Sunday, October 3, 2010

Photos of Ella Frances (Gorton) MacKenzie

A third cousin of ours, Barb H., who is descended from Ella Frances (Gorton) MacKenzie, sent me these photos today.

They give a face, and a beautiful one, to the person we know as "Ella" and they settle a mystery about who is "the lady with the black hat." (See blog entry from Jan 23, 2008: "Who Are the People in These Photos?")

Photo captions:
1. Ella
2. Ella, age 12
3. Ella with her grand dau, Kathryn [(Holland) Wiley]
4. " Great Grandmother Gorton,"- [caption written by Louise (Holland) Nellis, dau of Helen (MacKenzie) Holland, grdau of Ella (Gorton) MacKenzie, gt grdau of Lucinda Frances (Roberts) Gorton...]

Ella was a lot younger, 11 years, than Mary Augusta, her sister and our great grandmother. Do you think she looks like anyone in our family?

If that last picture, #4, above, "lady with the black hat," is a photo of "Great Grandma Gorton," that would be Lucinda Frances (Roberts) Gorton, (see photo we have of her below). The black hat photo could be from her younger days and the rounder face one below could be from when she was older. What do you think?

since this photo was handed down from the Roberts/Gorton line of the family, that means Barbara Hemerling, mother of Elizabeth (Meyers) Gates, is not a possible identity for this lady- wrong side of the family!

The only other woman the black hat lady could be is Emaline (Hotchkiss) Roberts, wife of John Roberts, MOTHER of Lucinda Frances Roberts. She was born in 1805 and died in 1890. If the "lady in the black hat" was Emaline, and the photo was taken around 1880, then Emaline would be about 75 years old. Does this lady look that age? It's either a woman who doesn't age (Emaline) or it must be, as the caption says, her daughter, Lucinda Frances (Roberts), Grandmother Gorton. Mystery solved, would you say?

Lady in Black Hat, captioned as
"Great Grandmother Gorton," Lucinda Frances (Roberts) Gorton

Lucinda Frances (Roberts) Gorton, aka: "Frances Lucinda"

Mary Augusta (Gorton) Myers: sister of Ella Frances.
Mary A. and Ella were both daughters of Lucinda Frances (Roberts) Gorton above.

Thanks Barb H. for your sharing of the photos of Ella.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Letters From "Aunt Ella," Ella (Gorton) Mackenzie

Letters From "Aunt Ella," Ella (Gorton) Mackenzie to Connie Gates, 1940-1943

These are two letters from Ella (Gorton) Mackenzie to my mother, Connie (Gates) Markle, 1, shortly after Connie's marriage and 2, after birth of Connie's second son, Bill.

Ella (Gorton) MacKenzie Ella calls herself "Aunt" Ella even though she wasn't really an aunt to Connie. She was aunt to Connie's mother--Frances Lenore (Myers) Gates, our grand-mother. Ella was Mary Augusta Gorton's (our great grandmother) younger sister, younger by 11 years.

Ella married Eugene C. MacKenzie and lived in Lima, Ohio with her two Mackenzie children, Kathryn and Jim, growing up together with their Myers cousins, Harry, Bert, Bill, Frances (our grandmother) and Ralph, until the Myers family moved to Hartwell in 1906, when Frances was 19 and Ralph was 14.

Since Mary, Frances' mother, had died in 1917, Ella perhaps felt that, as Mary's sister, she should take on the role of mother to Frances, and grandmother to Frances' children. Ella also shows a great closeness to her Holland grandchildren since their mother, Ella's daughter, Kathryn, died in 1931, at age 50.

Eugene had died in 1921, age 65, almost 20 years before the first letter.

The names in the letter: Kathryn, Fred, Eugene, Laddie (Rolla B.), and Louise are Kathryn's children, (Ella's grand-children). Kathryn, the younger, had two sons and had moved west.
By the second letter, the war has begun, and Louise is married to Jim who is in the army.

"Pals." Kathryn Holland, the younger, Ella's grand-daughter, and her father, Rolla B. Holland, an oil man in Iola, Kansas, photo abt 1927.

Below the images of the letters is the text. Ella says some quite beautiful things in these letters, and infers much, about marriage, widowhood and the war. Her family news illustrates the traditional way that letters held a family together. What a wonderful family of artists on the Roberts/Gorton side: painters, writers, poets, and musicians!

[Click images to enlarge. See even larger images on Markle Gates Genealogy Site]

January 5, 1940

Monday January 5, 1940

Connie dear,

It was indeed a great pleasure to hear from you again -- after such a long time -- and, while the news contained
in your letter was not altogether a surprise, I was happy to hear that news from you -- for somehow it brought
you nearer, for, as you already know you and all that concurred, you have been dear to me.

Now that you have taken this step -- I can only say from the very depths of my heart that I wish you all the
happiness and success that can come to you and I congratulate the one who has won for himself the love of a
girl as dear and sweet as you. And I feel sure, despite the little "rift within the lute," your combined efforts to
make your wedded happiness and success will bear fruit and your home life the beautiful thing it was meant to be,
and so I say God bless you.

The handkerchief you enclosed was certainly lovely. And I thank you.
My Christmas was a happy one, although as you know, there is always the vacant chair --but I have so many
blessings that I try not to let my feelings influence or mar others' happiness.

One thing that always adds much to my pleasure is to hear from them all in Iola, a custom that has existed
for the eight years they have been away. Even Kathryn’s little boys were able to wish me "Merry Christmas"
in their little childish voices, which were so good to hear.
They are all well and Kathryn seems to be growing so much like Helen-devoted to her husband and family.

Fred lives in Flora, Ill. At present, is doing well and they have a dear little girl about a year and a half old.
Eugene is in Boulder, Colo. University and Louise is at home- is a senior and next year expects to enter the same school.
She is a fine student- much interested in journalism and at present is editor of their school paper.
She has always spent her vacations with me, and we are very companionable and I love to have her.

"Laddie" or Rolla B. is located in Sedan, Kan.
Uncle Jim and Frances are well and join with me in love.
And I hope sometime we will have the pleasure of seeing you both.

And now, as I seem to have filled my letter with news of my own [life?], I hope I have not worried you.
Wishing this New Year may bring you success and great contentment. And with this little shot I will leave you-

“Today well lived makes every [day?] a day of happiness and every tomorrow a dream of hope.”

Write me again soon,
Loving you always, Aunt Ella

June 15, 1943

Connie dear:

The news of the arrival of your little son was a pleasant one and I thank you for sending it.
From Emma I had learned such an event was expected but not at what time.
That you have proved how nobly you can go down into the valley of shadow and
give to the world another son shows what a lovely woman you are and fortunate are they who can call you Mother.

Perhaps, you may have wished for a little girl, but to my way of thinking, two brothers growing up together,
sharing the same joys and childish troubles, is a most pleasant sight.
When Kathryn visited me two summers ago, it was so noticeable, for her two boys now eight and six,
were always together and happy in each other's company; and so to you and your husband,
my love and sincere congratulations.

I am quite alone now, as Louise is near her husband, who is, and has been for some time,
stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. , and she is in Fayetteville, only a few miles away.
They are pleasantly situated and Jim is able to be with her frequently.
And I might add, they are supremely happy- a great comfort to me.

If your dear mother is with you, give her my love and remind her a letter from her would be very welcome.

Again dear, my very deep love to you and yours -

Always, Aunt Ella

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jane (Eby) Gates

Jane (Eby) Gates Page

It is Ryn's birthday today, Monday, July 12, 2010, (Happy Birthday Ryn!) and even though all the Gates family back East are fast asleep, we out in California are still thinking of it as the 12th. That being so, I thought today would be a good day to announce the completion of the Jane (Eby) Gates page on the Markle Gates Genealogy Site.

Jane has quite an interesting family tree reaching back to Theodorus "Durst" Eby, a Mennonite bishop in Switzerland around 1690. Take a look at it!

Jocelyn and I were trying to decipher what the different stripes on Jane's uniform stand for in the photo above. Jane enlisted in the military on 5 March 1943. She was in the Women's Army Corps, inactive reserve, as an aviation cadet. Does anyone else know exactly what the stripes mean?

Also, I have posted a photo of Bill Gates, (at the time, my mother's younger brother and future husband of Jane Eby) that my mother had in her diary (scroll down, click 2x to enlarge). He was at Purdue, in 1941, about age 20, but was in military training at the time, so he is in uniform.

This was 4 years before he marries Jane in Caserta, Italy. Were they both stationed in Caserta and met there? Or did they meet earlier? These are questions for our Gates cousins: please post us some answers on the website so we can fill in the details of the story!

We miss you Jane!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Goetz Story in Nuremberg, Germany

May 2, 2010

Hello my dear Gates cousins and interested visitors-

We have traced the name GATES from Cincinnati, Ohio to Nuremberg, Germany and found the spelling of the name changed as it went back in time from GATES to GOETZ, to GÖTZ, to GÖZ. We have found that the name GOETZ, GÖTZ, and GÖZ are all pronounced “gets, as in Stan Getz, or “guts,” meaning pet form of “good” or “God” in German.

But we have left out half of the family- the wives! Each wife is another character in our family story and she represents another family surname to study. Who were these wives and where did they come from?

The only way to find these wives is by searching just a few church records listing marriages, births and deaths of four generations. Besides the names and dates, all we really know from these records is the town in which the birth, marriage or death occurred and the occupations of the fathers. Apparently, not much to build a riveting story upon but nonetheless, if you read on, you’ll find mystery, revolution, serendipity, discovery and surprise, all derived from just these plain facts.

The quickest way to meet all the main characters in our Goetz story is to see their relationships on a chart. Below is a pedigree chart of John Charles Marcus GATES (at birth: “Johann Karl Markus GÖTZ”), our great grand-father. (family surnames are color-coded.)

(Click 2x on chart to enlarge)

On the chart you will see that we have three generations of paternal GOETZ/GÖTZ ancestors but only one generation of ancestors on the maternal STEFFLER line.

On the GÖTZ side, we have three other surnames of the wives: ORFF, WEISSPOMCRAZ (WEIßPOMCRAZ in German), and ZELTNER, each representing other ancestral lines.

The two recent GÖTZ men were filemakers, as was the ORFF family, but the earlier GÖTZ men were blade sharpeners. The ZELTNER and STEFFLER men were spur-makers, and the WEISSPOMCRAZ was a trader. Except for the trader, their occupations were all involved with metal and perhaps even the trader, if he traded metals.


We’ve got the characters, so now we need the setting. We know the story takes place in Nuremberg, Germany. It seems that Nuremberg was fortuitously situated on both the east/west and the north/south European trade routes and so became a hub of prosperous trading. Thus, the old German proverb: "Nuremberg's hand goes through every land."

Despite “the town had no vineyards nor was the Pegnitz a navigable stream and the soil was poor” (reasons given to King Frederick in 1219 when requesting his protection of the town), by the end of the fourteenth century, Nuremberg became the main European producer of metal ware due the abundant iron ore deposits of the Upper Palatinate, newly acquired territory at its northeastern edge.

Woodcut of Nuremberg from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493 (-Wikipedia)

Cliff-notes, condensed version of the Goetz story with colorized surnames

The oldest records show that the Johann Orff and Alexander Zeltner families lived in Nuremberg to start with, around 1720. The Orffs were filemakers and the Zeltners were spur makers, both metal workers. Might their families have been associated with each other because they were both metalworkers? The Zeltner spur maker daughter, Margareta, marries the Off file maker son, Christoph, in Nuremberg in1773 and they had an Orff daughter, Anna Barbara, who was waiting in Nuremberg for the Götz boy to come along.

Seven miles outside of Nuremberg, in Gerasmühle, the Nicolaus Göz family men were blade sharpeners in the early 1700’s. The Göz son, Heinrich, married Maria, the daughter of a Jacob Weisspomcraz, a trader from Schweinau, a town two miles outside of Nuremberg, in 1762 and they had a Götz son, Johann, who moved closer in to the center of Nuremberg. Johann became a file maker, perhaps working with the Orff file maker family. He marries the waiting Anna Barbara Orff file maker daughter in 1798. They had a Götz son, Christoph, in 1809, who also became a file maker. This Christoph Götz then married Anna Sibylla, a daughter of a Spur maker, Lorenz Steffler, in 1838. It was this couple, Christoph Götz and Anna Sibylla Steffler, who lived through the years leading up to the revolution of 1848 and who had the 6 Götz children who all came to Angola, Indiana.

Now that you have a rough idea of the people in this Goetz clan, perhaps you’d be interested in following the more detailed story about the individuals, the action of the story.

Generation Four: John C.M. Gates’ Parents

The parents of our great grandfather, John C. M. GATES, were Christoph GOETZ (GÖTZ), the “Feilenhauermeister” (master file maker) and Anna Sibylla STEFFLER. They were married 13 Feb. 1838 at St. Jakob's church in Nuremberg, Germany.

St. Jakob’s Church Nuremberg, Germany

Christoph died in Germany in 1857 but his wife and four sons, Lawrence, John C.M., Christopher, William and two daughters, Margaret and Christina Barbara, immigrated to Angola, Indiana between 1853 to1867.

Generation Three: John C.M. Gates’ Maternal Grandparents

The marriage record of Christoph GÖTZ and Anna Sibylla STEFFLER, lists Anna Sibylla as the "Tochter" (daughter) of the "Spornmeisters" (master spur makers) Lorenz STEFFLER and Anna Margaretha.

Lorenz STEFFLER was the grandfather who brought the first of the GÖTZ family, Lawrence GATES (John C.M. GATES' older brother) to Angola, Indiana in 1853, dropped him off and then left him there at age 14, presumably with friends. On the 1860 Angola, Indiana census, Lawrence, age 21, is living with the Ebenezer JOHNSON family and is listed as a farm laborer.

Why Angola?

This remains a mystery. Was Angola a town that was populated with many Germans? Did the GÖTZ family have a friend there that would apprentice their son? And why that particular age? Was the GÖTZ family trying to avoid some required German military training since the boys immigrated at ages 14, 19 and 17 in 1853, 1864 and 1865?

Perhaps the GÖTZ family might have been one of the many skilled and educated German families who gave up on Germany after the failed revolution of 1848. "Forty-eighters" they were called- they were the thousands who streamed to America in hopes of a country "freer" than their own after the revolution that "never happened." Was this the "war" that our family oral history referred to?

“Disappointed at the failure of the revolution to bring about the reform of the system of government in Germany or the Austrian Empire, and sometimes on the government's wanted list because of their involvement in the revolution, they gave up their old lives to try again abroad.”-Wikipedia

Could the “wanted list” of the authorities be the part of our family legend that hinted at our ancestors “escaping from the government?”

So many Germans came to the US after 1848 that certain U.S. cities had whole sections that completely replicated German life. Cincinnati, Ohio, where John C.M. Gates lived and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where John C.M.’s younger brother, Christopher Gates, first lived, were two such cities.

More than 30,000 Forty-Eighters settled in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio … many German Forty-Eighters settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, helping solidify that city's progressive political bent and cultural Deutschtum. The Acht-und-vierzigers [“eight and forty”] and their descendants contributed to the development of that city's long Socialist political tradition.-Wikipedia

Angola, Pleasant Township, Steuben County, Indiana

After their father, Christoph, died in 1857, John C.M. GÖTZ came to the U.S. in 1864, at age 19, and his younger brother, Christopher came a year later in 1865, at age 17, both changing their name from GOETZ/GÖTZ to GATES. It would be another 10 years before Christoph's widow, Anna Sibylla GÖTZ, would come with her two married daughters, Margaret and Christina Barbara and their husbands, Herman FIEDLER and Georg Leonard WEISS, and Anna's youngest son, William, age 12, to join their brothers in the same town of Angola, Indiana, in 1867.

Many educated Germans arrived in the U.S. only to discover they couldn’t find any work.

“…men who were at home in every branch of learning were forced to support themselves…by making cigars, acting as waiters or house-servants, boot-blacks or street-sweepers…” -Carl Wittke, Refugees of Revolution: The German Forty-Eighters in America, Philadelphia: Univ. of Penn. Press, 1952,

Our Gates men were lucky. John C.M. worked first as a clerk, then as a distillery salesman in Cincinnati, Ohio and Christopher became a civil engineer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Toledo, Ohio. Their oldest brother Lawrence served in the Civil War and then worked in dry goods, then banking and fire insurance in Angola, Indiana and their youngest brother, William, eventually became a tailor, also in Angola.

Generation Three: John C.M. Gates’ Paternal Grandparents

John C.M. GATES' paternal grandparents were Johann Wolfgang GÖTZ, a Feilenhauer (file maker), and Anna Barbara ORFF. Johann and Anna Barbara were married at the St. Lorenz church in Nuremberg, Germany in 1798.

St. Lorenz Church, Nuremberg, Germany

Johann Wolfgang GÖTZ was from a different part of Nuremberg known as Gerasmühle, about 7.5 miles southwest of the center of Nuremberg. Johann Wolfgang GÖTZ and Anna Barbara ORFF had nine children, born between 1799 and1811, including one set of twins. Christoph, John C.M. GATES' father, was the 8th child of that family.

According to records from the St. Lorenz and St. Jakob’s Churches in Nuremberg, Christoph
GÖTZ ' 8 siblings were: Johann Benedikt, Margareta Barbara, Conrad Christoph, Johann Georg, Maria Barbara, Heinrich and Ursula Margareta (twins), and Conrad Wolfgang.

Church records show that three of these GÖTZ siblings married: Conrad Wolfgang Götz married a Maria Sabina BAYERLEIN in 1846. Johann Georg Götz married a Christina Barbara BACKRASS in 1832.

Here’s the Serendipity…

And in 1823, Margareta Barbara Götz married a Johann MERKEL! (Small world!) Any of these married siblings might have living descendants who would be our German cousins, maybe even living right now in Nuremberg!

Generation Two: John C.M. Gates’ great grandparents

John C.M. GATES’ great grandfather (father of Johann Wolfgang GÖTZ) was Heinrich GÖZ, a “Klingenschleifermeister,” (master blade sharpener) from Gerasmühle. Note the name GÖTZ was then spelled GÖZ. Heinrich GÖZ’s wife was Maria Magdalena WEISSPOMCRAZ. They married in 1762 at St. Leonhard’s Church.

St. Leonhard Church, Schweinau, Germany

John C.M. GATES’ other set of known great grandparents (Anna Barbara ORFF’s parents) were: Christoph ORFF, a “feilenhauermeister,” and Margareta Barbara ZELTNER. They were married in St. Lorenz Church in 1773, three years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, PA.

Generation One: John C.M. Gates’ great, great grandparents

From Heinrich GÖZ and Maria Magdalena WEISSPOMCRAZ's marriage record we learn that Heinrich was the son of Nicolaus GÖZ, a “Klingenschleifermeister,” master blade sharpener, from Gerasmühle. We also learn that Maria Magdalena WEISSPOMCRAZ was the daughter of Jacop WEISSPOMCRAZ, a "handelsmann" (trader) from Schweinau, a town 2 miles outside the center of Nuremberg.

From Christoph ORFF and Margareta Barbara ZELTNER's marriage record, we learn that Christoph Orff’s parents were Johann ORFF, from Nuremberg and Margareta Barbara.

We also find that Margareta Barbara ZELTNER's father was Alexander ZELTNER, of Nuremberg, and her mother was Barbara. A lot of Barbara’s. Notice how the names Christoph, Johann, Lorenz, Anna, Margaret and Barbara repeat through the generations? Alexander ZELTNER is listed on their marriage record as a “Spornmeister” or master spur-maker. This is as far back that our GOETZ German ancestors go. They would be our great, great, great, great, great, grandparents!

ZELTNER seems to be a prominent name in Nuremberg. Not sure if any of these Zeltners are related or not, but in 1877 in Nuremberg, a Johannes ZELTNER was awarded a patent for producing synthetic ultramarine red. In 1716, in Nuremberg, Johann Conrad ZELTNER published the biographies of 100 proofreaders. And in 1722, in Nuremberg, Gustav Georg ZELTNER, a Protestant theologian, published books on M. Luther and was a Christian scholar on Hebrew literature. Anyone want to do some research and see if these ZELTNERs are related to our Alexander?

Is there anything to discover from all this history?

If you’re wondering how knowing about all these events from the past might change who you think you are, well, you might be surprised by this:

The family story handed down to me about our Goetz history was that our “stern great grandfather” (John C.M. Gates) was the driving force of our family’s Catholic orientation and that he had left Germany because of religious persecution.

John Charles Marcus Gates

Yet this history of religious persecution does not seem fit the facts of our family history. Here’s why:

  1. Anna Sibylla Gates, John Charles Marcus Gates’ mother, lived in Angola, Indiana until she died on April 29, 1898, at age 83. Her Angola obituary says "...she was a member of the German Lutheran church since early childhood..." and her funeral was in an Angola Methodist Church. Her birth certificate says she was baptized “according to the Evangelical-Lutheran rites.”

  1. Although originally Catholic churches, St. Lorenz and St. Jakob, the churches in Nuremberg where John C.M. Gates’ parents, Anna Sibylla and Christoph GÖTZ, were baptized, married and where their children were baptized (and the same the churches in which the earlier generations of GÖTZ, ORFF, WEISSPOMCRAZ and ZELTNER families were baptized, married and buried), these churches were Protestant since the time of the Reformation, about 1517!

Nurnberg, 1575

These facts give us good reason to believe that John Charles Marcus GATES was Protestant by birth and converted to Catholicism probably when he married Elizabeth LaSalle Meyers, our great grandmother, in 1870, only a short 6 years after he arrived in the US.

Elizabeth LaSalle Gates was always referred to as a "strong Catholic" by her daughter-in-law, Frances Lenore (Myers) Gates and, in her photographs, Elizabeth is often seen wearing a large cross on a necklace.

Did Elizabeth’s Catholicism come from her parents? Although Elizabeth’s father, Ernest Robert LaSalle, was from France, Elizabeth’s mother, Barbara Hemerling, was from Wurttemberg, Germany and Elizabeth's adopted father, Andrew Meyers, was from Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. Were these areas where Catholics were dissatisfied with minority treatment in Protestant Germany and wanted to emigrate? More research into the history of Catholics in Germany is clearly necessary!

All of our upbringings have always had a strong Catholic theme, passed down from our parents, passed down from their father, Augustus J. Gates, who was Elizabeth's seventh child. Does it surprise you to consider that all our family's Catholicism derived from Elizabeth LaSalle instead of from her husband, John C.M. Gates? Doesn’t THAT change the way you see yourself?

Elizabeth LaSalle Meyers Gates

by Jan R. Markle

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lost Goetz family found! Photo below

28 Feb. 2010
Hello my dear Gates cousins-

I can only match the depth of my apology for not posting sooner with the momentousness of the latest discovery I have to share with you!

Perhaps it's because we just recently lost Aunt Jane and before her, Aunt Fran and Aunt Kitty, but I got searching our Gates line again. And what did I find? Someone searching for us!

I just happened to notice someone online looking for "her relative," named "John Carl Marcus Gates" and that seemed close enough to AJ Gates’ father, John Charles Marcus Gates, to be the same man.

What did we already know about John Charles Marcus Gates besides he came from Nuremberg, Germany and the family name was Anglicized from Goetz to Gates?

In the early 70’s, Nana had told me John C. M. Gates had brothers named Christopher (an engineer who gave Gramp one of his first jobs in Cuba) and Leo. Nana identified Leo’s sons, (Gramp’s cousins) as "Fred, Harry and Lou" who married "Sue, Marie and Clara."

I had found Christopher because I remember my mother saying he lived in Toledo, Ohio but to try and find the other brother, "Leo," I had to look up all families that had siblings Fred, Harry and Lou Gates and try to find ones who married Sue, Marie and Clara. There was only one family with sons of that name but the father was Lawrence, not Leo! And he was in Indiana, not Ohio. But his sons were named Fred, Harry and Lou and they had married a Sue, Marie and Clara. Marie’s last name was Beery and I remember our family always saying that Wallace Beery (old-time famous actor) was our “23rd cousin," so this HAD to be the right family.

After comparing notes with my new-found researcher, Marilynn Marshall, I found out that John Charles Marcus Gates was actually "Johan Carl Markus Goetz" at birth (Sharon, you were right about his name being "Johan" on his immigration record!). He not only had the 2 brothers, Christopher and Lawrence, that I suspected he had, but he also had another brother, William, and 2 sisters, Margaret and Christina! No one ever mentioned sisters to me.

They were all living from about 1860 into the 1900's in the village of Angola, Pleasant township, Steuben County, Indiana while John C.M. Gates and his wife Elizabeth LaSalle were busy raising their 6 sons (including our A.J. Gates) and 2 daughters in Hartwell, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

Marilynn, who is our second cousin once removed, was searching for our John Charles (or Carl) Marcus Gates because she is the grand-daughter of John's sister, Christina Barbara Gates. Well, of course, the one question I wanted to ask her was: what were the names of John C.M.'s parents?

Aunt Bobbie, aka "Aunt Gertie" (Gertrude Gates Vogel), had written on John C.M.'s 1932 death certificate, "Karl and Christine" as John’s parents but John himself had listed on his 1922 passport application that his father was named "Christopher."

Marilyn straightened me out. John's parents' names were "Christoph Goetz" and "Anna Sibylla Steffler." And why do I believe her? Because she got the records from the Archive in Nuremberg, Germany!

Names recorded in the Landeskirchliches Archiv, Nuremberg, GY, Nov. 9, 1990, as children of Christoph Götz, and Anna Sibylla Steffler are:

"Lorenz": April 25, 1839 (Lawrence)

"Anna Margaretha Carolina": March 1, 1841 (Margaret)

"Christiane Barbara": Dec. 18, 1842 (Christina)

"Johann Karl Markus": June 28, 1845 (John)

"Lorenz Christoph": June 13, 1848 (Christopher)

"Johann Wilhelm Christoph": Dec. 18, 1854 (William)

And if you still wondering, perhaps this will convince you.

The Goetz Family, photo taken May 2, 1898

L to R, front row: Margaret, Lawrence, Christina, L to R, back row: William, John, Christopher

Here is an excerpt from an article in an Angola, Steuben County, Indiana, newspaper, dated Jan. 26, 1913:

"At the residence of Mr. And Mrs. Lawrence Gates there was quite a reunion of the Gates family the past week. John of Cincinnati and Christopher of Toledo came Saturday afternoon and met their brothers Lawrence and William and sisters Margaret Fiedler and Christina Weiss and enjoyed a most pleasant visit and grand dinner. The immediate younger members of these families were with them on Sunday and all hope that many more such meetings may be had in the future. John and Christopher returned to their homes on Monday morning."

Lawrence had immigrated from Nuremberg in 1853 when he was 14, John came over in 1864, when he was 19, Christopher came over in 1865, when he was 17, and William C., and his two sisters, ages 12, 25 and 26 came over with their mother in 1867 after their father, Christoph Goetz , died in 1857.

The story handed down to me was that there was a war in Germany and John C.M.’s father was killed in the war, but that is not the story that Marilynn's grandmother, Christina Barbara told her, after having lived 25 years in Germany before coming over. It may take a bit of research to find out which social events going on in Germany at that time were being referred to as a "war" by our Gates historians.

Christopher, the patriarch, was a Feilenhauermeister, "master filemaker." Can you feel that word stir your German roots? The Archives in Nuremberg go back 3 more generations past Christoph to Johann Wolfgang Goz, then to Heinrich Goz and then to Nicolaus Goz. You can see a chart of them and their wives by going to the surname database at Jan's Genealogy Site.

I have many more surprising discoveries to share about our Goetz family and I will bring another story to you next week. I only wish that our departed Gates family members might be able to share this joy of discovering our lost family!


Here you'll find: information that usually goes out to the Gates Cousins email list, biographies of special characters as they are discovered and added to the family tree, research histories of select cases, questions and wonderings about hard-to-solve
searches and other miscellaneous thoughts about genealogy and its mysterious ability to transcend time, changing us hundreds of years after the changing event occurred.