There’s nothing like the feeling of solving a mystery like the one about the biological family of my husband’s grandmother Louise Reynolds. Born in October of 1911, she was given up for adoption.
A wonderful couple, William Dennis Matthews and his wife Claudia adopted her and a little boy, William Dennis Matthews, Jr.
She grew up never knowing about her biological family. After her death, however, papers and artifacts were discovered in an old suitcase and among them were notes written in Louise’s own hand about her research into her biological family, which turned out to include the prominent Busse and Froemling families of Chicago.
No one knew she was even interested, much less pursued it. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, though.
She used this information to order a copy of her birth registration below.
This small clip of paper consists of the notes taken by Louise while researching her birth.
I located the actual family quite a while ago through censuses and other documents.
Since then, I managed to expand on that information to include the fact that, based on her biological mother being recorded as Emma Mary Froemling.
Born 29 December 1884 in Illinois, Emma’s parents (Louise’s biological grandparents) were August and Johanna (Busse) Froemling.
August was born 17 Aug 1855 to Henry and Caroline Froemling.
Johanna was born 2 Aug 1855 in Elk Grove, Cook County, Illinois, and her parents were Christian and Fredericka (Henjes) Busse.
I have placed images of the tombstones for August and Johanna (Busse) Froemling and Christian and Fredericka (Henjes) Busse.
August died 20 Jan 1919 in Cook County, Illinois and Johanna died 19 Feb 1940 at Elk Grove.
Christian Busse died 24 Mar 1909 in Elk Grove and Fredericka died in 8 Sep 1911, also in Elk Grove, Illinois.
Considering that almost everything of importance in this family took place in Elk Grove, it’s a great example of how large a world it was for small farming families such as the Busse’s and Froemlings – and how hard it was for them to travel or move very far from home.
While researching newspaper articles for another family related to my husband, Mark, I happened upon a treasure trove of articles about all of these members of his family.
I have included the most enlightening of them here.
As I actually clipped over two dozen, it seemed appropriate to whittle those down to just the most important and informative clippings.
The clips range from business ads to wedding announcements, death notices, obituaries, gossip column entries and newspaper articles.
What I have learned about this family from these newspaper clippings is that they were considered to be of good German stock, having settled in and pioneered the area of Elk Grove, Cook County, Illinois.
An interesting fact about the Busse and Froemling families is they were well entrenched in transportation sales of one sort or another.
Their business interests spanning the fading of the horse as transportation and the inception of the automobile – as indicated in these two advertisements.
Christian was a Republican and served his community in numerous capacities including on the State Board of Equalization, Supervisor of Elk Grove.
The patriarch of the family, Johann Friedrich Busse and his wife Johanna (Hanna), immigrated with Christian and two of Christian’s brothers and two sisters, one brother having previously immigrated on his own.
Christian was a Republican who served his community in numerous capacities including on the State Board of Equalization, Supervisor of Elk Grove.
His son August was the grandfather of my husband’s Grandma Louise Reynolds as mentioned above.
There is frequent mention of some of August’s children in numerous of the dozens of clippings I’ve saved.
Tidbits of information include illnesses, school news, work history, social activities, etc.
The most prominent of these occasions, of course, were the weddings.
The Oltrogge – Froemling wedding was the marriage of August’s daughter Selma and John Oltrogge.
County Commissioner William Busse was the son of Christian’s brother Louis, and led a very distinguished career and professional life.
Besides his high profile life and career, he ran a highly contested (and some say crooked) race for Mayor of Chicago.
I will write later this week about this race and the no holds barred lawsuit it led to.
Here are two wedding announcements published by William Busse.
One is the announcement of the marriage of his son Albert E. Busse to Emma Schaeffer.
The second is concerning the marriage of his daughter Martha to Albert Frederick Froemling, the son of August Froemling.
It appears they liked to keep it in the family.
Sadly, August Froemling passed on 20 Jan 1919 and this is his obituary from The Daily Herald of Chicago.
It is not clear what the reasons are, but soon after, his 31 acre farm was put up for auction, scheduled to sell 10 Jul 1920.
There is no evidence of financial troubles in the newspaper accounts I’ve collected. Therefore, I can only assume the sale was to abide by his will and was to be divided among his immediate family.
I’d love to find his will to either prove or disprove my assumption.
You may also be interested in checking out these related posts:
- Reynolds and Matthews Family Transitions from American to Canadian.
- What happened to William Read Kirk after the devastating Ohio State Penitentiary fire of 1930?
- Transcription: Letter re disappearance of Richard Kellar / Keller.
- Treasure Awaits
The images above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.
It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.
All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.