The Obituary of Mary Hoffman
admin Wed, 03/19/2008 - 04:00
Last week I talked about VINE, a research tool for those doing research in Indiana. In the post I mentioned that I had found several Towler Obituaries and a few Hoffman’s. Using the information that I gathered in VINE, I sent away for copies of each of the obituaries. One of the Obituaries that I sent for was the Obit of Mrs. Mary Hoffman.
The Hoffman’s are a brickwall (Brickwall in genealogy is a term meant to describe a person or event that you can not get around and is blocking further research) of sorts in my Family tree. I know that my paternal great grandfather married two Hoffman’s and they appear to be sisters, but I can not prove that just yet. Of the two sisters, I am most familiar with the facts of Maggie C Hoffman. I know that Maggie’s Parents were Fredrick and Mary Hoffman. I also knew that Fredrick and Mary were from Germany, based on US Census records. Beyond that I did not know very much.
So when I found a obituary in VINE for a Mary Hoffman, I was cautiously optimistic. When I actually received a copy of the Obit I was very excited. The obituary was printed in the Greensburg Standard (a weekly Newspaper) on Friday, April 10, 1903 and found on page 8. You can see a small version of the Obit on below and to the left.
The obituary was packed with info that I did not have before. Some of the most notable new pieces of information are:
- An exact Birth date of 25 July 1837, Born in Germany
- A calculated immigration year into the United States of about 1854
- A year of Marriage of 1859 in Cincinnati
- A death date for Fredrick Hoffman of 20 Feb 1889
- She raised a large family of 10 children
Before I had this article I had always assumed that Mary and Fredrick were married before they came to the United States. I can not explain why I assumed that, but based on the obituary they most likely were each single when they immigrated. The obituary also gives me some clues about where to look next. I will need to do some work on trying to find some sort of documentation of Fredrick and Mary’s marriage.One of the things that I was hoping for in the obituary that I did not get is Mary’s maiden name. Based on family stories, I am told that it might be Wolf/Wolfe but I have not documentation for that. I also would like to know where, at what port, did Mary enter the United States. By knowing the port of entry, I might be able to discover more about Mary’s parents and family.
All in all the Obituary of Mary Hoffman has proven to be a great find. This has served as a reminder that you need to be open to all sorts of records. As you can see, a well written obituary can be a very valuable source of information. While obits can be a great source of information, you must remember that obits are usually written by family members at or near the time of death, and are not necessarily fact checked, so they can be full of mis-information.
Thanks to VINE I was also able several obituaries that have helped me start to get past a long standing brickwall. This particular group of obituaries that I found are fairly interesting, and I will be sharing some more of them in the future, including the obituary for Mary’s husband, Fredrick.