The Free Democrat

The Free Democrat

Friday, November 27, 2015

English or German language clippings? it's your choice.

Mrs. Catherine Dorothy Zach's death notice found in the Milwaukee Journal has been digitized into illegibility, but I checked a library microfilm and counted 50 words. The notice provides information about the arrangements, but only makes limited mention of the family: her daughters are identified by their husband's names.

The German language death notice (119 words) is not only more comprehensive but it's progessive too. It sets the scene for us -- during her long illness she was provided with the Last Rights -- and includes Mrs. Zach's maiden name (Golner), provides her daughter's given names separately from their husband's names, names her daughter-in-law and even references Mrs. Zach's siblings. It's a research and German-American cultural gem!

This is the family's paid death notice for Mrs. Zach; there was no separate obituary article written by the newspaper.

This difference between competing papers isn't always the case - it may even be found reversed - but it bears understanding by family researchers or anyone else doing research in Milwaukee. These differences may also be found in a comparison between the English language papers and Milwaukee's Polish language newspapers.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

1890s tremors of the Schandein-Best-Heyl-Pabst scandal erupting in 1905

Dr. Louis Frank and Ella Schandein and their families traveled to Landstuhl an der Pfalz for their marriage and its celebration. Upon arrival, they found questions had been brought about Dr. Frank's freedom to marry causing the local German government to publish marriage banns all the way back home in Milwaukee's German language press. Dr. Frank was cleared of any suspicion of bigamy, the marriage took place, and the couple played a roll in the rescue of members of the Schandein family leading up to the scandal that reached local courts in 1905.

Schandein house of horrors, 2400 W. Wisconsin Ave.
(Caution! scandalous reading found through the following links.)
Read more here:

Read an earlier version here:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tempering Schadenfreude with Shenanigans!

Tempering Schadenfreude with Shenanigans! Milwaukee's Irish research community is going to learn more about Milwaukee's German language press and how it incorporated other ethnic groups.
Monday, Nov. 2, 7PM, at the Irish Cultural Heritage Center, 2133 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233 (414) 345-8800

(The genealogy portion of the growing data file will be available to browse, but be sure to bring paper & pencil.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Prussia to Milwaukee; an immigrant's dilemma ...

Gustav and Emilie Zimpel (from Gross Lops, Prussia) arrived in Milwaukee and were staying at a hotel called the Russel House on East Water Street. They were at a loss to find their sister Theresa; either she was expected to be living somewhere in Milwaukee, or at the very least, reading local German language newspapers to learn of her siblings' arrival.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The American worker and the Republican ticket (1892)

Very occasionally you'll find that the German language press published in English like this cartoon republished from another paper in Sept. 1892 -- as timely now as it was then.
A more common example would be court or other other legal notices found published in English, even tho' sometimes explicitly designated to be published in the German language press.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A record of original bits of Milwaukee's Germanic architectural flavor

The Meinecke Building on E. Wells Street (across from the Pabst Theater) was built 1891/1892 as pictured, but lost its original Germanic decorative features. This may have been done with repairs and renovation due to a fire: the building gained a full 6th floor and a more standard and sedate Classical style (according to local historian Y. Marti).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

featuring Milwaukee's prominent & well known 99%!

A lovely photo and biography of Louis Manz, long-time mailman to Milwaukee's South Side, on the occasion of his 81st birthday.

Family researchers sometimes tell me that there must be something in the local German press about their ancestor so-and-so because they were prominent or well known. Could be, you'll have to look.

In any case, that was certainly true of Louis Manz, as he would've been a prominent feature of the neighborhood AND well-known to the people on his mail route.