Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Bergschneiders?

I'm sure you are wondering about the title I chose for my genealogy blog. Everyone who studies their family history has a starting point. Here is my story, how I am related to the Bergschneiders, and a really cool old photograph.

I was walking through my grandmother's house one time a little over 10 years ago. My grandparents had moved into town (Springfield, IL) from the family farm out near New Berlin, IL. Gramma Fuchs had many old photographs lining her walls, and there was one in particular that caught my eye:

I always asked Gramma, "Which one am I related to? I know you've told me before." The answer was always the same. She smiled, told me I was actually related to all of them, but the one man, the second from the left on the back row, is the one I was thinking of, and his name is Theodore, just like his father.

This family photograph is what got me asking questions, writing things down, learning how to research different documents and censuses, and figuring out my story. The story began with me, and worked its way backwards very quickly with every question I asked. This family, a mother, father, and fourteen children, all of whom survived to adulthood(!), is as follows:

Theodore J Bergschneider was born to Franz Joseph Bergschneider and Elizabeth Thomasmeier near Thuele, Germany on 14 October 1829. Theodore J immigrated to America in 1851, with his brother Henry. A brother, Stephen, joined them in 1854, and his parents and the remaining 3 children plus a son-in-law immigrated in 1857. They all settled near Jacksonville, Illinois and farmed. Theodore J married Gertrude Nelle, born 25 December 1839, also in Germany, called Prussia at that time, and they had the following 14 children:

Elizabeth S, 1859
Joseph L, 1862
Mary J, 1863
John Joseph, 1864
Theodore H, 1867
Magdalena Ann, 1869
Henry John, 1871
Gertrude T, 1873
Anton E, 1875
Minnie J, 1877
Godfrey Martin, 1880
William H, 1882
George H, 1885
Francis J, 1889

Based on those birthdays, and that Francis (Frank) looks about 2 in the photo, I'm guessing the photo is circa 1891. Comments?

Theodore H Bergschneider is my 2nd great grandfather. He married Sophia Wetterer. This photo is Theodore, Sophie and their three children, (l-r) Harry, Eda, and Rosella (my great-grandmother). This was taken at their home/farm.

Rosella was born in 1893, Harry in 1895, and Eda in 1900. This would date the photo to about 1904. Again, comments are welcome. :)

As I began to delve into the Bergschneider family of 14 children, I began to find out there were more Bergschneiders, and MORE Bergschneiders! Theodore J was one of the original family of 6 children that immigrated. He and his wife had 14 children, as we saw in the photograph. How many grandchildren did Franz Joseph and Elizabeth end up with once all 6 of their children had married? To the best of my current research, there are 66! The breakdown? Theodore, 14; Henry, 10; Mary, 9; Stephen, 13; Joseph, 6; and Antony (married twice), 14. Eventually, I'll blog a breakdown of each family, complete with any photos I've been able to access. Until then, stay tuned!


  1. Ah, those big families are one of the gifts that keeps on giving in genealogy. Took me forever to trace descendants of the gg-grandfather who had 26 children with three wives.

  2. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  3. I enjoyed reading your post and seeing the great pictures. Welcome to the world of geneabloggers!

  4. Thank you Dr. Bill and Brenda for the warm welcome! There are several new posts in the works. They will be up soon!