In our last episode, the Heerdinks remained a mystery. Likely removed from the Earth by aliens and taken to a distant planet for further testing.
I tried some of the ideas proposed in the comments of my last post (found here) to no avail. Now I’m starting to wonder if there were ever any Heerdinks in Indiana at all.
So a few choice words and a couple of drinks later, I thought I would tackle the problem from a different angle – Anthony Heerdink’s wife, Mary Diefenbach. Rumor has it that she was born in Indiana around 1840, so I should be able to find her family in the census, right?
Welllllll … not as easy as it seems. While Diefenbach is not a very common name, it turns out there are at least three dozen ways to spell it, particularly if spelling isn’t really that important.
I started on FamilySearch with a broad search for Diefenbach. I then continued to narrow it down by location (Indiana), year, etc.
After about 4 hours, I had reconstructed the family of George Diefenbach and Louisianna Buttz (m. 4 Mar 1843). The 1880 census tried to be a real bugger, but I was on a mission and it didn’t stand a chance. It finally took a page-by-page search of Perry Township, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, but I found them … as Dusenbach (my personal favorite of all the spellings). And yes, I was also keeping my eyes peeled for variations on “Heerdink” as well. Didn’t find any of those though.
This couple had 12 children (according to the 1900 census), but by 1900 only 8 were still living. Mary, Abraham, Israel, Caroline, Catherine, George, Louisa, Matilda, Francis, William, and 2 other children I have not yet identified (possibly died at or near birth and are not listed on any census).
I even managed to work back one more generation, to George Diefenbach’s father, George … I think. It’s the 1840 census with all those tick marks instead of names, and they really butchered the name (written Diefenbough, indexed Deapenbouch!!) so I can’t be sure, but the ages fit (1 male age 20-30, 1 male age 50-60, and 1 female age 50-60), and they are in the same area. Clearly, more work needs to be done here as well.
The oldest child, Mary, is potentially my 3rd great grandmother. Unfortunately, I am still trying to definitively link her to a family. This family is the most likely (only Diefenbachs in Indiana with a child named Mary, and the dates are consistent), but she is not listed with the family in 1870. To me, that says perhaps she and Anthony were married before 1870. Hopefully there are some marriage records laying around somewhere.
(zzzzzz … work work work work …)
Ask, and you shall receive! I got home from work and did a search for Mary Diefenbach on Ancestry. I then narrowed my search to the Indiana Marriage Collection (1800-1941). There they were … Mary Deifenbach and Anthony Herding … married August 13, 1863. (Brief pause for happy dance)
Obviously, I will be requesting this record from the County Clerk’s office in the next couple of days.
Now I just have to find these two lovebirds in 1870 and beyond …
(and please – if you see any flaws in my reasoning, feel free to speak up!)Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
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