Friday, January 10, 2014

52 Ancestors: #1 - Frederick Christian Volz (1851-1932)

Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small recently issued a challenge to the family history community to concentrate on one ancestor a week over the next 52 weeks, and if possible share a blog post. And call me crazy, but I've decided to try my hand at the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge this year.  I already know I won't get 52 posts done, but I do know that I will attempt to work on at least one of my ancestors each week.  If I have something interesting to share, or have a new discovery ... you can bet I'll find time to write a blog post.  Otherwise, I'll plan on cleaning up my data each week for that particular ancestor and make sure that I cite as many of my sources as possible.

This week I've decided to start with Frederick Christian Volz.  If he were still alive, he would have been 163 years old on the 14th of this month.  I can only image some of the trials, triumphs and historical events he witnessed in his lifetime.  My grandma Ruth (his grand-daughter) taught me a lot about kindness and compassion, and I have no doubt that she learned those traits from her parents who learned them from their parents.

So without any further adieu ... I'd like to introduce you to ...

Frederick Christian Volz (1851-1932)

Photo Courtesy of Melanie Wood O'Brien, 2009.
Frederick Christian Volz [i]  is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born on January 14, 1851 in Wilhelmsdorf, Germany [ii] , to Gotlob Volz and Fredericka Wolff Volz.
The family came to the United States about 1854, and eventually settled in Sanilac County, Michigan.  I hope to be able to find immigration documents and cross over into German records someday, but so far all I have is some family lore and bits and pieces of the family tree that my cousins and I have been able to compile over the years from US record sources.

Frederick appears to have been the oldest child.  I have been able to find information on two brothers (Charles and Jacob) as well as some information on two half siblings (Gotlob and Martha).   Fredrick married Elizabeth Binder (daughter of John Christian Binder Sr. and Magdolena Schweyer Binder) on November 3, 1874, in Sanilac, Michigan. Soon after their marriage, Fredrick’s mother passed away (05 June 1875) and his father re-married a year later to Bertha Elston (with whom he had at least two more children).  Frederick’s father passed away in 1891 when Frederick was 40 years old.

Frederick and Elizabeth Volz had seven children, four girls and three boys:
1.       Lena Volz (1875-1961)
2.       Martha Volz (1876-1965)
3.       Emma Hulda Volz (1878-1938)
4.       Jacob J Volz (1879-1975)
5.       William Charles Volz (1881-1966) – My great grandfather.
6.       Elizabeth Volz (1882-1944)
7.       Herbert Volz (1892-1988)

Frederick died on November 8, 1932 in Minden City, Michigan, at the age of 81 after living over 51 years in the same small community of Minden on the same family farm which is still held by the Volz family today.  Frederick and Elizabeth are both buried at the Minden City Cemetery. (Find-A-Grave Memorial for Frederick)

I am fortunate enough to have several news clippings in a scrapbook about Frederick C. Volz that were in the newspaper soon after he died.  You can find all five of them here in previous posts to this blog: 
I wish I could remember the stories that my Grandma Ruth would tell me about her parents and grandparents and the family dairy farm.  She would have been 18 when her grandfather died.  Frederick was married with small children during the fires in 1871 and 1881, not to mention the harsh winter storms like the one November 1913.  And Frederick would have seen the world around him changing as he grew up.  He was about 10 years old when President Abraham Lincoln was shot, and he lived through the hardships caused by the First World War.  If anyone has some of these stories tucked away, I sure would like to have them written down and saved in my records somewhere.
Thanks for stopping by.

Love & Aloha,

[i] I have input his name in my database as Christian Fredrick Volz, though it appears that he used the name Frederick C. Volz the majority of his life.  I need to validate
[ii] I am still unclear which Wilhelmsdorf, Germany that Frederick’s family came from as I have found at least three Wilhelmsdorfs on a German map.  One is a Village in the district of Neustadt-Bad Windsheim in Bavaria, one is a Town in the district of Ravensburg in Baden-Wurttemburg, and one is a municipality in the district of Saale-Orla-Kreis in Thuringia.

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