to be in contact with that branch of the family.

Agnes Troeller leads to Celia Weiss Klindt

I wrote about tracking down Clara Weiss, my second great aunt, in Upland California. I didn’t really know what had happened to her sister, Cecilia Celia. Turns out she was just down the road.

Finding a girl through the census records is hard, because they usually changed surnames when they got married. Celia shows up in 1860, 1870, and 1880. Then she disappears. She got married and doesn’t show up anywhere. tells me the most likely entries are: Cecilia Garthwaite, Cecilia Lindsey, Cecilia McCready, etc. All of them born about 1858 in Wisconsin. Ancestry seems to rank them in terms of how close they are to Celia’s birthplace of Cassville, Wisconsin. In fact, Celia doesn’t show up at all in the first five pages of possibilities for censuses after 1900. I checked a lot of them, and most didn’t match up. Some could have been Celia, but I had no way to know via the census records.

So I kind of sat on that for a bit and pursued other Weisses. I got to Clara. She appeared only in 1900, and later I figured out why she wasn’t in 1910. Before I’d done that though, I started looking for her children. Her third child, Agnes Marie showed up in 1910, but not with Clara or Clara’s husband Conrad. She was part of the Henry J. and Anna C. Klindt household in Ontario, California. Her relationship to Henry was listed as niece.

1910 United States Federal Census Record for Henry J Klindt

Agnes is listed as the niece of Henry Klindt. So either Conrad Troeller is the brother of Henry or Anna, or Clara was the sister of Anna. There were no daughters of Anton Weiss listed as Anna in the 1860 through 1880 censuses. However, it was possible that Cecilia was a middle name. Among my grandparent’s family, George Archibald went by Arch, Florence Marie went by Marie, Richard Glenn went by Glenn and Laura Ann Francis goes by Francis. Perhaps that was common in their parent’s family as well, and Anna C. is Anna Cecilia.

Anna C.’s other stats matched up: born in Wisconsin around 1858, with both parents from Germany. Not enough to confirm it, but enough to start digging more. Luckily a few other things turned up. One other person had listed the wife of Henry Klindt as Anna C Weiss in their family tree. Still tenuous, but looking better. Around then I found Frank Smitha’s biography, and his page about his grandmother Clara.

My mother’s sister, Agnes, four years and three months older, was sent to live with Clarissa’s sister, Celia Klindt, whose husband, according to my mother, owned the main grocery store in Upland. Celia and husband were the family members on a path to wealth. They were putting their spare cash into buying property and in a few years, according to my mother, “Aunt Celia’s family owned flats as they called them, on Lake Street in Los Angeles. I think the property has been absorbed into McCarthur Park, as near as I can figure.”

The weight of the evidence was enough for me to put it in a confirmation column, even though some of the other facts on Smitha’s page are wrong.

The Klindt’s lived in South Dakota and Iowa for a bit, then went overseas to Germany for a couple of years. When they returned, they moved to Ontario. Henry’s passport application gave birth dates for his children as well as his intention to return in a couple of years. That’s awesome, because the census only gives approximate birth years and was generally transcribed as told to the census taker by the head of the house. The head of the house might not remember birth dates as well; the transcriber could mishear; the transcriber could miswrite it; the transcriber could have a bad sense of policies about first names vs. middle names. Some of them are really bad spellers.

I’m not sure the Klindts were wealthy, even though Smitha’s mother seemed to think they were. There were five children. Pauline, who married one Fred Jacobs. They moved back to Iowa where Fred died about 1916. Pauline moved back to California, and as best as I can tell never remarried or had more kids. Daughter Agnes married a George Bunker, then divorced him just a couple years later. She never appeared to remarry and the Bunkers had only one child George Jr. Daughter Mildred died about 1916 without marrying. Robert married Jessie Hermes around 1916, and by 1930 they had not had any children. The youngest child, Irving, married Edith Smith and they had a couple of daughters by 1930. None of the Klindts appeared to have lived in particularly wealthy neighborhoods, and I haven’t found any of them among the movers and shakers of southern California. But perhaps they were quietly wealthy. Who knows?

Neither Henry nor Celia lived to see 1930.

Clara Weiss Troeller

Figuring out that Anton Weiss is my great great grandfather opened up a lot more of the family tree quickly. The 1880 Census lists a number of children of Anton and Clara Weiss, and that’s where I started from:

1880 United States Federal Census Record for Anton Weiss family
1880 United States Federal Census Record for Anton Weiss family

Then I checked the 1860 and 1870 census records and also found Anton and Clara Weiss:

1860 United States Federal Census Record for Anton Weiss
1860 United States Federal Census Record for Anton Weiss
1870 United States Federal Census for Anton Weiss
1870 United States Federal Census for Anton Weiss

The listed children in 1880 were: Cecilia (~1859), Franz (~1862), Joseph (~1866), Mary (~1869), Clara (~1871), and Agnes (~1878).

The listed children in 1860 were: Robert (~1857) and Celia (~1858). I’d previously found the 1860 record, but didn’t do anything with it because I didn’t know if Anton Weiss was the correct father for Joseph. Celia is certainly Cecilia. Over the course of the decades, the U.S. Census has been taken on different dates: 1 Jan, 1 Apr, 15 Apr, and 1 Jun (at least). But both the 1860 and 1870 censuses were taken officially as of 1 Jun, so the difference in approximate birth dates is just someone getting it wrong, either the census taker, or whoever in the Weiss household the worker talked with.

The 1870 census record was harder to find. In the 1870 Census, the two are listed as Antony and Clarra Weist. All of these census records are found on, where people have transcribed and indexed them. The name matching algorithm is pretty good, but for some reason it never matched Anton Weiss with Antony Weist. Wise and Weise match, but the t messed up the soundex type search. At this point, I don’t remember what I put in that finally pulled up the name, or if I went through the Cassville records page by page. For a small place like Cassville, reading every page is fairly easy. There are 23 pages for Cassville in 1860, and 34 in 1870. Reading page by page would be much more laborious for a place like Los Angeles.

The children listed in 1870 were: Robert (~1857), Cecelia (~1858), Frank (~1860), Theadore (~1861), Joseph (~1863) and Mary (~1869).

Here, the birth years for Joseph and Frank really don’t match up, and Theodore’s doesn’t match with other information I have either.

It’s usually easiest to track the male children, because they don’t change their names when they get married, like women overwhelmingly did. However, I had a really good clue for Clara Weiss, so I started tracking her first.

1900 United States Federal Census Record for Anton Weiss
1900 United States Federal Census Record for Anton Weiss

In the clip of the 1900 Federal Census record for Anton Weiss, I included the house and family number column. Some of the censuses include the street address, but this is a different number. Each census taker basically counted off families and dwellings. Sometimes several families would live in the same house. Anton and Clara had the 44th house counted in Cassville, and were the 45th family. Everyone in the same family number is related. Related being in quotes because sometimes servants were counted as their own family, and sometimes not. The last person listed is a Loueller, Clara, listed as a daughter born in March 1871. So it looks like Clara married someone named Loueller!

There’s possibly an interesting story behind that. Why was Clara at her parent’s house in 1900? Was she just visiting? Were she and her husband estranged for a period? Was she stashed at her parents’ for expediency while the husband was setting up a new household or conducting business? I still don’t know.

Searching for women named Weiss who got married in Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Genealogy Index brought up 2 promising hits: Clara Weiss married in Grant County in May 1896, and Clarissa S. Weiss married in April 1894 in Monroe County. I checked Grant County first, because that’s where Cassville is. That Clara Weiss looks to have married a Richard Gross. I’m not 100% certain of that because I haven’t purchased the original record, but his is the only male name that came up as getting married on the same day. It would have to be a pretty weird set of circumstances to marry someone in 1893, marry someone else in 1896, and carry the first person’s surname again in 1900. Clarissa Weiss getting married 4 Apr 1894 seemed like a better possibility, but the possibly spouse search turned up no hits.

Then I looked at the 1900 Census image again, and thought perhaps the name was not transcribed correctly. That could possibly be a Tr and not an L. Plugging in Clara Troeller brought up all sorts of hits, including another one for 1900 in Larrabee, Iowa married to a Conrad Troeller! Thank god for double counting. As it is, a number of people in the Troeller family had already entered her into their family trees, some with the Weiss last name. None of them had connected her to Anton Weiss, but it was enough for me to match them.

Going back to the Wisconsin Genealogy Index, Conrad Troeller does indeed appear, and married someone on 4 Apr 1894. But his marriage is listed in Grant County rather than Monroe County, which confused the possible spouse search. I haven’t yet ordered the original record for that, but I assume it’s an indexing error.

Other states they’ve lived in kept better records and more of them are public, so I as able to find a lot. Helpfully, someone in San Bernardino County, California cataloged a lot of head stones and put the list online, and one of them had her name. Upland California seemed like a long way away, but the other information matched.

So here’s the story as best as I can piece it together from the genealogy records: Clarissa Sophia Weiss was born on 4 Mar 1871 in Cassville, Wisconsin. She married Conrad Troeller from Dodge County, Wisconsin on 4 April 1894 in Cassville, Wisconsin. The Troellers moved to Brule County, South Dakota either with or shortly after her brother Frank (more on him later), where she had a son Harold in 1896. By 1898, Conrad and Clara had moved to Larrabee, Iowa where Conrad worked as a hardware dealer and they had son Paul in 1898 and daughter Agnes in 1903. By 1907, they’d moved to the Los Angeles area, where daughter Margaret was born in that year. But Clara is not to be found in the 1910 census; she died a couple of months before the census on 24 Feb 1910.

What happened after she died explained why they moved to California in the first place, and provided me with a clue as to where other members of my family were. And I have more sources than I did last month too. But that will have to wait for another entry.