Need ideas on how to track information about great-grandfather Mathias Enders

0 votes
My great-grandfather is a mystery. I am runnning out of ideas where I should look to find him in any record. My Great-grandmother Mary Othillia Knoebel (1849-1925) was supposedly married to a Mathias Enders/Endres/Andres some time around 1875. At least I assume so since her oldest son and my great-uncle August Enders was born 1 November 1875 supposedly in Iowa. Every US census and Iowa census that I have checked from 1880-1920 list Mary Knoebel Enders residing with her parents or close to her siblings in Mendon Township, Clayton County, Iowa. Mathias is not in any census that I have found. By the 1895 Iowa census lists herself as a widow. I found a marriage record for a Mathias Ender and a Mary Knoebel in Dubuque county Iowa but it is the year 1878 and would have taken place just months before Mary's second child would have been born. I have not ever found a burial for Mathias.

A second cousin inherited German Identification papers issued in Pfullesdorf  to a Mathias Endress in March 1866. In it it states he was born 14 Sept1822. Inside the back cover was written Mary's name with her birth date, and the birth dated for Mary's four children and the death date of her 3son Edir 1880-1884 who died about a year before my grandfather was born.

My Grandfather Mike Theodore Enders was according to census records and his WWI draft record was born in MO. I find it odd that out of the four children he was the only child born out of state and by the 1885 Iowa census my great-grandmother is back residing with her parent in Clayton Co. Iowa.

Any suggestions?
in Genealogy Help by L. Harrington G2G6 (9.9k points)
A couple of thoughts - I've found other families that had a lot of movement between Iowa and Missouri. Perhaps you could read some histories and find that people were migrating at that time period for work, or some situation like that.

My second thought is that often people put on the census that they were widowed, but were actually still married or divorced. Separation and divorce were far less acceptable in the 19th century and it was easier to just say you were widowed than have to explain where your husband was. I would accept a military document over a census record any day because people lie. Have you access to You can find interesting information there.

I have searched for him in the on-line archive of the local newspaper made available through the town's historical museum

and he is not in the newspaper. It's very frustrating because there isn't any "independent" documentation of his existence. No marriage record, no census, no blurb in the newspaper of him or her returning to town for a visit.

1 Answer

+1 vote

In a tree at I found a death record for a Mathis Endres, born 1822 in Germany, said to be married, who died 7 April 1902 in the St. Louis, MO, poor house. The owner of this tree (a descendant of your great-aunt Crescentia) believes that Matthias remained in Missouri when Mary returned to Iowa in 1885. As for Mary claiming in the 1895 census to already be widowed - I have found that, at that time, "widowed" was an euphemism often used by women who were either abandoned or divorced.

by Living Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (83.9k points)

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