Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Madness - Elizabeth Obendorfer Domelle

Okay, so I've got one for Monday Madness! It's my great-grandmother on my mom's side. She's a mystery (which may be what she wanted!). :-)

Her Name: Elizabeth Obendorfer

Birthdate: 27 September(?) 1882

Birthplace: supposedly Vienna, Austria

Death Date: 14 April 1958

Death Place: Dyer, Indiana

Marriage: abt. 1912 to William Domelle, in Chicago, Illinois

And that's pretty much what I have! And I'm not even exaggerating that much, unfortunately.


Here is information my grandfather gave me about his mother:

--only child
--maid for people on first trip to America, came through Ellis Island then returned to Europe for some reason, became cook for group of priests second time around through Ellis Island
--went to Chicago
--from Austria/Hungary region
--met husband in Chicago

My grandfather also often reminisces about her wonderful cooking and baking skills. He remembers her in the process of making strudel pastry where she would have the pastry so thin it would be hanging off the kitchen table.

He also says she was a quiet person, not prone to talking much about herself. He remembers his father called her "Lissie" or "Lissy". She also stated that her father was a military man, my grandfather says General; and also that at some point she was so poor over in Europe that she had to resort to eating grass. He states also that she came alone through Ellis Island both times.

So what facts do I have?

I have her in the 1920 and 1930 federal censuses. census'. censi. Someone please tell me the plural of census!

She's in Thayer Village, Lincoln Township, Newton County, Indiana on 09 April 1930, living with her husband and children, next-door to her brother- and sister-in-law.

She states her age is 48 (therefore, born about 1882). She also states that she was 30 yrs old at her first marriage (therefore, married about 1912). She states she and her parents were all born in Austria, and she speaks german. She also states she immigrated in 1912 and still has Alien status.

As for the 1920 census, she was still in the same area, Lincoln Township, Newton County, Indiana. It was the 29th of June, 1920 and she was then living with her husband and children as well.
She states her age as 38, which is consistent, but this time she states that her year of immigration was 1906. She again states her parent's birthplace as being Austria, but this time hers is Hungary. However, this time, the census taker felt the need to note "Magyar of" above each notation, so she was a "Magyar of Hungary", her parents were "Magyar of Austria" (her husband was noted that way too). The definition of "Magyar" is basically "Hungarian", so it's a little repetitive to note that someone was a Hungarian of Hungary, but there was a lot of war and changing borders going on in that region in the early part of the 20th century.

As for her maiden name on certificates, on her children's birth certificates it's listed variously as:
--Lizzie Obendorf
--Lizzie Odendorffer
--Elizabeth Oundoffer
--Lizzie Obendorfer

On her husband's death certificate, it's listed as Elizabeth Obendorfer.

She never got a social security number.

I only recently found her exact death date in: "Jasper County, Indiana Funeral Home Records of Rensselaer & Surrounding Area Nov. 1917 to 15 May 1990", 1994, pg 129. The info is:

Domelle, Elizabeth
- b Nov 29 1877 Vienna Austria

- d Apr 14 1958 Dyer IN

- sp Wm

So I don't have a death certificate for her yet. I noticed her birth year was different, which would have made her older than her husband. Did she just give out the same year as his birth year rather than let people know she was older?

As for the Ellis Island records? I haven't been able to narrow her down yet. There's too many variations of Obendorf/er and Lizzie/Lissie/Lissy/Elizabeth/Erzebet/Lizabet.

And so, that's it!

Elizabeth Obendorfer
--born between 1877-1882, maybe Sept. 27 or Nov. 29
--came over through Ellis Island, 1906 and 1912
--born in Austria, parents born in Austria, but of Hungarian heritage
--died April 14, 1958

I have no idea who her parents were, who any siblings were, why she came to America, did she leave behind any children in Europe, after all, she was 30 when she married my great-grandfather and he had an ex-wife and children in Europe, she it's a possiblity.

This is the only picture I have, it's a scan of a photo of a photo, so is not very good.

She's my mysterious Great-Grandmother!

No comments:

Post a Comment