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Begins with a Vowel

My email this week advised me that we're more than a quarter of the way through the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge! Some of the weekly prompts have been quirky, and there has been one I flat out ignored, all together. This week's writing prompt is another head scratcher, "Begins With A Vowel."


My maternal lineage is a bit of a "Heinz 57" (a figure of speech referring to someone who descends from many different ethnicities.) Whereas, my paternal side is seemingly a bit more straightforward. Each of my paternal second great grandparents self-reported on different records that they were born in Germany with the exception of one. Anna Elisabetha Icke (did you notice all three of her names start with a vowel? Phew!) was born on 23 November 1852 in North Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey.¹ She was the oldest daughter of at least seven children to Wilhelm Icke and Anna Elisabetha Iber.


Note: Familylore and smaller evidence suggests a deeper tie to the Netherlands through several of these paternal lines, but this is, thus far, unsubstantiated.


On 14 October 1873, Anna married Gottlob Samuel Hoehn in Union City, Hudson County, New Jersey.² Together they had at least seven children: Wilhelmine, Julia, Gottlob, William, Otto, Samuel, and Anna. Remarkably, Wilhelmine was born just five months after Anna and Gottlob were married. Oops!


Their youngest child was less than a year old, and their oldest child had just turned fifteen when Anna's husband, Gottlob died on 20 March 1889.³


This is a perfect example of the frustration genealogists often feel over the 1890 US Federal Census. This census record could have provided amazing insight into the lives of Anna and her children immediately after Gottlob's death. What happened to Anna and the children? Where did they live? How did Anna provide for her family? Unfortunately, most of the 1890 US Federal Census was destroyed in or as a result of a fire in the Commerce Department building in Washington, DC on 10 January 1921.


Fortunately, every ten years, from 1855 to 1915, New Jersey state censuses were conducted in the “five” years between the Federal enumerations. In the 1895 New Jersey State Census, Anna is found living in Union, Hudson County, New Jersey with most of her children.⁴ (Wilhelmine is missing from the household, but through additional research we know she married her husband about four years earlier.) This census did not include street addresses or provide information about school, work, or income. The tick marks were used to categorize each person by gender, age, and birthplace. (The third column from the left was used to number each unique family, in order that they were visited. You can see that Gottlob Jr. has a different number from the rest of his family and there is a never before seen family member, Kate. This suggests that Gottlob and Kate were a married couple living in Anna's household.)

Annie E. Hoehn Household - 1895 New Jersey State Census

The next available census record was the 1900 US Federal Census. Anna is again found living in Union, Hudson County, New Jersey with most of her children.⁵ (Otto is notably missing, but additional research revealed his death about a year before.) In this record we find a curious notation regarding Anna's occupation, "Ng 0-3-2." The Census Bureau has continuously advised genealogists that these types of notations were just for office use and included no genealogical use. Fortunately for us, a fellow genealogist was reluctant to accept this response and started analyzing these annotations until a pattern became apparent.⁶ Based on their findings, we believe Anna's notation means an occupation was not provided (Ng = Not given). The code "0-3-2" indicates the head of household had worked "0" months over the prior year, "3" people in the household held marketable occupations, and "2" household members were non-working dependents.

Anna Hoehn Household - 1900 US Federal Census

Other observations from this particular census include the absence of "Kate." Gottlob Jr. was recorded as single, rather than widowed or divorced. There is no conclusion to be gained from these limited records, but offers another research question for a different day. Who was Kate Hoehn and what happened to her? Additionally, there are two other people living in the home, recorded as a separate family, similarly to the 1895 New Jersey State Census. Neither have been previously identified in our research. Based on surnames, ages and birthplaces alone, it is possible that this Gottlob and Paulnia are an uncle-in-law and cousin-in-law of Anna. To avoid the notorious "rabbit holes" of genealogical research, this too will be filed away as a potential research question to be investigated at another time.


Anna's adult life must have been hard. Widowed in her thirties, it appears she relied heavily on her children to provide for the household. Whereas other widowed women may have moved in with extended family or remarried, neither scenario appears to have been Anna's path. Anna continued living, apparently under the support of her children, until her death on 19 April 1921.⁷

 

1. Anna Elisabetha Icke, "German Ev. Ch. of North Bergen, Baptisms 1867-1879, Members - Confirmations, Weddings 1867-1885," Membership Records, pg 211; database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/60766/images/45380_1020705384_1040-00218?pId=3175889 : accessed 05 April 2023), U.S., Selected States Dutch Reformed Church Membership Records, 1701-1995, image 217 of 372; citing The Archives of the Reformed Church in America, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

2. Gottlob Samuel Hoehn and Anna Elisabetha Maria Icke, marriage, 1873, "Christ Church, Members, Marriages, Baptisms, 1853-1951," pg 268; database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6961/images/43103_356293-00955?pId=902751442 : accessed 05 April 2023), U.S., Dutch Reformed Church Records in Selected States, 1639-1989, image 474 of 620; citing The Archives of the Reformed Church in America, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

3. Find A Grave, database with images, (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/243763902/gottlob-samuel-hoehn : accessed 05 April 2023), memorial #243763902, Gottlob Samuel Hoehn (1852-1889); citing Palisades Cemetery, North Bergen, Hudson, New Jersey; maintained by user Mark Pollack, contributor 50249363.

4. 1895 New Jersey state census, Hudson County, population schedule, Union, pg 393 dwelling 1411, family 2595-2596, for Anne E. Hoehn household; database with images Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/1054/images/41246_040513-00539?pId=879940 : accessed 05 April 2023), New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 1895, image 197 of 225; citing New Jersey State Archives.

5. 1900 U.S. census, Hudson County, New Jersey, population schedule, ED 61, sheet 21B, Union, dwelling 292, family 471-472, for Anna Hoehn household; database with images Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7602/images/4120434_00874?pId=31641850 : accessed 05 April 2023), 1900 United States Federal Census, image 43-53; citing National Archives T623.

6. Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Census Tick Marks and Codes—Revisited Yet Again!” Ancestry Daily News, 04 January 2005; archived at HistoricPathways.com, (https://www.historicpathways.com/download/centickrevisitagain.pdf : accessed 05 April 2023).

7. Find A Grave, database with images, (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/243763870/anna-elisabetha_maria-hoehn : accessed 05 April 2023), memorial #243763870, Anna Elisabetha Maria Icke Hoehn (1852-1921); citing Palisades Cemetery, North Bergen, Hudson, New Jersey; maintained by user Mark Pollack, contributor 50249363.



 

Disclaimer: Each blog post is created and presented for marketing and entertainment purposes only but are based on larger research which adheres to the standards of The Board of Certification of Genealogists® as set forth in Genealogical Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry Imprint, Turner Publishing, 2014).

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