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…

Blogging Prompts, Hoffmann Line, Hunkler, Immigration, Research, Surname Saturday, Swing

Surname Saturday – Hunkler

According to Ancestry.com, the surname Hunkler is of Swiss German derivation, a shortened form of a Germanic personal name meaning either “giant” or “bear cub.”  In the 2000 census, there were only 241 individuals in the U.S. named Hunkler.

Our Hunkler branch also hails from Switzerland – the earliest known ancestor by this name was John George Hunkler who was born in Switzerland and was apparently a bricklayer.  He and his wife, Margaret Egger, had six children: Huldreich, Ursule, George John, Henry, John George, and Adeline.  The three boys and Adeline (Adella) emigrated to the U.S. at various times in the 1880s or after.  I’ve found the emigration record for John George, who was 15 when he sailed (apparently alone) on the ship Belgenland in 1886:

After arriving in the U.S. Adella married Fritz Meier and eventually settled in Michigan. She died in 1958 in White Pigeon.

The three Hunkler sons settled in Illinois.  The eldest, my great-great-grandfather George John, born September 20, 1862, emigrated around 1883 and by 1886 was in Washington, Illinois.  On December 14 of that year he married Maria Elisabeth Rusch, paying $19.78 for her passage on a Red Star Line steamer from Antwerp to New York or Philadelphia, and railroad fare from Basel to Antwerp and from New York or Philadelphia to Washington, Illinois. George and Maria had five children: Bertha Elizabeth (Bert), Matilda (Tillie), John George, Lena Agnes, and Hulda Catherine. George John died in 1934, Maria in 1948; both are buried in Glendale Cemetery in Washington.

Lena Hunkler at 15

Lena, my great-grandmother, was born December 22, 1892 in Washington and married Albert Carl Swing one hundred years ago this June 18. They had three children: Roy Albert, Velma Marie (my maternal grandmother), and Marilyn Margaret. Lena and Albert eventually moved to Harlingen, Texas, dying in 1969 and 1964, and are buried at Restlawn Cemetery in La Feria.

Henry Hunkler, born 1864, married Elizabeth Hess in 1891 and had four children: Elmer Henry, Irma Elizabeth, Arthur Melven, and Mildred Bernice. Henry died in 1928 in Washington, Illinois (Elizabeth in 1926), and is also buried in Glendale Cemetery.

John George married Bertha Geiger in 1904 and had two children: Agnes Alvina and Walter Eugene.  John and Bertha are also buried in Glendale Cemetery after dying in 1955 and 1946.