18 April 2012

Obit for Mrs. Helena Fitzler

Last night I was looking for Nebraska newspaper archives to see where I might be able to get access to news papers for Knox County or the town of Creighton. I came across the Nebraska's Newspapers site. This is a joint venture of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the Nebraska State Historical Society. I clicked on the Browse link and a map of Nebraska appeared with seven cities indicated. One of them was Norfolk, which is near Creighton, so I clicked on it. They had digitized images of issues from 1899 to 1912. A quick check in ancestry.com showed me that my great-great-grandmother Anna Helena (Schmitt) Fitzler died on 20 May 1904. So, I went looking for the issue of the Norfolk Weekly News-Journal for that week. Lo and behold, in the upper left hand corner of page 2 for the issue of 27 May 1904 was the headline "North Nebraska Deaths" and there it was.



    Creighton, Neb. May 21.-- Special
to The News:  Mrs. Helena Fitzler of
Creighton died here yesterday after-
noon at 3 o'clock of old age.  She was
seventy-two years old and was born 
in Germany.  She came to this coun-
try with her parents, locating in Hen-
ry, Ill.  After the death of her hus-
band, Mrs. Fitzler moved to Creighton
and has made this her home for the 
past twelve years.  She owned prop-
erty in Illinois and owned her home 
in Creighton.
    She leaves six daughters and one 
son, John Fitzler, who is unmarried, 
and who is employed in the store of
Loeble & Son, of Creighton.  Maggie
Rublow, Mary Higgons, Lizzie Bloom,
of Knox county;  Mr. and Mrs. Peter
John of Sheldon, Ia., Helen Boisbors
of Mendota, Ill, Kate Schubert of 
Manson, Ia., were all here at the bed-
side of Mrs. Fitzler when the end 
    The funeral will be held Sunday af-
ternoon at 3 o'clock from the Catholic
church, Rev. Father Windols in
    Helena Fitzler was a good old lady
and will be greatly missed by the cit-
izens and people of Creighton.  She
was known universally as "Grandma" 
Fitzler and her kindly nature had
made for her friends in every corner
of Knox county.
 Lots of great information! First, a more accurate date for her husband's death. I had been assuming it was between his appearance in the 1880 US Census and the 1900 US Census when Helena was listed alone in Creighton. This narrows that range down to sometime around 1892, twelve years before Helena's death. Awesome! Second, I now have the married names of all her daughters, even though the spelling on some is horribly butchered (it's Richling, Boisdorf and Huigens). These are my Grandpa Joe's aunts on his mother's side. Wunderbar!

However, I don't believe she came to America with her parents. I have her a on passenger list for the Charles Cooper with her future sister-in-law. I'll check the list for other Schmitt's but I'll be surprised if I find any. On the other hand, they would have been the grandparents for these seven children. If one of the daughters was the informant for this article, they probably knew better than me. On the third hand, on her death certificate, Helena's parents are listed as "Mr. Smith" and "Mrs. Helena Schmitt." If they knew their grandparents, why didn't they know their grandfather's name?

Several questions answered and a new one raised.


  1. Cool find, Pops. But, "She was a good old lady"? I'm seriously disappointed in the journalist's lackluster modifiers. Wasn't there enough amazing literature available in 1904 from which to draw a better phrase?

  2. Kevin, I sent 2 e-mail to your hotmail account. Did you receive them?

    'Cousin' Brenda in Seattle