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Fermazin and Plucker History

Nancy Fermazin's Heritage

Fermazin History (see gedcom for more information)

Photo Gallery

You hold in your hands the history of the Fermazin family.
Treat it with care, for it will become a legacy.
Each page is a reflection of the lives we led,
The lessons we learned and the memories we cherished.
It is a story of everyday existence.
A remembrance of the things that made us laugh
And those that made us cry.
I dedicate these pages to the future with the hope
that the past will never be forgotten.

Put together with love by Nancy Fermazin




This picture was found in the Fermazin family collection and labeled "The Charles Fermazin Family".  The gentleman in the top row, second from the right is Robert "Roy" August Fermazin, age 17, circa 1903 and is the son of Charles Fermazin and Wilhelmina Plucker.  This picture was taken while the family lived in Lakefield, Minnesota.  If you can identify any of the other folks in the picture please contact the web master.





This is a close up of Robert August Fermazin age 17 when the family lived in Lakefield, Minnesota. Circa 1903.



Gross Fermazin Gerth Families in Aurora, Illinois.  Can you identify the people in this picture?  Contact the webmaster



This is a picture of Wilhelmina Plucker Fermazin, wife of Charles Fermazin and their daughter Henrietta "Jean", son Robert "Roy", and her granddaughter Lola (daughter of Roy, circa 1930). Taken at home of Robert "Roy" Fermazin on Sixth Avenue, Aurora, Illinois.






William "Bill" Fermazin son of Wilhelmina Plucker Fermazin and Charles Fermazin in his WWI uniform.







Fermazin, Gross, Gerth Families.  If anyone can identify the folks in the pictures please contact the web master. This picture was part of the Fermazin family collection, however the folks were not identified.  We think the second gentleman to the top right is Charles Fermazin and to his left is Wilhelmina Plucker Fermazin, his wife.  The lady on the far right is Mary or Nettie Plucker.  Please help us identify the family members in this picture.





If you can identify the people in this picture contact the web master. We think these are Fermazin, Gerth, Gross, Plucker family members.

Charles Fermazin and Minnie Fermazin markers at

Riverside, Cemetary in Montgomery, Illinois.


          Origins of Family Names:

           "What's in a name." to quote Shakespeare. The study of family names can give insight into family heritage and history. Surnames were not common in Europe earlier than 1000 A.D. People were identified by what we now call nicknames. These nicknames identified the person to the satisfaction of the people who knew him locally. A man named John with a white beard or hair might be called John le White. John's son would be called just that, "John's son." If his name were David then his son might be called David's son or Davidson.
The Norman's carried the practice of retaining a family name to England at the time of the Norman conquest in 1066. The practice grew slowly; however, and really did not become common practice until required by more extensive government records. Family names most commonly derive from four sources:

First is Patronymics or derivation from the fathers name, such as McJunkin and McClanahan, or O'Carney. The Mac and O' prefixes are used in Scotland and Ireland to mean "son of" and "grandson of" or "descendent of."
The Welch used "ap" so that a name such as "ap Harry" meaning "son of Harry" might eventually become "Parry." Endings such as "er", "y","ey", "ie", or "ley" were diminutives meaning "little" so a son might be called "Bailey" or "Crumley" or "Gregory." Eventually the "son" suffix became simply "s" in some cases such as Stephens

A second major source are names derived from occupation or office. For example, Wheeler for a man who made wheels. A Lentz meant a peasant-soldier or "lance man," "Smith" from a blacksmith.

A third source of family names was from places. A cairn is a "pile of stones" so Carney--"One who lives near a mountain of stone." Briggs is a corruption of Bridge for someone who lived near a bridge. Ledford from a path leading across a stream. Cheyne, Duchesne, MacChesney and eventually Chesney come from the Norman-French for an Oak Grove or a series of French towns with these names. They would have come to mean "strong as an oak" or "stout of heart."

There are many names we cannot fit into any of these categories. Perhaps because we cannot follow the development of the name from its original meaning. Names also changed with locations as people moved. In some countries, particularly in Scandinavia, each farm had a name that the residents adopted so that a man moving from one to another would change his surname to fit the farm where he currently lived.
The lack of education among the common people also led to a wide variety of spellings of names. Officials wrote the name as they heard it on various documents, each one spelling the name as he interpreted it. In tracing family trees we find that most family names stemming from common ancestry are spelled in several different ways.
Many people on immigrating to a new country changed their names to fit new circumstances. For example, many dropped the "Mac" or "O'" before their names on entry into the American colonies. Some simply changed to English words meaning the same as their name did in the old country. White for Blanc or Brown for Brun or Broun, for example. Of course others changed names to leave behind an unsavory past or to avoid being found in their new country. Some simply adopted names they liked. Others adopted English sounding names to avoid ethnic discrimination.  All in all coming to a new land offered a chance for a new beginning in many ways and many immigrants felt a change of name would improve opportunities in their new home.

            Keep in mind early census takers accepted information only on a household from any available sourceóa neighbor, a landlord, a child.  Language barriers and foreign names added other discrepancies in names, ages, and places of birth.  And some households were missed.

            Not much is known about the origins of the name FERMAZIN.  In my search, I have come across spellings of Farmazan, Fermazin, Fermazine, Fermacin, Fermasson, Fermazan, Formazin.  Currently around the world it is spelled as Fermazin.  Many people think it is either German or French yet on the same hand some donít  believe it is either ! A good explanation is that it came from the Alsace region between France and Germany, which has roots in both cultures. France and Germany fought countless wars and one of the spoils was the area between them, Alsace. Therefore, whoever won a given war annexed Alsace and that is why that area has a heavy German/French culture. It is hypothesized that the Fermazin family were French Huguenots and left France for religious reasons and settled in Posen (Prussia).  Eventually this family found its way to present day Bremen, Germany and the United States.  According to the New World Book of Fermazins , the largest concentration in the world today is in Germany and the United States of America.  The total Fermazin households identified were 7 in Germany and 7 in the United States.  There are a few Formazin households in Germany located near the Saarland which may be related to Fermazin, since this area is close to Alsace.  There are also Formazin Families who settled in Germany from Hammermuehle, and Lindebuden which are close to where the Fermazin's were in Schubin,  Prussia.

            In the beginning Ö as far back in my Fermazin family as anyone has gone thus far, was my great great grandfather Frederick and his wife Carolina.   Frederick Fermazin was born circa 1824 in Schubin,  Prussia; died approximately 1899 in Kane County, Aurora, Illinois.   We have not found his official death certificate or his burial place.  This information is gleamed from city directories, immigration records,  and from census records. Frederick was listed as a milk dealer in the Aurora City Directory in 1897.  His wife Carolina is listed in the city directory of 1908.  Frederick married Carolina Hartwig in Schubin, Prussia. Carolina was born circa 1838. 

The oral history of the Fermazin family says that the Fermazin's originally came from Alsace Lorraine and emigrated to Prussia circa 1700's to escape religious persecution.  Some say they were French Huguenots escaping the French Catholics. This will need to be proved.

           Frederick, at age 55 arrived in the USA on December 12, 1879.  His Manifest ID number was 15789.  His daughter Emilie age 22 accompanied him on this crossing.  They embarked at Bremen, sailing on the ship, Ohio with Captain Meyer at the helm.  This information was obtained from Germans to America, Volume 13 by Ira Glazier and P. William Filby.

The "Ohio" was built by Caird & Co, Greenock for Norddeutscher Lloyd        

[North German Lloyd] in 1868. She was a 2,394 gross ton vessel, length 290.2ft x beam 39ft, clipper stem, one funnel, two masts, iron construction, single screw and a speed of 10 knots. There was accommodation for 84-1st and 600-3rd class

passengers. Launched on 18/12/1868, she made her maiden voyage from Bremen to Southampton and Baltimore in March 1869. On 6/9/1871 she commenced her first sailing

 from Bremen to Southampton and New York, making 11 round voyages on this route, her last in 1883. In 1880-1 her engines were compounded at Stettin, and on 3/10/1883 she sailed from Bremen on her last voyage to Baltimore. She was then transferred to the Bremen - South America service, commencing her final voyage on 25/11/1893. In 1894

she was sold to Sir W.G.Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. (shipbuilders) in part exchange for new ships. She then went to the Argentine government who renamed her "Amazzone". In 1897 she was again renamed "Rio Santa Cruz" and in 1903 was hulked. [North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor,

            Carolina age 40 arrived on the ship Wieland, manned by Captain Hebich in 9/10/1878.  Her manifest ID # is 34914.  The Wieland embarked from Hamburg and La Havre.  Caroline had two of the children with her on the voyage.  Reinhard age 9 months and Bertha age 9 years.

The "Wieland" was built in 1874 by A.Stephen & Sons,Glasgow for the Adler Line of Hamburg but didn't sail for them. She was a 3,507 gross ton vessel, length 375.3ft x beam 39.9ft,one funnel, two masts (rigged for sail), iron construction, single screw and a speed of 13 knots. There was accommodation for 90-1st, 100-2nd and 800-3rd class passengers. Launched on 16/6/1874 for Adler, she was bought in 1875 by Hamburg America Line, and on 7/7/1875 sailed on her maiden voyage from Hamburg to Havre and New York. In 1882, she was rebuilt with two funnels and on 29/8/1894 commenced her last voyage from Hamburg to New York. On 6/10/1894 she commenced a single round voyage from Hamburg to South America and was then sold to another German company. She was damaged by fire in Shanghai on 15/10/1895 and was scrapped the following year. [North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.1, p.392] [Posted to The ShipsList by Ted Finch - 14 November 1997] The steamship WIELAND was built by Alexander Stephen& Sons, Glasgow (Ship No. 171), and launched on 16 June 1874 for the Adler (Eagle) Line of Hamburg. 3,504 tons; 114,4 x 12,2 meters/375 x 40 feet (length x breadth); straight bow, 1 funnel, 2 masts; iron construction, screw propulsion, service speed 13 knots; accommodation for 90 passengers in 1st class, 100 in 2nd class, and 800 in steerage; crew of 110. The WIELAND never ran for the Adler Line. The Adler Line, which had been founded in 1873 in direct competition with the Hamburg American Line (HAPAG), was purchased by the latter company for 11,400,000 Reichsmarks on 7 May 1875, and on 25 June 1875, the WIELAND was transferred to HAPAG control. 7 July 1875, maiden voyage, Hamburg-Havre-New York 1882, rebuilt; higher superstructure, 2 funnels. 29 August 1894, last voyage, Hamburg-New York. 6 October 1894, 1 roundtrip voyage, Naples-New York. 1895, sold to Ph. A. Lieder, Hamburg and Shanghai; transport in the Chinese-Japanese War. 15 October 1895, seriously damaged by fire at Shanghai. 3 January 1896, sent to Singapore for scrapping.

 Frederick and Carolina entered the U.S. at New York City prior to 1890, they probably came through Castle Garden rather than the commonly known Ellis Island.  From August 1,1855 to April 18, 1890, Castle Garden served as the entry point for New York City and was America's first immigrant receiving station.  The Ellis Island immigrant receiving station did not open until January 1, 1892, almost two years after Castle Garden was closed.

Carolina and Frederick settled in Aurora, Illinois. In the 1887-1890 city directory Frederick is listed as a milk dealer living at W S Ohio 2S Sixth Ave. As far as I can determine the children of Frederick Fermazin are:  Augusta, Charles, Emilie, Reinhard, and Bertha.   Later in the City directory circa 1880-1884 they lived at 34 Second Street. (see gedcom)