Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hockemeier -- quite a name!

We all are given two sets of biological grandparents and four sets of great-grandparents.  For Lizzie Reiter Metzner (1874 - 1958) we have already looked at one set, the Schoppmans, who immigrated in the mid-1840s and settled in the Fort Wayne area.  Another set of Lizzie’s great-grandparents are circled in yellow on the right. They are Fridrich Wilhelm (William) Hockemeier (1782-1854) and his wife, Sophie Wilhelmine (Mena) Busching (1792-?).

The Hockemeiers settled in the Fort Wayne area about the same time as the Schoppman, and they came from the same area in northwest Germany. But the Hockemeiers have been one of the hardest families to research.  That’s mostly because there are dozens of variations on their last name – Hockemeyer, Hachmyer, Hookemeyer, Hokemyer, etc. etc. etc.  And to top it off, many of the boys born in the family were called William, Fred, Henry, or Herman.  They are all over the place in Allen County which makes for a giant puzzle that’s been hard to piece together.  There are 15 individual family trees on for the Hockemeiers.  Each is slightly different, and not always for the better. I chalk it up to the fact that all these researchers have been having an equally difficult time with this family.

The Hockemeiers’ German records have been easier to find than their American counterparts -- that’s because the Lutheran Church in Germany has kept phenomenal records since the 1700s. An untold number have been microfilmed by the Mormans.

Our William was born in the small village of Buchholz in Minden-Westfalen, Prussia on 29 October 1782.  Mena was born in Ovenstadt on 6 Mar 1792.  Their marriage is recorded in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Buchholz (left) on 27 Aug 1819, as are the baptisms of their six children.  One of those children, Caroline Sophie Louise Hockemeier, would eventually marry Johann Dietrich Friedrich Schoppman, bringing together the two family names. 

LEFT: Evangelical Lutheran Church at Buchholz, built in the 13th century.

It is unknown when William and Mena came to the U.S. but they were here by 1850 living in Marion Township, Allen County, Indiana, as recorded in the 1850 U.S. Census.  By then, William is along in years.  At 70 he is listed with no occupation. His son Frederick, age 24, is working as a laborer and is likely the breadwinner in the family.

ABOVE: 1850 Census of Indiana, Allen County, Marion Township lists the Hacamyer [sic] family:

William, age 70, male, no occupation, real estate value $300, born Germany, cannot read or write (probably English)
Mena, age 60, female, born Germany
Frederick, age 24, male, laborer, born Germany
Rosetta, age 19, female, born Germany
Henry, age 13, male, born Germany, attended school in previous year

The facts outlined here seem to be universally agreed upon by Hockemeier researchers, including that William died on 23 October 1854. No one has found a record of death or burial for Mena, though one researcher claims she died in 1897, which would have made her 105 -- it’s possible but probably not likely.  We may never know what happened to Mena following the death of William.

William’s and Mena’s time in the U.S. may not have been long but four of their children thrived here, had big families, and many of their descendants continue to live in Allen County.  In the next blog we’ll look at more of the Hockemeiers, especially their connection with the Schoppmans.  

RIGHT: Cemetery Marker, St. John Lutheran Cemetery Bingen, in Decatur, Indiana.  Text is written in German and translates as follows:

Here rests with God, Wilhelm Hockemeier, born in Buchholz, county of Minden, [state] of Prussia, died on 23 Oct. 1854, age 71 years [the remainder is illegible] 

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