Blogging Prompts, Demler, Fairbury, Hoffmann Line, Slagel, Surname Saturday

Surname Saturday – the Demlers of Baden and Fairbury

Our Demler family came to Fairbury, Illinois, from Baden, Germany in 1864. Ancestry.com provides two possible meanings for this surname:

German: from an old personal name, Damo, a short form of a compound name formed with Old High German tac ‘day’.Perhaps an altered spelling of German Demmler, a southern nickname for a glutton, from an agent derivative of Middle High German demmen ‘to indulge oneself’, or a northern nickname from Middle Low German damelaer, demeler ‘prankster’, ‘flirt’. 

Why do I suddenly feel like visiting a buffet? Anyway…our branch begins with Johan Demler, born between 1815-1816 in Baden. His parentage is unknown; he married Catherine Marie Reser who was born in Baden between 1823 and 1824. Johan and Catherine had three children, all born in Baden: Wilhelm K., born November 15, 1847; August Frederick, born about 1849; and Mary (my great-great-grandmother), born January 17, 1855.

The family arrived on December 3, 1864, in New York City on the J.A. Stamler after a 34-day ocean voyage. Records from the Castle Garden Immigration Center list the following family members: Johan, age 48; Maria, age 40; Wilhelm, age 18; August, age 16; and Marie, age 11.

Around 1867 the family moved to Indian Grove Township in Livingston County, Illinois, and in November 1873 moved into Fairbury itself. In 1880 Johan (enumerated as “John”) appears in the home of his son Wilhelm (“William”) in Belle Prairie Township. Johan is listed as married, but Catherine’s whereabouts are unknown. He died about 1890, supposedly as the result of a horse accident, and was buried in the South Apostolic Christian Cemetery, though again I am not yet sure of the exact location.

Wilhelm married Anna Keller (born November 17, 1845 in Zurich, Switzerland) in Indian Grove township in 1878, and they had seven children: Emma Ida, William Henry, Louise Ann, Samuel Albert, Benjamin E., Ernest J., and Anna. August Frederick married Caroline Fankhouser (born February 26, 1860 in Ohio), and they had thirteen children: Emma Ida, Charles, George, Lena Helen, John, William, Henry E., Mary Wina, Tadry, Katie, August, Cora, and Josephine. From our own branch, Mary/Marie married Samuel Slagel (born November 30, 1849), and they had four children: Samuel, Daniel, Emma Alice (my great-grandmother), and Joseph J.

Now, about that buffet…