Ferdinand Hermann Hachez (1818-1874), Bremen to New Holstein

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52 Weeks, 52 Ancestors, Number 5
Ferdinand Hermann Hachez (1818-1874), Bremen to New Holstein

I love chocolate. However, as I set out to research my mother’s ancestors, I never expected to find a relative establishing a famous brand of chocolate in Bremen, Germany, in the late 1800s. But I did.

I knew the Hachez surname well as part of our family history, thanks to my mother and grandmother. In fact, the first family surname I ever put into Google was Hachez, along with the Wisconsin town of New Holstein. When I got immediate and relevant results, I was hooked on genealogy.

Most of the settlers of New Holstein in Calumet County, came from the Schleswig-Holstein region of northern Germany, just south of Denmark. But Ferdinand Herman Hachez was distinctive. The 1870 Census shows that he came to from Gem. Bremen, in other words Gemeinde Bremen or Municipality Bremen, located in the Hannover region. Discovering his family and his life took resources in America and Europe, online and off, including the assistance of a skilled genealogist in Germany.

We found that Ferdinand Hermann Hachez was born into the Bremen merchant family, surname Hachez, his parents being Johann Ferdinand Dominikus Hachez and Hermine Constanze Detmers. He was born on 20 Sept 1818 in Celle, Hannover, Germany, according to an old family group sheet and the Bremen local family heritage book held at Die Maus, the Bremen Genealogical Society. He was baptized at Celle on 27 Sep 1818, according to the Kirkenbuch or church book for the Catholic Church in Celle, which is south of Bremen.

The Hachez name is well known in Bremen, due to the chocolate company that exists even today, although the family itself is gone. That fame prompted Hermann Sandkühler to write the article “Schiffe und Schokolade zweimal Joseph Hachez” (Ships and Chocolate Twice Joseph Hachez), available online in German, to explain the family origins in Belgium and arrival in Bremen in 1785. Find the article here. Then put the URL in a free online translation service to read it in English.

Ferdinand, a given name popular in his branch of the Hachez family, appears to have grown up in Bremen but as a young adult turned to agriculture. His 1874 obituary says he first farmed near Bremen, likely family lands, and then managed estates for the nobility in Holstein and Mecklenburg, today in Germany. He must have heard of the excellent farm land to be found near the German settlement of New Holstein. Wisconsin had gained statehood in 1848 and actively promoted immigration to settle its farmlands, forests and towns.

His father Johann Ferdinand Dominikus Hachez died on 23 March 1847 in Bremen, Germany, and his will directed that each of his children was to receive a fair share of his estate as their legacy. This inheritance likely helped Ferdinand Hermann Hachez take his great journey to the New World. About this same time, Ferdinand married a woman named Louise. Where they married or who her ancestors are is unknown. Their son Ferdinand Hachez was born 10 April 1848 somewhere in Holstein, Germany, if the census records are right.

In the summer of 1854, the family of three set sail from Bremen on the vessel Robert, arriving 4 Aug 1854 in New York City, as shown on passenger lists found on Ancestry.com. They set off at once for Wisconsin, arriving in New Holstein that same year, as shown in the book Memories of the First Years of the Settlement of New Holstein, by Rudolph Puchner.

The Hachez family took up farming on land about two miles northeast of the village of New Holstein. The elder Hachez was active in local and agricultural affairs> For example:

> he provided meteorological reports for a few months in 1864 and 1865, as shown the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1874.
> when a local group met in September 1867 to incorporate the New Holstein Turnverin or Turners group, Ferdinand Hachez, father and son, became members
> F. Hachez for several years was president of the German Agricultural Society in New Holstein as seen in Report, Issue 4, by the United States Dept. of Agriculture, 1870.
> Ferdinand Hachez, Sr., Claus Oesau, Sr., of New Holstein and others incorporated the Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Wisconsin, with legislative approval granted on 25 Feb 1870.

About this time, several important changes occurred for the Hachez family. On 3 June 1869, son Ferdinand married Eliese Boie, daughter of Nicholas Boie and Cecilia (Tonner) Boie. By the 1870 Census, Louise Hachez was deceased, although the specific date is not known. And then in 1872, the railroad arrived on the east side of the village of New Holstein, opening new commercial opportunities. The Hachez family ceased farming, and the younger Ferdinand moved into the village to operate the Farmers and Mechanics Saloon on the east end of town.

The elder Ferdinand then went into business selling hail insurance. He moved to another German community – New Ulm, Minnesota – by 1872, according to A comprehensive index to A.T. Andreas’ Illustrated historical atlas of Minnesota, 1874. He died there on 10 Aug 1874, and was buried “with a great following to the cemetery. The Turnverin showed last honors ‘in copore,’ since Hachez had been a member in good standing, ” his obituary says.

Ferdinand Hachez, both father and son, experienced the call of commercial enterprise, matching the Hachez family’s merchant tradition in Bremen. Oh, and yes, chocolate. Joseph Emile Hachez, a nephew of Ferdinand Herman Hachez, founded Bremer HACHEZ Chocolade GmbH & Co. in Bremen in 1890. Today it is said to be the second largest manufacturer of chocolate in Germany.

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Published in: on February 4, 2014 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Saluting Ancestors’ Labors

When we go back far enough in our genealogy and family history research, most of us will find ancestors — women and men — who labored as farmers. This Labor Day column explores a number of the diverse occupations followed by my ancestors, some quite surprising when I first learned of them. America is indeed the land of opportunity as seen in the changing careers down the generations.

My ancestor Caleb Church and his wife Hannah Baker lived in New Paltz, Ulster County, New York, where he was a farmer and cooper and she was a wife, mother of 10 and a Quaker preacher. Hannah, who lived from 1775 to 1843, is one of the first women in my family tree with a career that took her outside the home. Caleb also was his own lawyer, according to Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass.

Their son Benjamin F. Church, my ancestor, went west to Chicago and then in 1835 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was a pioneer carpenter and builder. He was the “boss carpenter” for one of the first hotels in the nascent city and his Greek revival family home has been preserved as the Benjamin Church House or Kilbourntown House, a museum of pioneer life in southeast Wisconsin.

My Bruce ancestors, surname orginally Bruss, came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1839 from the Baltic port city of Cammin, Kreis Cammin, Pomerania. The traditional male occupation was ship building and ship caulking, with the young men sailors until they married and settled down. Martin Friedrich Bruss and his sons Augustus, Martin and John all followed the family tradition, the first two in Milwaukee, son Martin near Pensacola, Florida, and John in San Francisco.

By the next generation, the sons of Augustus Bruce had careers in publishing (William George Bruce), tanning company executive (Albert J. Bruce), postal delivery (Augustus I. Bruce), and accounting and later Milwaukee Athletic Club secretary (Martin P. Bruce). The daughter of Martin P. Bruce and his wife Grace Booth Bruce was a teacher while their son was an attorney, both in Milwaukee.

An entrepreneurial tradition is found in my Bradley ancestors, starting with Aaron Bradley who enlisted twice during the Revolutionary War, then married Lorain Abernethy and two sons, two daughters and several different businesses. He was a blacksmith first, then added a tavern and grocery store at his location in Bradleyville or Bantam, Town of Litchfield, Litchfield County, Connecticut. I imagine it was a very busy place with farmers bringing oxen and horses for shoeing or tea kettles needing new bails or handles; travellers on the post road stopping for a meal and a drink; and students from Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy and from the Litchfield law school coming to Mr. Bradley’s for a bit of entertainment. He also had a nail factory, Aron Bradley & Co., as shown by a 1798 ad, and was a selectman and a representative to the Connecticut Assembly.

Aaron’s great-grandson Sherman Abernethy Bradley came to Milwaukee in the late 1850s, appearing in public records first in the 1857-1858 Milwaukee Directory, listed as a carpenter. He later launched the Badger Pump Company of which he was the proprietor, pumps in those days made of wood. Then for a time he was co-owner of the Brockhaus & Bradley planing mill, and continued in the timber and lumber business throughout his life. One of Sherman’s grandsons was a banker and while his two great-grandsons had fine careers, one as an attorney and the other as an executive of the Wisconsin Telephone Company. Two of his great-great-granddaughters have had careers in public relations.

My Hachez ancestors came to New Holstein, Wisconsin, in 1854 from Bremen, Germany, where men of the Hachez family had been merchants for several generations. Even today the Hachez chocolate factory is an important feature of the City of Bremen. Ferdinand Hermann Hachez at first pursued farming as that was the natural occupation in New Holstein, a rural area between Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan. He served as president of the German Agricultural Society there in 1867.

However, in 1870, Ferdinand Hachez Sr. and several other New Holstein men founded the Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Wisconsin and he became an insurance salesman. His son Ferdinand Hachez saw an opportunity when the railroad came to New Holstein in 1872. He left farming and for two decades operated the Farmer’s and Mechanics Saloon at the east end of the village of New Holstein, not far from the railroad station. Later, when grandchildren were born, he and wife Elise Boie Hachez returned to farming.

I found it fascinating to realize that some of my ancestors truly were “builders of Milwaukee,” my hometown. Many more stories of ancestors’ occupations await next year’s Labor Day for the telling. Until then:

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Seeking Ancestors from Germany

Many Americans have ancestors from Germany, but are unsure how to find what area of Germany they came from, and who made up the earlier generations of the family.  Strategies to begin your research will depend on what you know so far.

The first thing you should do is talk to your relatives to see if there are records or memories of where in Germany the ancestors came from. And about when.  And where they settled in America. If relatives don’t know a great deal, you can search ship passenger logs or try to obtain the naturalization papers for the earliest male to arrive.

Or you can use Interlibrary Loan at your local library to get the relevant volumes of the Germans to America series and look up the family. There are 67 volumes covering 1840 to 1897.  Click to see the full list of volumes.

Depending on when your German ancestors arrived, the census records can contain references to specific areas of Germany, rather than just Prussia or Germany. 

For my research, the 1870 Census for Calumet County, Wisconsin, contained an invaluable clue.  The elder Ferdinand Hachez, who settled in New Holstein in 1854, was recorded in the 1860 Census as being from Holstein, as so many of the settlers there were. 

But in 1870, he told the German-speaking census recorder that his actual place of origin was Bremen, a free city in Germany. With help from an expert genealogist in Germany, I have found his family in Bremen, a exciting moment in my research. Click for more about the Hachez family.

Depending on when your German ancestors arrived, these sites are worth searching:
> Castle Garden immigration:  http://www.castlegarden.org/
> Ellis Island immigration: http://www.ellisisland.org/

When you have a pretty good idea of where the family originated, you can join one of the genealogy email discussion groups for that part of Germany — and ask for assistance. Most of the genealogy email discussion lists are in English or in both English and German — and the genealogists who help people in the USA speak and write English very well.  For example, here are all the Rootsweb mailing lists for different areas of Germany

You might have luck with a list member knowing of your family. Or you may find a genealogy researcher on the list who offers to help, for a fee. I have had excellent assistance from Klaus Struve, an expert genealogist in Schleswig-Holstein who also has a splendid Web site about people who emigrated from that far northern area of Germany. He now has 63,000 names of emigrants listed. See his Rootdigger site here for a wealth of resources.

With his help, I now have this branch of my family back to the 1700s. The money spent was worth it, for I received transcripts of each of the German originals, followed by an English translation.

Finally, there are additional resources on German Americans — including books on German American genealogy — to be found on this Web page about German Americans and genealogy.

Best wishes in researching your roots!

This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research articles to help you find your family and ancestors, often for modest or no cost.

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