The family of Maria Rolfs (Habben) Martens has been one of the most difficult families to track down for my Habben family history project. Maria was the oldest daughter of Rolf Habben. She was born in 1857 in Wiesens, Germany. The only information I was able to obtain was her marriage date, death date and the names of her children. After she emigrated with her family in 1868 they settled in Illinois. She and her husband, John Martens moved to Welcome, Minnesota and she died there in 1905. One of my cousins recalls her family talking about her and she tells me that the only thing she can remember was that they said she was so large that when she died a special casket had to be built to bury her. I'm not so sure that it was because she was overweight by rather very tall. In a photograph of the family taken in 1874 she towers over the other family members.
I was able to track down two descendants of Maria's through ancestry.com. Unfortunately I knew more about her than they did. The one woman did send me an obituary for her daughter Hilka (Martens) Hüls. I also found a woman in California who was a descendant of her daughter Christena- but again she knew nothing about Maria, in fact she barely knew her name. I did receive some promises of photographs of some of Maria's descendants, but have not received them. I'm guessing after six months I won't. Of course I pulled off all the information I could find on census reports and a few other documents I located - but I had hoped to find something about her life. I just have to believe that there is someone out there that knows something about the family of Maria - maybe one day I'll find them...........
The fact that no one seems to know anything about Maria just confirms to me how important it is to record, document and share the family history.
May "The Ties That Bind" reunite Maria's family with her Habben family.
(please do not use restored photographs without permission)