The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

Hebrews 11:1 (The Message Translation)

Friday, February 28, 2014

52 Ancestors #9 Christian W. Bohnke

Christian W.  Bohnke was the eldest of 7 children born to Charles W. and Emma L. Franz Bohnke born on 5 April 1901 in Root Township Decatur IN. Uncle Chris is one of the few members from my dads family that I can remember. Since most of my dads immediate family had died, Chris was a mentor to my dad helping him get a good start at farming.

Chris married Louise M. Bleeke on 25 Dec 1931, they were married for almost 55 years until his death. She was born on 7 Nov 1904 the daughter of William Bleeke and Louise Holle. Chris and Louise had 8 children: 1 son died at infancy and another son Allen died in 2003. 4 daughters and 2 sons are still living.

Chris  graduated from Reppert Auctioneering School in 1923 and was an auctioneer for many years. He was also a farmer in Union Township living there from 1948 to 1969 and were members of Immanuel Lutheran Church. In 1970 Chris and Louise downsized and moved into a home on Elm Decatur In.

Chris passed away on 8 Nov 1986 in the Decatur Community Care Center in Decatur. He is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery. Surviving were his wife, children and grandchildren.

Friday, February 21, 2014

52 Ancestors #8 Louise K. Bienz Bohnke

Louise K. Bienz was my Grandmother. She was born on 23 Nov 1907 in Union Township Indiana to Adam Bienz and Matilda Bleeke. I never know her and neither did my dad. She died on 7 Oct 1935 just 10 days after my dad was born. I found her obituary in our local newspaper the Decatur Democrat it states death was due to embolism. This is also what my dad always told me about his mother.

Louise is buried at St. Peter Lutheran Church Cemetery on 100 East in Adams County Indiana. She is buried alone, her husband Herman Bohnke was not buried with Louise when he died in 1952, he is also buried alone in the same cemetery. 

Herman and Louise were married on 7 Jun 1930 they had 2 children Willmott Doyle born 18 Mar 1933 in Adams County IN and my dad Lehnford Lee. Willmott was killed in a jeep accident on 4 Mar 1954 at Ft. Hood Texas. Willmott had enlisted in the U.S Army on 13 Apr 1953.  He is also buried at St. Peter's Church Cemetery.

Friday, February 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #7 Wilhelm F. Bohnke

Wilhelm Bohnke was my Great Great Grandfather on my father's side. He was born on 6 Mar 1831 in Germany to Heinrich Boehnke and Dorthea Flothmeyer.
 In May of 1854 he arrived in Baltimore with his brother Friedrich, after gaining passage on the ship Blucher from Bremen Germany. On 14 May 1857 Wilhelm married Engel Anna Kukelhan she was also from Germany, but she did not travel with Wilhelm to America. Engel was born on 2 Feb 1837 to Friedrich Kukelhan and Catherine Schuermann. After they married they made their home in Cincinnati Ohio for several years before moving and staying in Adams County, Decatur, Indiana until their deaths. They are buried in St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery in Adams County, IN.


Together they had 9 children:
Engel D.  b. 23 Jul d. 30 Jul 1858 Cincinnati, Ohio
William  b.16 Oct 1859 Cincinnati, Ohio d. 29 Jan 1920 Allen County, IN
married Emma Melcher
Henry b. 20 Sep 1861 Cincinnati, Ohio d. 14 Jul 1943 Adams County, IN
Louise b. 12 Aug 1865 Adams County, IN d. 16 Mar 1936 Allen County, IN
married Herman Hockemeyer
Frederick b. 28 Feb 1867 Adams County, IN d. 9 Sep 1947 Allen County, IN
married Wilhelmina Franke
Charles W (my great grandfather) b. 15 Dec 1868 Adams County, IN d. 16 Aug 1947 Adams County, IN
married Emma Franz
Sophia Bohnke b. 17 Sep 1870 Adams County, IN d. 5 Jan 1943
married Charles Luttmann
August b. 28 Nov 1872 Adams County, IN d.19 May 1947
married Christine Holle
Henriette b. 5 Jan 1875 Adams County, IN d. 19 Aug 1965 Wells County, IN
married William Gerke.
Wilhelm and his family were early members of St. Peter Lutheran Church in rural Adams County. He died on 29 May 1915 his wife Engel died 15 Jun 1910.

Friday, February 7, 2014

52 Ancestors Week #6 Adam J. Bienz

Headstone Adam J Bienz
Christina Matilda Bleeke

Adam J. Bienz was born in Willshire Ohio, 26 Oct 1859, son of Jacob and Elizabeth Pflueger Bienz.
His first wife Pauline Germann died leaving 1 daughter Minnie.
Adam married his second wife Christina Reinking 14 May 1899. She died 9 Apr 1893 leaving 1 daughter Paula.
 On 14 May 1900 he married Matilda Bleeke daughter of Christian and Mary Rupp Bleeke. They had 7 children all born in Adams County Decatur IN.
Erwin born 21 Dec 1900 died Mar 1979
Amelia born 30 Jan 1903 died 7 Jan 1999
married Martin Bulmahn
Martin born 13 Apr 1905 died Mar 1955
married Leona Bucher
Louise born 23 Nov 1907 died 7 Oct 1935
married Herman Bohnke (my grandparents)
Emil born 12 May 1910 died Sep 1987
Ida born 1 Sep 1912 died 23 Jan 1994
married Carl Badenhop
Norma born 29 Jan 1915 died 12 Mar 1997
married Oscar Schuller

I don't know if Erwin or Emil were ever married, I have not found a wedding record for either one.
Adam grew up in Van Wert County and had a common school education. He worked for several years with his father on the family farm. At the age of 18 he learned the carpentry trade and worked as a contractor for 10 years. By 1892 he had moved to Decatur IN saving enough money to buy a 110 acre farm in Union Township. He also served as the trustee for Union Township starting January 1915 serving for 4 years.
Census records show Adam and Matilda stayed in Adams County until his death on 16 Jan 1949. He is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery along side his wife Matilda who died 5 years earlier on 22 Apr 1944.

Friday, January 31, 2014

52 Ancestors week#5 Charles W. Bohnke

Charles W. Bohnke Family

My Great Grandfather Charles Bohnke was born 15 Dec 1868 in Adams County IN. The son of Wilhelm and Engel Kukelhan Bohnke he was the 6th of 9 children.
At the age of 31, on 10 Jun 1900 he married Emma L. Franz in Adams County IN. She was the daughter of Christian and Mary Ann Bucher Franz.
They had 7 children:

Christian W.-- b 5 Apr 1901 d 8 Nov 1986
m 25 Dec 1931 Louise M. Bleeke

Ester-- b 13 Jun 1902 d 3 Sep 1902

Herman W.-- b 24 Nov 1903 d 2 Jan 1952
m 7 Jun 1930 Louise Bienz
m 14 Dec 1939 Sophie  Krueckeberg

Lucille-- b 19 Jan 1906 d 14 Apr 1984
m 29 Oct 1930 August Macke

Ida-- b 7 May 1908 d 14 Feb 1981
m 23 Apr 1930 Rudolph  Fuelling
m 25 Aug 1974 Albert Scherer

Mildred-- b 29 Jul 1910 d 15 Mar 2005
m 12 Jul 1934 Morris Bleeke

Alvin-- 13 Aug 1913 d 28 Sep 1955
He never married
Charles worked on the family farm in Adams County his whole life. He attended St. Peter's Lutheran Church. He died at home on 16 Aug 1947.

Friday, January 24, 2014

52 Ancestors Week#4 Herman W. Bohnke

Herman W. Bohnke
Louise K. Bienz
wedding photo
7 Jun 1930

My Grandfather Herman W. Bohnke was born on 24 Nov 1903 in Root Township, Adams County, Decatur IN. He was the 3rd child of Charles W. and Emma L. Franz Bohnke. Herman worked on the family farm his whole life.
 He married Louise K. Bienz daughter of Adam J. and Matilda Bleeke Bienz at St. Peter's  Lutheran Church by Rev. M J Frosch in Root Township, Adams County,  Decatur IN. Prior to their marriage Louise was an employee of the General Electric plant in Decatur IN.
 After their marriage they moved to the Bohnke farm in Root Township. Together they had 2 sons, Willmott Doyle Bohnke was born on 18 Mar 1933 and Lehnford Lee Bohnke was born on 27 Sep 1935. Sadly Louise died of an embolism on 7 Oct 1935. Burial was at St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery, Rev. L J Dornseif.
On 14 Dec 1939 Herman married Sophie L. Krueckeberg daughter of Martin and Laura Bleeke Krueckeberg. They had no children.
On 2 Jan 1952 Herman was stricken with a heart attack while driving on US 27 northwest of Decatur. He was found by police and taken to Adams County Memorial Hospital. Burial was at St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery by Rev. F W Droegemueller.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals for 2013
Here I sit again contemplating the year ahead. One thing I have learned about myself, the more goals I set the more I seem to procrastinate getting projects checked off. So I have been thinking about a new plan of action. Instead of coming up with several goals again this year I have decided on only 3 main goals.
1. Genealogy Database Clean-up- I used my Family Tree Maker program to print a birthday calendar of the ancestors in my database. Each day for that ancestor I will:
*Search for missing citations
*Be sure that all facts have sources
*Investigate what I have and search for new information 
*Research online databases and see what new resources are available
*Compare FTM with my Ancestry Tree online and see where the little green leaves lead me. I like to investigate the sources and see if they fit.
If all goes well by this time next year I will have gone thru almost everyone in my genealogy database. I am also hoping this will help me to improve my research skills and add sources to my research toolbox.
2. Keep a family history journal for my family- I have often wondered what everyday life was like for the ancestors I spend so much time researching. So for my kids, future grand kids and future great grand kids I want to journal our personal history to preserve it for the future genealogist in our family. I went to and  and printed a list of interview questions that I will use as writing prompts.
To give myself an added treat, I splurged a little and bought a pretty red and yellow flowered Vera Bradley hardcover journal just to make it more special.
3. Get all those photos organized- Since word has gotten thru the family that I have become the self appointed genealogist I have had several family members give me their old photos. I need to get these scanned, copied, labeled and returned to the rightful owner. Many of these I have had for almost 3 years, so I really have to get this goal finished.
I have a smaller project that will tie goals 2 and 3 together. I want to take pictures of the few family antiques I have and write what I know about each one. I plan to include the photos and stories into our family history journal, and if possible I want to somehow attach the story to the antique piece.