You look through old black and white photographs, and notice a photograph of your great granduncle Bob in a farm field with a few unknown men. You’ve never met him. You’ve never any other photograph of him. Then you wonder, “Where did I get this photograph, again? How was it identified that this man as great granduncle Bob?”
Piecing together one’s family history is like piecing together a puzzle depicting a landscape. As you fit pieces of blue sky together, you sometimes find you have pieced together a portion of sky from another puzzle, and you have to toss it out. Other times, you’re left uncertain whether the pieces you’ve fit together are part of your puzzle or not.
I’ve encountered a few pieces that may or may not fit my Fritz family history puzzle.
A cousin I’ve been in contact with sent me the following earlier today:
I already knew when George Fritz and Birdie Fowler married, but found it interesting to see another Fritz on there. I’ve already accounted for all the Fritzes in my line from around there (assuming George’s uncle Johann Josef didn’t marry and have children before he was murdered).
So, this W.D. Fritz is an unrelated Fritz, right? I have reason to wonder.
I’ve been reading up on my first cousin, four times removed, Albert Levi Fritz. He was born in 1877, and he died following a bad fall in 1903. Looking over his siblings, I noted they all passed away in the 1950’s and 60’s. And all his nephews and nieces passed away by the 1980’s and 90’s.
That’s kind of depressing to think about, somehow. At the same time, it makes me feel all the more that I must continue my recent project of writing a Fritz history book.
In my Children of Austria posting, I listed out the siblings of my third great grandfather, Benedict Fritz, from a book profiling the residents of Wapello County, Iowa. The biography had incorrect information (such as stating Benedict was from Tyrol rather than Lech, Austria), and mysteries (mentioning Benedict was one of seven children, but only naming five and mentioning a sixth).
Recently, I found an index of probates from the Land Vorarlberg web site, which provides a more accurate look into the family’s names.
My second great grandfather, George W. Fritz, lived a short life (just under 32 years). Initially, I could not find any information on him. Over time, the information piled up, as I found more about him from a variety of sources.
There are still blanks which may never be filled. The best way to recognize those blanks is to put together everything I know about him. This is my timeline for George Fritz.
This Sheriff’s Sale notice was printed in the Tacoma Daily News on Friday, July 5, 1895 (and also on Friday, July 12, 1895).
In the Superior Court of the State of Washington, in and for the county of Pierce.
Daniel H. Chase, plaintiff, against George W. Fritz and Birdie Fritz, his wife, Charles F. W. Bachman and M. J. Bachman, his wife, Steven Ryder and Company, a corporation, Tacoma Grocery Company, a corporation, Albert E. Joab, receiver of Tacoma Grocery Company, a corporation, C. A. Bachman and Herman Dieust, defendants.
Under and by virtue of a writ of special execution issued out of the Superior Coart of the State of Washington, holding terms at Tacoma, in and for Pierce county, and to me directed and delivered, tested on the 20th day June, 1895, for a judgment rendered in said court in the above entitled action on the 19th day of June, 1895, wherein there was found to be due Daniel H. Chase from George W. Fritz and Birdie Fritz, Charles F. W. Bachman and M. J Bachman, the sum of nine hundred thirty four and 20-100 dollars, and sixty and no-100 dollars as an attorneys fee, and the costs of this action taxed at thirty-four and 80-100, dollars, with interest at the rate of seven per cent, per annum from date, together with costs of sale, all in lawful money, which judgment is a judgment of foreclosure of certain mortgage in which judgment the sale is ordered of the following described premises, situate, lying and being in the County of Pierce and State of Washington, towit:
Lots twenty seven (27) and twenty-eight (28) in block nine (9), and lots twenty-five (25) twenty-six (26), twenty-seven (27) and twenty-eight (28) in block twenty-two (22) in Lake Park, Pierce county, Washington, according to the plat thereof of record in the auditor’s office in and for Pierce county, Washington.
Notice is hereby given that on the 22nd day of July, 1895, at 10 o’clock a. m. of said day I will sell the above described premises or so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy said judgment, besides all costs, interest and accruing costs.
The sale will take place at the “G” street front door of the court house at Tacoma, in the county of Pierce and State of Washington, at public auction, for cash in hand, to the highest and best bidder.
Dates at Tacoma, Washington. June 20th. 1895.
Sheriff of Pierce County, Washington
By W. H. Paulhamus, Deputy.
Wm. W. Archer,
Attorney for Plantiff.
June 21-28 July 5-12-19.
Could this expense have spelled the end for the No Treadle Sewing Machine business for George and Birdie? If this is related to their company, why is Faye Fowler’s name not mentioned in this? If it is not related to their company, then what is it about?
As near as I can tell, this was about not being able to pay mortgage, and lead to the Fritzes and the Bachmans having their properties sold to cover their debts.
Back when I was starting out, I found the wrong George W. Fritz and family, and added them to my tree. It wasn’t that I was missing sources—I had censuses of George before and after marrying Birdie, after all—but rather I was missing the right sources.
Where did I go wrong, and how could I have avoided this? I’d best start from the beginning.