I have decided to accept the challenge of Amy Johnson Crow over at No Story Too Small blog. Amy challenges us: 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. I think this is an excellent challenge as I tend to focus on my brick walls, and this will force me to fan out in my tree and focus on other ancestors.
Please meet my 2nd-great grandmother, Anna Schulze Roleke. Week two and my second post in the challenge.
Anna Roleke, my 2nd great-grandmother was born December 10, 1862 in Berlin, Germany. She was the daughter of Gustaf and Sophie Schulze. Schultze or Schulze, I’ve seen it spelled both ways, so I’m not sure which way is actually correct.
She married Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm (William) Roleke on September 2, 1888. I have not found a copy of this marriage record, yet. A cool thing about my 2nd great-grandfather William Roleke being Mayor of Bethany, Missouri for 32 years, is that their lives were well documented and I’ve been able to find a lot of information out about them through books, and newspaper articles.
So, I’ll back up a bit and tell you what I have learned about her mostly from her flowery obituary which I obtained from the Harrison County Genealogical Society, in Bethany, Missouri. I might also add that I wouldn’t have a photo of her at all if it weren’t for this obituary.
I learned that she was confirmed in the Lutheran Church in 1876 on a Palm Sunday, and lived a consistent Christian life until God in his infinite wisdom, called her to Him on the anniversary of her confirmation, on March 28, 1915.
Now, I’ve written about Anna’s death before on Sympathy Saturday – Helen Roleke Parks. Her daughter, Helen Parks, my great-grandmother died within six months of Anna, giving birth to my grandfather. Her obituary speaks of her having a lingering illness of about four years. Helen’s obituary also speaks of a long illness. Her death certificate says she died of cerebral hemorrhage, with mitral regurgitation contributory and mentions an illness of 3 weeks, and I can’t read it very well, but I suspect it to say acute nephritis. I’ve never heard any family stories on what the lingering illness was.
I’ve also written about how the Roleke’s were my first genealogy trip on My First Family History Road Trip – Rolling with the Roleke’s. Shortly after this trip, I found Bill Jones. Bill is the son of Kathryn Roleke Jones, my great grand-aunt and the daughter of Anna and William Roleke. Bill lives a long way from me, so we have never met, but we have gotten to know each other through phone calls and emails and I’m so happy that I found him.
Anna’s obituary speaks of her graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in Berlin, with high honors. So far I have not done any research in Germany on any of my ancestors, obviously because I will have to increase my skill set but I would like to find out about her schooling at some point. This fact really intrigues me and I would love to learn more about it and see if I can learn more about her achievements from the academy. Cousin Bill Jones actually has some of Anna’s sheets of music.
From her obituary, I learned that she left Germany in 1888. I found that date to be incorrect as I found her in the New York Passenger lists, 1820-1957 on Ancestry.com. She was shown to have departed from Hamburg, Germany in May of 1885 and arrived in New York on June 5, 1885 aboard the Steam Ship Bohemia.
Her obituary mentioned that by then end of the month of her arrival, she had made her home with her cousin, Herman Roleke in Bethany, Missouri. This was a little confusing to me because I knew Herman Roleke, was the cousin to William Roleke, but he’s her cousin too? A bit of panic set in, where my 2nd-great grandparents kissing cousins?
After researching this I found that Herman was the son of Joseph Frederich Roleke and Karoline Emilie Schulze. Karoline was Anna’s aunt, the sister of her father Gustaf Schulze. Joseph Roleke, the uncle of William, and brother to William’s father, Christian Roleke. Ummm, so does this make them kissing cousins?? ha ha
I also found in her obituary that her sister, Helene, was Mrs. Max Roleke. What? Oh my! I haven’t figured this relationship out yet, but it’s obvious the Roleke’s and Schulze’s had mad love for each other!
I found the Roleke family living in Bethany, Missouri on the 1900, and 1910 census. It shows William working as a Tailor, and you can see more about his tailor shop and the house they lived in on the post I mentioned above, My First Family History Road Trip – Rolling with the Roleke’s.
Bill Jones had this wonderful picture, that he sent to me and I have it framed and hanging on my wall.
Is this not the most awesome picture, ever? There are my 2nd-great grandparents, Anna and William Roleke, hanging out on the porch with my great-grandmother Helen, and Bill’s mother Kathryn. I love, love, love this picture. I will forever be thankful to Bill for sending me this picture.
When Anna died, on the day of her burial, apparently the town of Bethany came to a screeching halt. All the stores closed out of respect for the Mayor’s wife. City officials were her pall bearers and they laid her to rest in the Miriam Cemetery, in Bethany, Missouri. At the time the cemetery was called the Pythian cemetery. You can see more about the family plot at the cemetery once again on the above mentioned post, My First Family History Road Trip – Rolling with the Roleke’s. However, this is her headstone.
My mother placed those flowers there. One thing we didn’t do on the trip to Bethany was visit the courthouse, if we had, I might have their marriage record at this point. Like I said, it was my first trip and boy was I green. If I had gone there, I would have had no clue what to look for anyway. I will go back one day though, especially since I know so much more about the family. My family, I’m proud to say!
Here’s my relationship to Anna.
As her headstone says, Aufs Wiedersehn.