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Immigrated to the U.S. 1902-1906

Pictured are the descendants of August Stratman; Friedrick and Wihlamenia
with their children, Minnie, Harry, Elsie and the twins, Albert and Alvina.
Mildred the baby is born the following year

The details of our story have been provided by my great aunt, Mildred Stratman Engel the youngest daughter of Friedrick and Wihlamenia Klein Stratman. My great Aunt Mildred passed away on August 3, 2004.

Her contribution to this site and her dedication to preserving her family's history was immeasurable. She was the last surviving child of this wonderful immigrant family and our last living connection to our German past. Please click here to visit my memorial to her.

Friedrick Stratmann, the father of Harry Stratman and the son of August Stratmann, (2nd "n" has been dropped by children) was born October 17, 1876 in Oespel, Nordrhein-Westfalen,a Germany. We don't know the name of his mother. To determine the mother of Friedrich Stratman, we will need to find either his birth certificate, his fathers will, his mother's death certificate or perhaps his original application for citizenship. All of these documents, except the citizenship application, would have to be obtained from Germany.

The following is a very old picture of Frederick when he was a young man in Germany. The picture on the right is of his mother, Harry's grandmother The picture of his mother was taken at the same time as the group photo displayed below and extracted from it for artistic purposes. We are very grateful to Aunt Mildred for sharing this picture with us. Grandma Stratman, shown in this picture, is the 4th great grandmother of my grandchildren. How rare and wonderful to have this treasure.
Discovering our German heritage is a long and complicated process which is why this research project has been stalled on the generation of Friedrick and Wihlamenia Stratman. Knowing how difficult genealogy research can be in the United States, the daunting task of tracking documents in a foriegn country, written in a foriegn language, has been monumental.

Until I started doing research on the internet, even I did not realize how difficult this will be. The Hessen, Germany GenWeb site describes in detail the complicated history of Germany over the past several hundred years; the changing boundaries not of counties but of countries, the various spoken languages of different German tribes, the difficulty in paying for documents in euros instead of dollars, the fact that they do not accept our postage and that it is not polite to try to communicate in English unless they do so; This site is a must if you are interested in our German heritage. It is the web site for the German state Wihlamenia is from but also has dozens and dozens of pages of "German history", research information and explanations of states, villages and language translation sites.

We are more fortunate than most researchers because of Aunt Mildred's and Aunt Elsie's visit to Germany. They obtained the vitals cards on both Wihlamenia and Friedrich that I have posted here but more importantly, they made contact with several of their cousins.

Before 1871, Germany was not an estblished nation though there are several references to Germany throughout history. Germany consisted of hundreds of German tribes which were referred to by many different names by the surrounding Eroupean countries. For various political reasons in 1871, Germany became a nation with 26 states. Two World Wars which were lost by Germany, caused much of their land to be annexed or returned to other countries in the 1940s.

A map of the German Empire, 5 years before the birth of Friedrick Stratman
This map is from the German World Connect Site

The modern state of Germany is smaller than Montana and has over 88 million residents. It currently has 16 states which are divided into regions (similar to our counties) and each region has hundreds of towns and villages. They are so numerous and so close in proximity to each other, that many many smaller towns and villages have been "swallowed up by larger cities." The longitudes and lattitudes of these towns are almost identical. This is well illustrated by the several cities mentioned in the vital cards for Wihlamenia and Freidrich and yet they all refer to "two locations"; Korbach, Hessen and Dortmond, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Friedrich Wilhelm Stratman

The father of Erich Harry Stratman and the son of August Stratmann, (2nd "n" has been dropped by children) was born October 17, 1876 in Oespel, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. We don't know the name of his mother. To determine the mother of Friedrich Stratman, we will need to find either his birth certificate, his fathers last will and testament, his mother's death certificate or perhaps his original application for citizenship. All of these documents, except the citizenship application, would have to be obtained from Germany.

On the vitals card given to Aunt Mildred while visiting Germany, Friedrich's name is listed as Bergman Friedrich Wilhelm Stratman. Perhaps his first name was actually Bergman which appears to be a name from the Netherlands. This is based on other passengers to Ellis Island. Nordrhein Westfalen, the German state in which Friedrich was born, is adjacent to the Netherlands. The boundaries between these countries have changed regularly. While researching this idea, I look up the translation for Berg which is mountain. I then looked up the translation for Bergman which is "miner". Friedrich was a coal miner and came to America to work in the mines.

I do not know if Bergman is an "occupation description" or a first name with obvious connections to the Netherlands. Or perhaps the English translation of Stratman. There seem to be few Stratmans in any other state in Germany. We have not been able to locate the record of his arrival to Ellis Island.

Dortmond, Germany is a large ancient city. Several smaller cities have been incorporated into the city of Dortmond. Though you can still locate them, they usually have (Dortmund) in parenthesis after the name. Friedrich was born in Oespel. His vitals also state Dorsfeld-Dortmund and that he lived in Disteln. All four of these cities are either in or very close to Dortmund, Germany. Dortmund is located in the state of Nordrhein Westfalen (which may have been just "Westfalen" at time of his birth).

City Latitude Longitude
Dortmund 51.6 7.15 One reference refers to it as located in the Ruhe region on the eastern edge
Dorstfeld 51.516 7.45 Listed as 1.6 miles from Dortmund but always listed as Dorstfeld-Dortmund
Disteln 51.6 7.45 Often listed with a hyphen with the city of Herten. In English it translates to Thistle. Harry listed his birthplace as Thistle
Oespel 51.5 7.38 The birth place of Freidrick Stratman

The following is a short outline on the recent history of Dortmund, Germany during Freidrick Stratnman's generation. This information is from the Dortmund, Germany web site. Please visit there for more information:

1847 Dortmund Railway Station opened
1849 Population now 10,515
1850 Gradually evolving from agricultural to industrial town, coal mining beginning to emerge, first brewery founded
1875 Attains county borough status with 57,742 inhabitants.
1899 Dortmund Harbor and the Dortmund-Ems Canal officially opened in the presence of Kaiser Willhelm II. With its 142,733 inhabitants, Dortmund is the largest city in the Ruhr. End of first World War, Dortmund mourns 8,090 soldiers who fell in action. Except for one aerial attack, the city itself was spared.

The following picture and short description was obtained by Mildred Engle from our German relatives when she visited there.

Frederick Stratmann lived in Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany where his family owned a boarding house. Probably in the Desteln area of the city. Military training in Pre-World War I Germany was compulsory. In order to avoid the Army, he traveled around Germany with a friend.

Wihelminia Klein Stratman

Three hundred miles east of Dortmund, Friedrick met Wilhelmine Klein in Kassel Germany. She was born May 21, 1877 near Korbach, Hessen, Germany on their farm which was called Kappel-Muhle. The vitals for Wihelmine Klein Stratmann were written by our German relatives. "Mutter" is German for mother.

Today Korbach is a wonderful town of approximately 25,000 located 45 km west of Kassel, Germany.

Their family farm (believed to be a wheat farm) was named Kapple-Muhler (means miller). Wilhelmine told her daughter that Grimms, of Grimms Fairy tales was one of her mother's teachers in Germany when she was a child. There is a statue in Kassel of the Grimms Brothers.

Wilhelmine Klein's mother's name was Wilhelmine Telinus, her father was Henrich Klein.  Wilhelmine had two brothers, Karl and Fritz.

Wilhemine Telinus Klein

Aunt Mildred, the youngest daughter of Wilhelmine and Friedrick Stratmann, visited the farm in 1980 and described it as very beautiful with a clear cold water stream along side the home. There was a 10' water wheel and water ran from the nearby mountains.) When you visit the Kassel, Germany web site, you will notice that it is a major cultural center of Germany. In addition to the Brothers Grimm, Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous composer, played the organ in 1732 at St Martins Church in Kassel. It was also the home of the famous German clock maker, Jost Bürgi.

The Friedrick Stratmanns' married in an Evangelical church 3 miles away in Oberwaroldern, a small town next to Elleringhausen, on Christmas Day in 1900.

Name Latitude Longitude
Kassel 50.2 9.5 The city where Friedrich and Wihlamenia met
Korbach 51.28 8.86 Capple-Muehle is a suburb of Korbach
Elleringhausen 51.33 8.55 1.5 miles from Oberwaroldern
Oberwaroldern 51.3 8.966 Listed as a small town near Elleringhausen. The city Friedrick and Wihlamenia were married in
Cappel 51.16 9.333 Wihlamenia was born Cappel-Muehle, this location appears to be the village

The couple moved back to Dortmund with the groom's parents and helped with the boarding house. Wilhelmine hurt her knee when she was a young woman. The doctor drained all the fluid that keeps the knee lubricated. She was never able to bend her knee again.

They had two children who died. Her first born, Walter was born and buried in Germany. Her first two living children, Wihlamenia and Harry were both born in Germany in Disteln which translates to Thistle, the name Harry said was his place of birth.

Friedrick's brother, William (or Willy) traveled to America and wrote back home describing this beautiful country. (Willie apparently did not remain in the United States as he is shown in the above 1910 family picture.) Friedrick decided to immigrate to America where he could work in the coal mines in Girard, Illinois in approximately 1903-1904.

He traveled with a friend known only as "Mr. Shoemaker".

He left his wife and two children who joined him 2 years later. They entered the country through Ellis Island November 1906. Wihlamenia and two of her children, Minnie and Eric (Harry) arrived on the Petersburg sailing from Rotterdam to Ellis Island in New York City. Click here to see the ship manifest of their arrival. All of Wilhelmine's personal belongings were lost. She spoke no English but traveled with Mrs. Shoemaker and friends and joined their husbands in Girard, Illinois.

Ellis Island where Frederick Stratmann entered the United States around 1904. We are still trying to located the ship manifest for Frederick's arrival. Visit the Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty National Park Service Site.

Stratmann names listed on the "Wall of Honor" at Ellis Island

This is a replica of the naturalization certificate of Frederick Stratman. The actual document was unreadable on the net. This was reproduced using a magnifying glass. It is believed to be a good "replica". The Actual application (not just the certificate) could provide good information on our family history.

Friedrich and Wihlamenia were members of the "Revised Church of Latter Day Saints". They left Girrard Illinois and moved to West Frankfort, Illinois in 1919. They had 6 living children; Wihlamenia (Minnie), Erich (Harry), Elsie, Albert, Alvina and Mildred.

Freidrick Stratman died in a coal mining accident in 1933 in West Frankfort, Illinois. (Click here to see Freidrick's death certificate.) 40 years later in 1976, his youngest son, Albert, also died in the coal mines. His eldest son, August Eric (Harry) died of black lung disease from the coal mines in 1987.

Wilhelmine lived several years after the death of her husband but she never remarried. She died in 1966 in Marion, Illinois at the age of 89 years. They are both buried in Benton, Illinois in the Masonic and Goodfellow's Cemetery. I have posted pictures of their grave site.

Several above links are the web sites for the relevant German cities. Just click on the English flag on each site for the English translation page. If there is not a flag, go to this site to translate any German language site to English. Either copy and paste text or enter the web site address.

The Descendant's of August Stratmann

1 August Stratmann 1850 -
.. +unknown
. 2 Friedrick Wilhelm Stratmann 1876 - 1933
..... +Wihlamenia Klein 1877 - 1966
..... 3 Wilhelmina Stratman 1901 - 1969
......... +Clifford Mick - 1969
..... *1st Husband of Wilhelmina Stratman:
......... +Ed Carter
..... 3 Eric (Harry) August Stratman 1903 - 1987
......... +Ethel Marie Price 1905 - 1972
..... 3 Elsie Rosetta Stratman 1911 - 1989
......... +Adolph Fluck
..... *1st Husband of Elsie Rosetta Stratman:
......... +Richard Lambert
..... 3 Albert Stratman 1913 - 1976
......... +Mertie - 1991
..... 3 Alvina Bertha Stratman 1913 - 1995
......... +Roy Miller
..... 3 Mildred Mae Stratman 1915 - 2004
......... +Edgar Leo Engel 1909 - 2001
. 2 Willie Stratmann
..... +Augusta
. 2 Carolyn Stratmann
. 2 Karl Stratmann
..... 3 Rudi Stratmann
. 2 Ellie Stratmann

Stratman Family Photo Album

Death Certificate of Friedrick Stratman

Harry's naturalization papers

the Ship Manifest of the arrival Wihlamenia and children

Stratman Obituaries
Obits for Wihlamenia and her son Erich (Harry) Stratman

1910 Macoupin Co Illinois Census for Stratman

1930 Franklin Co Illinois Census for Stratman
On this census, Wihlamenia lists her birth place and the birth place of her parents as Belgium. Research is necessary to determine if the German state of Hessen was in Belgium in 1876. She lists Germany in 1910 and I have not located the 1920 census for the Stratmans.

the biography of Ethel Price
the wife of Harry Stratman

My Favorite German Links

German Genealogy site, including maps and history

National statistics on modern day Germany
Includes, land size, population breakdown, economic and political data

The Hessen, Germany GenWeb site
Don Watson's Site

Other Stratman Families on the Net
Submitted by Bob and Elaine McDowell

Great Photos of Modern Day Dortmond including Oespel
An essay on Journey to America

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