Tombstone Tuesday :: Elizabeth Schulte Kramer Wonderlin, 1890-1952


This Tombstone Tuesday, I thought I’d post about my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Schulte Kramer.  The road to her maiden name was long and paved with many an assumption but very little facts.  When I started research on my dad’s side of the family, he didn’t even know his grandparent’s names.  His father died in 1976 and he’d never met his grandparents, who lived in Chicago.  He gave me scant little to go on — he knew they were German, they might have changed the spelling of Kramer that we now use, and his grandpa was a butcher at the Chicago Stockyards.

Pretty early on, census searching led me to Bernhard and Elizabeth.  In 1920 they were living in Chicago with their three sons — Walter (born in Germany), Frank, and my grandpa, Bernard.  By 1930, Elizabeth was remarried to a Fred Wonderlin and she had a new son, a step-son, Henry.  For the longest time, I assumed my great-grandpa had died…but that’s another story.

I can’t remember why but it took me a good while to find Elizabeth’s maiden name.  Long ago I’d stumbled across an immigration record for an Elizabeth Wonderlin that had the same birthdate as my Elizabeth…and her maiden name was Schulte.  At the time I originally found it, I couldn’t prove it was my Elizabeth but I kept it in the back of my mind — it HAD to be her.

Late last year I finally found Elizabeth’s death certificate at the wonderful Cook County Genealogy site.  For 15 bucks, I had proof of her maiden name…and her parent’s names!  Her death certificate was an amazing wealth of information considering this is a woman I knew little to nothing about…

Elizabeth died 20 January 1952, just 6 days after leaving the home at 1844 Barry Ave that she’d resided in since she arrived in America, and venturing to the St. Elizabeth Hospital for an operation.  She’d had rectal cancer for two years.  Ultimately, that and heart disease were the cause of her death — she died on the operating table at 61 years old.  My dad would be born in 4 more years.

Elizabeth was born 9 Aug 1890, in Wellingholzhausen Germany, to Frederick Schulte and his wife Katharine.  Unfortunately, Katherine’s maiden name is hard to make out on the record but it looks to be “Raude”.  A search of gedbas shows that Raude, Rande, Baude, and Bande were all surnames present in Germany so locating Katherine has proved tough.  So has locating Frederick…but his name explains the prominence of Frederick as a middle name in my family.

Elizabeth is buried in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois and one of my genealogical dreams is to one day make a trip to her plot.  I was lucky enough to be very close to my great-grandmother on my mother’s side and she was a part of my life until I was 26 years old.  She knew my son for 4 years before she died, so he remembers his great-great-grandmother.  It seems so sad to me that I don’t even have a clue what my great-grandmother on my father’s side even looks like…


3 Responses to “Tombstone Tuesday :: Elizabeth Schulte Kramer Wonderlin, 1890-1952”

  1. I really enjoyed the openness of your opening comments at Geneabloggers!

    Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I’m fairly new, as well, and have found it most stimulating, especially the Daily Themes.

    Keeping telling your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill 😉

  2. A great new resource for finding early books that may help with your Genealogy efforts. The will digitize on demand any book amongst the over 770K books they have available.

  3. Hi Elizabeth

    Saw you in the geneabloggers newsletter and just popped in to say Hi

    Hope to see you on the geneabloggers site. I see you have entered Tombstone Tuesday.

    I am a really new blogger so every tidbit is of great value to me.


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