Monday, December 12, 2011

Mary Mayer Kuck

Mary Mayer Kuck
I don't know much about Mary Mayer because she lived just a short life. All my knowledge lies in just a handful of records. I have her marriage certificate from Galena, Illinois where my 3rd great grandfather John Kuck met and married her while doing an apprenticeship at a harness shop, I have two census records in 1860 and 1870 that list her and I have a newspaper clipping detailing the tragic death of Mary at age 42 and five of her seven children in a diphtheria epidemic.


As often is the case, my search into who my 3rd great grandmother was begun with the record of her death. Mary Mayer was born in Switzerland on 7 January 1837. The date and oddly enough her country of origin comes from her gravestone shown above though the latter is listed in both census records I have on her. I haven't seen another gravestone that announces the country someone was born in before but this one lists two different countries, Germany and Switzerland as well as the United States by default when it lists the towns that five of their seven children were born in. I have no records for her before 31 May 1860 when she got married and the following marriage certificate was filled out.


I have done quite a bit of looking into who her parents could be but have never been able to conclusively identify any. Part of this problem is that there are a lot of Mayers in the area at the time, the part of Switzerland that she was from may have been on the border with Germany and thus listed that way on census records and that there are a lot of spellings for Meyer, Myer, Mier, Mayer, etc. Her first born daughter was named for her mother-in-law, her first born son after her father-in-law. Her second daughter was named Lydia and thus by naming conventions present in the family, I suspect that could possibly be her mother's name especially since Lydia was a name I've found on her husband's side of the family. The second son born to Mary was named George. By naming standards, this could be her father's name but it is also the name of her husband John's youngest brother who died ten years earlier. The third son was named Edward which again, isn't a name used by John Kuck's family. I have spend time searching for a George & Lydia Mayer or an Edward & Lydia Mayer but to date, haven't found any that could match up as parents to Mary.


Most of the information I have on Mary was found in this old newspaper article that was in my 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Cogswell Kuck's scrapbook and that isn't much. My hope for future research is to scan the newspapers during the months that her children died to see if perhaps I can glean a clue or two from anything written about them. For that very reason, I made a trip up to the nearest state historical library a month ago which has newspapers from that time frame but alas, the newspapers from Charles City were absent during that year. I have since asked a local genealogist to that area whom has looked up information for me in the past to check out the local library to see if they have newspapers from that time frame. He said he would but due to the time of year, I may have to wait for the first of the year for my answer. Sometime waiting is the hardest part.

10 comments:

R. Sherman said...

There are a number of German and Swiss enclaves/exclaves along the border. The confusion as to her birth location, could be because she was born in one of those locations.

Cheers.

Vince said...

I went with a girl that was from Bern. She and all her family called themselves Swiss-German. Basically one designation, not as in Swiss and German.

Vince said...

Why Mary ?.

Ed said...

Vince - I'm not sure I follow what you are asking?

Vince said...

She's married as Mary and buried as Mary. But Mary is Marion or Maria in German. And in the USA Maria was never a problem, Mayer was, so why a change.

Ed said...

Vince - The search engines available for searching through records allow for seaches of names with similar meanings, i.e. Mary, Maria, Marian, etc. It does the same with last names as well. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to turn up any results that I can pin down as being her. Sometimes it is the proving of a record that is the hardest part.

Vince said...

Why don't you ring the Swiss. They have really good records.

sage said...

the tragedies of the past--five children and a mother in one epidemic!

A rootdigger said...

I was shown a link to Meyer in New York at Genealogy.net. The people were from Lesum { hope I spelled it correctly]while checking on this I noticed a Mary Meyer born 1837 in Galena, Illinois. Spouse Kuck. Now I have seen the name Kuck in my research of my family and that has to do with some of the family at Joliet, Illinosand Iowa. But at the moment I am trying to find out who her parents were. Now here, I see she was born in Switzerland? I will read more, and maybe I will have a few more questions for you.I was about to go to ancestry too and check the censuses and maybe births. and maybe census of 1940 might be helpful too. I think a person of the tree was named L something Meyer submitting perhaps.

A rootdigger said...

http://www.online-ofb.de/famreport.php?ofb=grasberg&ID=I23918&nachname=MEYER&modus=&lang=de
And Grasberg.
Wondering If I found your blog before?
My own Meyer came to Galena 1869 for a short time before moving on. Mier, Mayer, Myer. etc. They were to live with Maria Ahrens Mollman> His name Herman Mollman or even Molleman.