Graceland Cemetery in Fairbury, Illinois is the burial place for any number of my maternal relatives. The patriarch of this bunch was Jacob Hoffmann, born September 18, 1836 in Mackwiller, France. Jacob was married twice, the first time to Annette Meyer. Jacob and Annette had ten children: Lisa, Anna, John, Catherine, Magdalena, Sophie, Eugenie, Caroline, Marie, and Joseph. Annette died June 26, 1874 in Renaucourt, France, aged 46. Seven months later Jacob married Christine (or Christina) Schmidt, born March 26, 1851 in Butten, France. Jacob and Christine had seven children; the first three, Louise, Lydia, and Paul, were born in France. In 1881 Jacob’s daughter Anna, now married to Ferdinand Schott, emigrated to Illinois. In 1883 Jacob, Christine, and most of Jacob’s children, moved to Illinois as well. Only Lisa and John remained behind. Jacob and Christine had four more children in Illinois: Andrew, Maggie, Samuel, and Lucy.
Jacob and Annette’s daughter Catherine married Albert Carl Swing and had a son also named Albert Carl Swing. Albert Carl, Jr., had a daughter named Velma. Jacob and Christine had a son named Paul, who had a son named Joseph. Velma and Joseph married March 12, 1938 (75 years ago last March); they were half first cousins once removed, and my grandparents. This makes me, not my own grandpa, but my own half third cousin once removed. Grandpa Joseph Hoffmann died May 16, 1983, 30 years ago this month, and 100 years to the day after his grandfather arrived in Philadelphia on the sailing ship Zeeland.