For Momma - Memorial Slide Show (Turn Playlist Music off before watching)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pay it forward - Part III

You can learn a great deal of information from census reports and once I found the 1930 census report for Blue Hill, Nebraska I could get some of the ingredients needed for further searching. The report indicated that Gretchens father was Anneus "Andy" Buntjer and her mother was Augusta. They lived on Cass Street in Blue Hill. They had 4 children, Adolar, Bernhardt, Gretchen and an adopted daughter Wyonna Jean who was born in South Dakota. The other ingredient that I could learn from the census was an approximate year that Gretchen was born - 1913. What was interesting was that she was attending school, could read and write and had an occupation listed as "theater". hmmmmm

Knowing all the siblings named also helped in my search because when I couldn't find what I was looking for on Gretchen I could then check for family trees with the other names there. As I was searching I found that Gretchen had given birth to a son in 1936 - bingo! I quickly copied the record and shot it off to Lori - who confirmed that was her father-in-laws name - so now I had found LT. So at this point I suspect, but not confirmed, that possibly she had not yet decided about giving him up for adoption.

I sent an email to my cousin, CB, who grew up in Blue Hill and who is an avid genealogist with a great deal of information on the area. I gave him everything I now knew about the family. And by golly if he didn't come up with the history of the Buntjer family. It included a picture of LT's great Grandfather Harm Buntjer (pictured above). It appears that 5 of Harm and Gertie's children had emigrated prior to their parents and two of their siblings originally to Rosemont, Nebraska. Harm emigrated from Wymeer, Germany in 1903 and settled in Rosemont where he set up shop as a shoemaker. Something else that was fun to know was the the Buntjer brothers spent their summers traveling with a show through Nebraska doing a tight wire walking act - I would love to find out more on that. How fun is that?!

With the additional family members names I was able to track down a family tree that included some of this family so I sent an email to Brian. A day later I heard from Brian and it turns out that he is related to another part of this family, however, Brian would provide me with an obituary of a cousin of Gretchens. Oh my, one thing about obituaries is that they list the survivors - now we had a contact to try directly. I sent off the information to Lori and urged her to call them. The next day I get an email from Lori - "call me" - she had called one of the women listed in the obituary and found out that Gretchen had been the maid of honor at this woman's mothers wedding................ Oh WOW - this is huge is all I could think! And it was because when this woman called back to Lori the next day she told her she found a photograph of Gretchen and some information her mother had written down about Gretchens children......

While we waited to hear more from this newly found cousin of LT's I kept searching. To my surprise I found another child - Sandra - birth mother's maiden name - Gretchen Buntjer. Now this is big - really big - because now we have a married name for Gretchen too!!! But is it the same Gretchen Buntjer? Another email to Lori to give her the information and what do you know but the newly found cousin has told Lori that it looks like Gretchens married name is Bieber - oh my, oh my, oh my - it is the same. But I'm curious - this daughter was born in Kentucky. I thought Gretchen sure moves around a lot - I wonder if her husband is military?

So last night I began searching for her with the confirmed last name of Bieber - but you will have to check back to find out what I found - oh my.........

I've never had so much luck finding genealogy information, usually it takes months and years to fully track down so much in just a few days. At times I feel a little nudge pushing me forward to locate this woman - do you think there are Angels that are helping - or do you think it's just dumb luck? Although there is no relation between our families "The Ties That Bind" go beyond their boundaries.........


  1. Hi! I do not know if you have found more information but I am a defendant of Anneus-> Adolar, Buntjer. I have found old family photos and in them is a picture of Gretchen Buntjer Beiber and two children. A boy and a girl
    We also have photos of Gretchen as a child!

    1. I have not done any further research on this family as I did the research based on a request from a woman who was trying to help find her father-in-laws family. Since I had family in Blue Hill I was able to get the information you see here. I can ask her if she would like to contact you if you would leave your name, etc rather than posting as an unknown person. Thank you for your offer to share it's very kind of you.



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