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Germany, Denmark, and Ireland to
 Wisconsin, Illinois, and Nebraska

+Gertrude Seehawer
Athelstane, Wisconsin
Oakland, Oregon
Rudolph Seehawer
Neuhof, West Prussia
Athelstane, Wisconsin
Chicago, Illinois
Johann Seehawer
Pempersin, West Prussia
Schmilowo, West Prussia

Johann Seehawer
Pempersin, West Prussia
+Ralph Edward Spencer

+Anna Marie Wiedenhoft
Pempersin, West Prussia

+Rose Kottke
Wittun?, West Prussia
Neuhof, West Prussia
Paul Kottke
West Prussia

+Anna Elisabeth Venske
West Prussia

+Mary Ellen Boesen
Chicago, Illinois
Buffalo Co., Nebraska
Athelstane, Wisconsin
Iron Mountain, Michigan
Charles Boesen
Racine, Wisconsin
Chicago, Illinois
Christopher Boesen

+Metta ?

+Alice Gormley
Racine, Wisconsin
Chicago, Illinois
Buffalo Co., Nebraska
Athelstane, Wisconsin

John Gormley
Racine, Wisconsin
Buffalo Co., Nebraska

+Mary Sheridan
Racine, Wisconsin
Buffalo Co., Nebraska
Seehawer homeThis building was the home of Rudolph Seehawer's youth in Neuhof, Zempleburg, West Prussia (now in Bydgoskie province, Poland). The photo was taken in August 2000 by a cousin.
MISSING PIECES (Do you have one of them?)
  • Exactly when, where, and how did Charles Boesen die? He was not run over by horses in Racine in 1878 as Alice said in her 1928 Declaration for Widow's Pension because he was on Mary's Record on Birth in April 1879 as a carpenter, not deceased.
  • Did Charles Boesen's parents come to America? Are there other descendants of this family?
  • What is the correct date of Alice Gormley's birth?
  • What happened to the family or families of Alice's daughters from her marriage to George Tappan? (Knickerbocker, Larson, and Cushy/Kosche)
  • Where are our German cousins now?
  • Where in Ireland did John and Mary Gormley come from?
  • Where are the rest of their descendants?

Charles Boesen-Alice Gormley marriage

Record of Charles Boesen and Alice Gormley (Gormerly) marriage  from St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Racine, Wisconsin, November 4, 1874

Alice Gormley Boesen and children in the 1880 Chicago census


                Gormley Boesen in 1880 census

Right side
                of Boesen census record

We're looking at the second, third, and fourth lines from the bottom. This was the only record in the 1880 census for a "Harvey B*" in Chicago. That, along with the names Alice and Mary and the birth places of everyone, have convinced me that this is Alice Gormley Boesen and her children. It also gave me the clue that they pronounced "Boesen" as "Bason."

Many of us have been searching everywhere for a death record for husband Charles Boesen, who supposedly was run over by a team of horses and killed in 1878. But notice that Alice is listed as "married," not "widowed." If that's the case, where is Charles? I have found a Charles C. Bayson/Boyson in Minneapolis, a 26-year-old painter from Denmark in the 1880 census, boarding with a family. A few years later he married a local girl and had a family there. When he died in 1938, his family said his parents' names were  Christian and Christine. I hope someday we will know if he is the same man as our ancestor. I have not been able to find anyone else close to the name of Charles Boesen about that age born in Denmark in the 1880 census.

Notice, too, that Mary is listed as a year old here, even though the birth certificate she had created in 1941 said she wasn't born until 1881. She said she was born in 1880 when she got married and in the 1900 and 1910 censuses.

Now I've found Mary's original Report of Birth in Chicago for April 29, 1879--and Charles is listed on it as a carpenter, not deceased!

Rudolph Seehawer on ship's

Rudoph Seehawer arrived in New York City Aug. 25, 1892, on the ship Havel.


Pempersin photos, maps, and 1809 census images
Johann Seehawer, Anne Wiedenhoft, and their first child, Michael, are on page 4 of the census.

Northern Wisconsin's Cutover Lands
In the first few decades of the 1900s, both sets of my grandparents and some of my great-grandparents tried to develop farms on land that had been cut over by lumber companies in northern Wisconsin (Marinette County). They hoped to achieve the same kind of success as homesteaders in the Midwest in the previous century, but the odds were against them. Here are some links with more information:

"Richard T. Ely and the development of the Wisconsin cutover" by Robert Gough

"Colonizing the Cutover: Wisconsin's Progressive-Era Experiments in Rural Planning" by Susan O. Haswell and Arnold R. Alanen
Photos of Cutover Lands from the Wisconsin History Society

Gormley son in 1907 Buffalo County, Nebraska, atlas
John and Mary Gormley and four of their children (and Alice's future second husband, George Tappan) were in the Cedar township of Buffalo County, Nebraska, in the 1880 census. Their son George W. Gormley seems to be the only one who stayed there very long. He appears in the 1907 atlas (the entry says he had been in the county since 1881, but he was there in the 1880 census). The map will take a few minutes to download. When it's finished, scroll down to Section 28 to see the Gormley land.

"The Truth"
The religion known informally as "the Truth" (they say it has no formal name) is a significant part of the Seehawer family history. The "workers" (ministers) arrived in Athelstane, Wisconsin, in the late 1920s, and Mary Ellen (Boesen) Seehawer, several of her daughters (including my grandmother), and a daughter-in-law "professed" (joined). Their decisions had an impact on the family that is still seen today. There are many other sites about the religion on line; if you are interested, I urge you to search Google for words such as "workers," "profess," "truth," and "conventions," and you will be surprised at all you find.

The Sybil Ann Seehawer Cervical Cancer Foundation
Sybil was the daughter of Emil William "Skip" Seehawer, the granddaughter of Sheldon Seehawer, and the great-granddaughter of Emil and Rosannah Seehawer. She died at only 31 (in 2008). This site is the realization of her dream of helping other women who were battling cervical cancer the way her friends supported her financially and emotionally.


Ancestors of Johann Seehawer: The information from a German genealogy book, Altansassige deutsche Bauerngeschlechter in den Kreisen Zempleburg und Wirsitz in Westpreussen (Hans Jurgen von Wilckens, Hamburg, 1971), has been entered into an Ancestral File that can be found at the LDS Web site. To explore it, go to and search for Johann Seehawer.


Nov. 16, 2013
Where did all the descendants and photos go?
I have been adding all my information to FamilySearch's Family Tree. You do have register to search for names there, but it's free and the LDS Church won't bother you. I hope you will share your photos there, too.

  • 1965: My grandmother, Gertrude Seehawer SpencerThe foundation of my Seehawer and Spencer research! Names of my Seehawer great-grandparents and second great-grandparents and of my Gormley third great-grandparents and all their children; photos.
  • 1980-present: Debbie, a cousin who is the granddaughter of my grandmother's brother Emil SeehawerInformation on Seehawer and Boesen descendants and ancestors that she got from Seehawer letters her grandparents ended up with and from her own research; copies of Seehawer photos.
  • 1998: A descendant of John Walter GormleyJohn Walter Gormley's descendants.
  • 1999 to present: Bert, a cousin who is a descendant of my great-great-grandfather's brotherThe link with Johann Seehawer and Anna Wiedenhoft and the name of Rose Kottke's mother.
  • 2001: Axel, grandson of my great-grandfather Rudolph Seehawer's brother ReinholdPhotos of my great-great-grandfather Johann Seehawer and other German relatives.
  • 2003: Dick, a helpful stranger who is also researching Seehawer (Seehafer) ancestorsShared records he transcribed from the Vandsburg, West Prussia parish for Pempersin and Sittnow. They filled in a lot of gaps for me.
  • 2006: Marjorie, a cousin-in-law whose husband was a descendant of my great-great-grandfather Johann Seehawer's brother Friedrich Wilhelm SeehawerInformation on the August Gustav Seehawer branch (in America).

If necessary, please add me to your list so I can reply to you.
Updated 11/16/13