Oscar Max Meier

It’s been a year since I last posted – I’m a slacker! I have set aside time now to provide new posts on the family. Today I am writing about my great-great grandfather, Oskar Max Meier.

I remember as a kid always hearing that “Oscar Meyer” weiner song on the television and other kids asking if that was my family. Nope, we don’t have any connection to the hotdog. But I do have an Oskar Meier in my family tree!

Oskar Max Meier was born the 29th of October 1886 in Stollberg, Germany, according to his naturalization papers. He married Marie Elsa Neubert on 3rd of September 1908 in Thalheim, Germany. This information was also provided by his naturalization papers. Our family visited Thalheim, Germany in June 2013. We were unable to gain any additional information on the family, but we did see the church Oskar Max Meier and Marie Elsa Neubert were probably married. We were also able to visit where their last address in Thalheim before immigrating to America. I’ve included a picture below. There is no longer a house on the lot, it was empty. The town was very small and quaint and unlike other parts of Germany we visited, like Frankfurt and Munich, there were not many people who spoke English. That was okay, we wanted to get a feel for the town in which my great-great grandparents had walked.

Max Meier (as he is listed on most documents) arrived in New York, New York on 17th March 1914. He sailed from Bremen, Germany on the Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm (image attached). He was twenty-seven years old and traveling alone. I often wonder what prompted the family to immigrate to America in 1914. Were the signs of World War I already apparent in Germany? The official start to the war was 28th July 1914. Max left Germany four months before war broke out, leaving behind his wife and two children, plus parents and siblings.

However, the Passenger List states that Max was going to his brother, Paul Meier, at 80 Mt Hope Ave in Dover, New Jersey. Some of the Meier family had already immigrated to the United States. Yet, by the 1920 Census, Max is living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and his wife and children have joined him; having arrived in 1917. I have been unable to find exactly when Max made the move from New Jersey to Wisconsin.

In 1917, Max completed a Draft Registration Card for World War I. The U.S. did not enter the war officially until 1918, however, this paperwork shows they were gearing up for entry. Max was not yet a citizen at this time, yet he was still required to complete the paperwork. Interestingly, he requests an exemption to the draft because he has a brother in the German army. There is no evidence that Max ever served in World War I and had to fight against his own family.

In 1920, the family was living on 21st Street in Milwaukee and after only six years in the United States, the census records that Max owns his home. The record also shows that Max has filed a Petition for Naturalization to become a U.S. citizen. He became a citizen the 26th of September 1926.

By the 1930 Census the family has moved to 14th Street in Milwaukee, where the own their home. To put the family in historical context, the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression has begun by the 1930 U.S. Census. So far, it appears that the family is doing fine.

I was able to obtain a copy of Max’s Social Security Application, which he completed in the 27th November 1936. Social Security was enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 14th August 1935, in part, as a response to the devastating financial condition of American families, especially the elderly, in wake of the Great Depression. Max was completing an application at the time Social Security was first instituted. The document shows that the family was living at 3602 N. 14th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For a very small document it provides quite a bit of valuable information. Max’s parents names are included – even his mother’s maiden name. I did not have this information before this document. Also included is the place of employment, however, this is very illegible on Max’s document. Luckily, his son, Richard Meier, and his grandson, Harry Meier, both worked at the same facility, with the same address, which I could match up. Max worked at the Phoenix Hosiery Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This company manufactured hosiery, at this time period for items such as ladies’ pantyhose; during the years of World War II, items such as parachutes, would have been manufactured instead.

What is important to note is that during the years of the Great Depression, the Meier family was not experiencing what many other American families were, especially those that farmed in the Midwest – financial ruin, starvation, unemployment, etc. Max’s family was doing well.

By the 1940 U.S Census, Max and his wife, Elsa are empty nesters. The children are gone from the home but Max is still working at the hosiery factory as a knitter. They still live on N. 14th Street in Milwaukee.

At age 55, Max had to complete another draft registration, this time for World War II. It documents his employer in 1942 as still being the Phoenix Hosiery Company and that he continued to live at North 14th Street in Milwaukee. Max did not fight in this war either.

On the 27th March 1963, Max Meier died of a coronary occlusion at the Mayfair Nursing Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was buried in Wanderers Rest Cemetery in Milwaukee.

I have attached several documents that I have found in my research and photographs that my father has provided of Max and his wife, Elsa. I didn’t know Max but from my research I do know that he lived in a turbulent time in both German and American history. He left his native country months before the outbreak of World War I – the war to end all wars. He came to America and luckily did not get drafted to fight against his native home or family. He found employment and after three years, which must have seemed interminable, he was able to bring his family over to America in the midst of World War I. He found employment with a company that he stayed with for his entire working career and which provided stability in the midst of the Great Depression, when many families were without work. He owned two homes over the years and raised two children with his wife. He became a U.S citizen and was again required to sign up for another war draft against his native land. By the time he died, the U.S. was experiencing a counter culture in the 1960s that would have been drastically different from the life Max had lived. It must have been amazing and terrifying living a life that spanned two continents from 1886 to 1963!

If you are reading this and your family is related to Max Meier, please contact Anna at anna@phillips101.com so we can compare notes and information.

Church in Thalheim

Empty Lot where Meier home was in Thalheim

Hellig Olav ship

1920 Max Meier

1930 Max Meier

1940 Max Meier

Max Meier Draft Registration CardMax Meier Death Certificate

Max Meier Death Certificate

Max & Elsa Meier Gravestones

Max Meier WWII Draft Registration

Max Meier Passenger List p1

Max Meier Passenger List p2

Elsa and Max Meier (2)

Max and Elsa Meier (2)

Max Meier (2)

Max, Elsa, Richard, Erna & Marilyn Meier (2)

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Joseph Cyriac Leon Limoges

This post will discuss the documents located for my maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Cyriac Leon Limoges.

Leon Limoges was born and baptized the 31st January 1891 in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada to Joseph Louis Adelard Limoges and Marie Eleonore Perron. Leon was first enumerated in the 1901 Canadian Census as a nine year old and he was living with his parents and many siblings in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. By the 1911 Canadian Census, Leon is listed as twenty years old and living with his parents and a few other siblings. His birth month and year was recorded as January 1891, the same as his baptismal record. The family is living in St. Louis de France, Quebec at this time.

Three years later, Leon Limoges, married Roseline Martin, daughter of Isidore Martin and Marie Adeline “Julie” Eugenie Robert on 19 October 1914 in St. Louis de France, Quebec.

There are no additional census records for Canada after 1911, so we cannot find additional information on this couple at this time. I do however, have several photographs of Leon Limoges and Roseline Martin, a few I have posted below. The couple had thirteen children, one of whom was my grandfather (previous blog), Joseph Paul Adelard Limoges. Unfortunately, this particular generation is between available records and not a great deal of information can be found for them, including the date of death for Leon Limoges, which may have been around 1969 in Quebec.

Stay tuned for the next Limoges blog, which holds much more information on the ancestors of Leon Limoges. Baptismal Record

1911 Canadian Census

1901 Canadian Census

Marriage Record p 1

Marriage Record p 2

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Richard Oscar Meier

I finally have a few moments to add another family member to the blog. This post will be concentrating on Harry Meier’s father, Richard Oscar Meier who was born 9 December 1908 in Thalheim, Germany and died 31 March 1997 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

My family and I were lucky enough to visit Germany this past summer and were able to visit Thalheim, where my great grandfather was born. I’ve attached a picture of the town and of the empty lot where his family once lived (presumably with a house on it). It was nice to see where he came from and the streets he and his family would have walked. It’s quite likely that the train station we came in at was the same one that he, his mother and his sister (and his father a few years before them) left from on their journey to America. Before our journey to Germany, I had contacted local and regional archives and churches to see if they had any records for my grandfather or his parents. Unfortunately, Thalheim was close to or part of East Germany after World War II, so between the devastation of war and the destruction of documents by the later government, there were no records to be found. We knew that my grandfather’s family was Lutheran and the only church in Thalheim is probably where he had been christened as a baby. There were no Meiers in the church cemetery, but I figured there would not be any, as his parents had come from other nearby towns.

The earliest document I found for Richard Oscar Meier was his entry to the United States through Ellis Island with his mother, Elsa, and his sister, Erna. His father, Oscar Max Meier, had already immigrated to the United States in 1914, years before the rest of the family. Richard, his mother and sister, sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark on 11 January 1917 (Passenger List below). Keep in mind that World War I is occurring at this time and that in a few short months, the United States would enter the war as well. How terrifying was it to sail to the United States, knowing that German U-boats were sinking ships along the European continent? Richard and his other family members sailed on the SS Hellig Olav (picture below) and arrived in New York City on 26 January 1917, a voyage of sixteen days. Richard was seven years old at the time and the Passenger List indicates that he was hospitalized upon his arrival in New York. Richard’s mother, Erna, gives the name of Trevor Neubert as her contact in Germany. Neubert was Elsa’s maiden name and this person may have been a relation. Elsa also indicates that she is being met by her husband, Max Meier, who lives at 775 Hubbart Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has forty-five dollars in her possession at that time. This document also indicates that Richard was released from the hospital a week after his arrival on 2 February 1917. All family members are described as having fair colored hair and blue eyes.

Richard is next enumerated in the 1920 United States Census with his parents, Max and Elsa Meier, and his sister, Erna. The family was living on 21st Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Richard was eleven years old at the time and the record indicates that he is an alien who arrived in the country in 1917. He attended school that year and the record indicates that he can read and write, however, the record does not state whether he can read or write German or English, or both.

Richard’s next document was his Certificate of Marriage (see below) to Erna Bohme on 16 November 1929 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This document confirms the parents of Richard as being Max Meier and Elsa Neubert. It also provides the names of his bride’s parents, Ewald Bohme and Hulda Hahn. Both Richard and his bride were twenty years of age and Richard’s occupation was a knitter. This document also indicates that the bride was not an American citizen as her nationality is stated as “German,” however, Richard’s nationality is “American,” indicating that he had received his citizenship. Richard did indeed receive his citizenship when his father received his on 16 September 1926. At this time, children of adults petitioning for citizenship were automatically granted citizenship when their father was. At times in American history, wives also were granted citizenship the same time as their husbands. This was not the case in the late 1920s and Richard’s mother, Elsa, would have to petition for her own citizenship, which she did in 1936.

Richard was enumerated in the 1930 United States Census (see below) with his wife, Erna, and living with his father, Max, mother, Elsa, and sister, Erna. Richard’s father is recorded as owning the home they lived in and Richard is recorded as renting (presumably from his father, since they are in the same home) for $20 a month. The family lives on 14th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Richard is twenty-one years of age and can read and write. His birth in Germany is recorded and the census states that he spoke German within the home. This document also records that Richard is a naturalized citizen who arrived in the United States in 1917. Last, his occupation is that of a knitter in a hosiery mill and he was recorded as having been at work the day before the census taker visited. This was important because the time period of this census was during the Great Depression, when many Americans were without employment due to the financial collapse in the country. Richard was one of the lucky Americans still employed at this time.

The next document for Richard is his Social Security Application (see below), which he filed 27 November 1936. He would have been working long before this date, remember, his marriage certificate states that he was a knitter. Social Security did not begin for Americans until after the Franklin Roosevelt administration passed the Social Security Act in the 1930s. This program was a means to provide for the elderly once they were no longer able to work. Richard’s father, Max Meier, also submitted an application, making his generation the first to apply for a social security account number. Getting a copy of an ancestor’s Social Security Application is not hard, but it does take months to receive it and it does cost quite a bit for the half sheet of paper you get in return. However, if you are unable to find out the birthdate, parent names, maiden name or country of origin for your ancestor, this record does provide that information. In 1936, Richard was living at 3602A No. 14th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was twenty-seven years old at the time he applied and his birth date is recorded as 19 December 1908 in Germany. His parents are listed as Oskar Max Meier and Marie Elsa Neubert. We know from the 1920 U.S. Census that Richard was a knitter. This document lists his place of employment in 1936 – the Phoenix Hosiery Company at 3261 Buffalo Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Also on the document is the social security number assigned to Richard, so you can match this number to the Social Security Death Index to get a date of death for your ancestor.

Richard is recorded four years later in the 1940 United States Census, living on North 30th Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife, Erna, and his son, Harry. Richard owns his home, which is valued at $5,000.00. He is thirty-one years of age and has been married for eight years. The census also indicates that he was living in the same place in 1935 and was a knitter at a hosiery mill. The document also states that Richard worked fifty weeks in 1939 and received $2,000 annual salary and that he received no additional income from other sources. This question of additional income from other sources would indicate that an ancestor had received employment/aid from organizations such as the Works Progress Administration, which attempted to provide jobs to men who were without employment. Many of these jobs were digging ditches for irrigation, working in national parks, etc.

Richard’s last document is his listing in the Social Security Death Index, which indicates that he died 31 March 1997 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He is listed in the Wisconsin State Death Index as well with the same death date.

I’ve included photographs provided by my dad of Richard Meier, whom he knew, but unfortunately, I did not. If you have any comments or further information on Richard Meier, please reply to this post. I would love to have a copy of his gravestone. I have been unable to locate his gravesite at this time.

1920 Max Meier

1930 Max Meier

1940 Richard Meier

Richard Oscar Meier to Erna Boehme 001

Richard Meier

Richard Meier 2

SS Application - Richard Oskar Meier

Richard & Erna Boehme Meier (2)

Richard Meier (2)





Hellig Olav ship

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Harry Meier

This ancestor feature will look at my paternal side of the family beginning with my grandfather, Harry Meier.  I didn’t know my grandfather, so I’ll be relying on personal observations from other family members to post here.  I’ve gotten to know a little about my grandfather from the research I have done on him.

Harry Meier was born the 17th August 1931 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Richard Oscar Meier and Hedwig Erna Meier.  The date of birth is obviously known by the family but also corroborated through Harry’s military record.

The first record I located for Harry Meier was his recording in the 1940 United States Census.  He was eight years old at the time and living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his parents, Richard and Erna Meier.

About six months after requesting a copy of my grandfather’s military record, I finally received it.  The record was about 18 pages long and included his enlistment documents, qualification documents, service record and awards, including the Purple Heart.  In 1951, Harry Meier enlisted in the United States Air Force.  He had been enrolled in a vocational school as an apprentice electrician at the time.

Before his enrollment in the Air Force, Harry worked at the Phoenix Hosiery Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He was sixteen years old and this was the same place that his father, Richard Meier, worked.

From February to June 1952, Harry attended training at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.  This base is no longer in service and I had an opportunity to visit the area a couple of years ago.  A few barracks buildings are still standing, however, the area has been revitalized with new apartments and stores sprouting up.  The former barracks were being converted to apartments at the time I visited.

I do not know the exact date of Harry’s marriage to my grandmother, Jeneace Hudson, but I hope she will comment below with that date.

In April 1953, Harry began pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in Texas.  Over the years he continued to move up the ranks, becoming a 1st Lieutenant in March 1955.  His foreign service included Okinawa, USS Bennington and two tours during the Vietnam War.  It was during the Vietnam War that he received the Purple Heart for wounds received on the 18th February 1968.  On the 4th May 1970, Harry achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force.  On the 30th June 1973, he retired from the Air Force.

Harry Meier died on 14th October 1983 at Sandstone Hospital in Hinkley, Minnesota.  His death certificate lists the cause of death as cardiopulmonary arrest, however, his sudden death was actually the result of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  He was buried on the 17th October 1982 at Lutheran Memorial Cemetery in Hinkley, Minnesota.   I have included a picture of his gravestone.  I have a copy of his military record and death record but am not uploading them at this time to protect the privacy of living individuals.

1940 US Census Gravestone

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Paul Limoges

After a busy week, I finally have some time to post.  My plan with this site is to begin featuring individual people on the various family trees.  I hope to do this twice a week.  The features will include any documentation I have found on the individual and some historical tidbits about the time period in which they lived.  I will not do features on any living people. 

I thought I would start with my Grandpa Limoges – Joseph Paul Adelard Limoges.

Joseph Paul Adelard Limoges was born and baptized the 21st April 1924 in Trois Rivieres, Cap de la Madeleine, Quebec, Canada.  (Baptism Record).  He died the day after his 62nd birthday, on 22nd April 1982, in Sharon Hospital, Sharon, Connecticut and was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, next to his wife, Marion, in Millerton, Dutchess County, New York.  The baptismal document provides the date of birth, date of baptism, place of baptism, parents and godparents names for Paul Limoges.

I remember my mother coming to tell me that my grandfather had died.  I was coming out of the Millerton Elementary School where I was a kindergartener.  I didn’t really understand death at that age and this is a very vague memory.  I also have little, vague memories of my grandfather that are really just snapshots in my mind of what he looked like.

The more challenging aspect of researching my grandfather and his ancestral line is that they were French Canadian and nearly all their records are in French.  Thank goodness for that high school and undergraduate French I took years ago.  With the help of Google Translate and my memory of French, I have been able to translate quite a bit of the documents I found for the Limoges family.

Paul Limoges’ baptismal record was located on ancestry.com in the Drouin Collection, which is a digitized copy of all of Quebec’s baptismal, marriage and burial records.  the Drouin Collection is amazing!  You can very nearly map out your whole family tree, back to the first French settlers in Quebec, through the records.  All baptismal records name the parents, all marriage records name the parents, most death records name the spouse.  Many of these records also record witnesses to the event and how they are related to the participants.

Paul Limoges married Marion Hattie Secore at St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church in Long Lake, New York on 1st of February 1948.  Their marriage record was included in his immigration record and their marriage license was obtained from the State of New York.  They lived in Tahawus, New York, a mining town, after their marriage where my grandfather worked as an operator at the mill.  The mining operations were extracting titanium dioxide.  Present at the ceremony were my grandfather’s brother, Eugene Limoges, and his wife, Collette.  The marriage license was signed by my grandmother’s father as well, as he had to give permission for the marriage because my grandmother was not yet sixteen.

Paul Limoges was an immigrant to the United States and thus, had a file with Immigration Services.  As will all interactions with the government, it took quite a few months to finally obtain a copy of my grandfather’s immigration record with the USCI.  Where you locate immigration records and the types of documents contained therein, for your ancestors, depends upon the time period in which they came to the United States.  I have ancestors that came in the 1700s, any immigration records are nearly impossible to locate, if there were any.  I also have ancestors that came to the country in the early 1900s, through Ellis Island, and citizenship records were located through the state in which they resided, while their documentation through Ellis Island was found online at the Ellis Island website.

My grandfather came to the United States in the late 1940s, pretty recent in comparison.  There are many more documents contained in an immigration/citizenship file for those people who have come to the country in the 20th century and beyond.   I applied for his file with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, paying a fee for copy services.  The documents returned to me numbered 28 pages and contained a mountain of information.  First, there was my grandfather’s Certificate of Naturalization with his picture on it, followed by his Petition for Naturalization in 1954.  The Petition listed all of his children at that point in time with their place of birth listed but their birthdates redacted.  My mother was the last child of five children listed on the documents.

Accompanying these immigration documents were my grandfather’s baptism record, his marriage record,  various medical examination records and several visas he had obtained before applying for citizenship.  All with tidbits of information regarding my grandfather’s health, vital statistics and travel between Quebec and New York State.

Unfortunately, there are no census records available at this time with my grandfather listed in them.  The Canadian Census is done every ten years but the latest available census is 1911, before my grandfather was born.  His time in the United States was much more recent, in the late 1940s and beyond, but the United States’ latest available census is 1940, before he arrived in the United States.

Besides many family pictures, the remaining documentation I have for my grandfather is a picture of his grave.  I know exactly where he is buried, as it is the same church where I received my First Communion and attended church for most of my childhood.  In the surrounding church yard is the cemetery where Joseph Paul Adelard Limoges lies next to his wife, Marion, sharing the same headstone.

I am attaching a picture of my grandfather’s baptismal record and his gravestone.  His immigration record contains more information on living persons than I am comfortable posting.  If you are interested in information from that file, contact me directly, and I will see what I can provide that still protects the privacy of my family members.

If you have any stories, information or questions you would like to share about Paul Limoges, please post them here.

Marriage License p. 4 Gravestone Marriage License p. 3 Marriage License p.2 Marriage License p.1 Paul Limoges Baptism Record

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Welcome to Uncovered Roots

The main purpose of this site is to keep family members informed as to their family history and allow them to interact in one place.  Other people interested in our family history are welcome to comment as well.  Please keep all comments friendly and feel free to comment on the different family trees.  Comments with additional information for individuals or families are welcome, as well as stories on individuals that others may not know.

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Posted in Limoges Family, Uncategorized | 5 Comments