11 August 2009

Great-Great-Grandparents Hegwer & Ilgner

It seems fairly well "proven" that Carl Benjamin Hegwer and his wife, Maria Rosina Ilgner were part of the "Old Lutheran" migration and came from Kunitz, Liegnitz, Silesia (an area of what was then Prussia, but is now in Poland). Prior to the discovery discussed here, I had seen nothing that took either line back before 1839.

I have talked with several German language/genealogy “experts” locally and they have all agreed that ILGNER/ ILGNAR/JLGNER/JLGNAR/JIGNER spellings would have been basically equivalent, especially in that timeframe. For simplicity, I will use ILGNER here unless quoting directly from a source.

Maria Rosina ILGNER’s surname seemed well established in several sources [i.e., 1,2, 3, 4]. There are some genealogies that give her surname as “Traugott,” but I have found no records to that effect. I suspe
ct they were assuming that a surname had been used as her eldest son’s given name. There are some genealogies that use “Schletz,” but they appear to have merged her name with that of one of her sons-in-law.

ILGNER early immigration to Wisconsin

One of the first things I did when I found the publications of Pommerscher Verein Freistadt was to look and see if there were others who settled in the Freistadt area who had also come from the Liegnitz area. My hope was that perhaps I could have better luck tracing others than I was having with Carl Benjamin and Maria. There were very few others from Silesia, but one stood out since it also was an Ilgner!

Benjamin SCHOEN/SCHöN and his wife (Anna) Rosina JLGNER immigrated to Wisconsin in 1841 from Pfaffendorf, Liegnitz, Silesia. [4, 5, 6] They settled in Grafton, which is near Mequon. The given names of their children are very similar to those of the HEGWER/ILGNER offspring. At that point in my research it appeared reasonable that the two Ilgner women were related but I had no real links.
HEGWER and especially SCHOEN appear often in publications about the church these early immigrants established in Mequon. The Ozaukee County website has information about early church history. See their fine website for a photo of the historical marker.

HEGWER and JLGNER on same passenger list

While doing some census work on some of Carl Be
njamin and Maria's children and grandchildren, one of those ancestry.com (usually bothersome) "did you know" links about a Hegwer on a passenger list popped up. Usually such links take me to some well known Hegwer census info, but since this was a passenger list, I went ahead and looked at it right then. Much to my surprise, it was for a passenger list of the “Flying Dutchman”, arriving in New York on 28 July 1853 from Hamburg [please see Note 10 below], and showed C. JLGNER, 74, going from Prussia to Wisconsin and traveling with T. HEGWER, 19, going from Wisconsin to Wisconsin. Also, A. JLGNER, 27 was traveling with them from Prussia, as was A. ROWE (?spelling?), 30. The three going to Wisconsin are listed as being in husbandry. [7] I was very excited by now having another document that linked Hegwer's with Ilgner's!

The age and initial of “T Hegwer” is consistent with t
hat of Carl Traugott Hegwer, the eldest son of Carl Bejamin Hegwer and Maria Rosina Ilgner. It was common for families in America to send an older son to Europe to accompany later immigrating family members to America. At this point, I was pretty sure that C. Jlgner, whoever he was, was related to Maria and I became even more vigilant for ILGNER surnames. 

ILGNER probate
In the meantime, the rental price of microfilms from the Salt Lake City FHL had jumped and I had become much more selective about what I ordered. Also, I started making more of a point of seeing just what microfilms were already available at the nearby
Regional Family History Center. On a trip to that center, I checked the following film only because it said Ozaukee County and it was already there so I would not have to pay to order it! I was surprised to find that FHL # 1309213 did indeed have an index listing for Carl ILGNER, 77, died 1856, probate packet A84 [footnote 8 below]. The age was consistent with that of the immigrant on the Flying Dutchman who was traveling with T. Hegwer. Ozaukee County is consistent with the HEGWERs at that time. The year and packet number led me to ordering the film which would have that packet. I eagerly waited the month it took for it to come....

FHL# 1320207’s probate packet number A84 is for th
e probate of Carl Frederick ILGNER and it is a genealogical goldmine [footnote 9 below] for HEGWERs! The “packet,” as filmed, is about 93 images of various handwritten documents including a will, witness statements, receipts, and a brief inventory. The images are clear and most are fairly easy to read. There appears to have been a bit of a dispute between the executor (J. Andrew SCHLETZ, the husband of Carl and Maria's daughter Christina Mary) and at least one of
the other legatees, thus explaining the unusual number of witness statements and the detail.


There is no doubt that Carl Frederick Ilgner was the father of both Maria Rosina (Ilgner) Hegwer and Anna Rosina (
Ilgner) Schoen. The probate documents list his grandchildren and most of the spouses at that time. It includes a comment that Traugott was his favorite since Traugott had gone to Germany to bring him to the USA, thus validating my assumptions about the Flying Dutchman passenger list. A timeline for Carl Frederick Ilgner’s movements for the short time he was in Wisconsin can be extracted.

It was very exciting to find such valuable info and to be ab
le to share it! (This blog entry is modified from entries I posted at rootsweb and genealogy.com.) I've been working on finding descendants of Benjamin Schoen and Anna Rosina Ilgner, dreaming that they will have the entire Ilgner pedigree already worked out! I am also trying to track August Ilgner (A. Jlgner of the passenger list), who was listed in Carl Frederick's probate but without a relationship given.


1. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Freistadt. Freistadt and the Lutheran Immigration. Mequon, Wisconsin: Freistadt H
istorical Society, 1998 reprint of 1989 edition, p. 35.

2. Filby, P. William (Ed.), Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (First Ed.), Volume 2, Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. p. 1267 & p. 1488.

3. www.immigrantships.net; “Brig Caroline,” Hamburg to New York, 27 Aug 1839.

4. Smith, Clifford N., Nineteenth-Century Emigration of “Old Lutheran,” from Eastern Germany (Mainly Pomerania and Lower Silesia) to Australia, Canada, and the United States. McNeal, AZ: Westland Publications, 1980, German-American Genealogical Research Monograph No. 7; p.4. (Note: Frey on pp. 22-23 and Schoen on p. 19)

5. Filby, p. 1488.

6. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Freistadt. Freistadt and the Lutheran Immigration. Mequon, Wisconsin: Freistadt Historical Society, 1998 reprint of 1989 edition, p. 50.

7. Ancestry.com, New York Passenger lists database, downloaded February, 2006.
8. Wisconsin, Ozaukee County, Index to Probate Files, ca 1849-1900. FHL # 1309213.

9. Wisconsin, Ozaukee County, Probate Files A50- A72, A77-A86. FHL# 1320207. (Note: packets are not in a strict numerical order; keep going, A84 is near the end.)

10. (this note added 4 Jul 2013) Whoops! Today I was playing around and went back to look at the image of the NY Passenger List at ancestry. Previously, I had relied on the indexing for the transcription of the origin for Traugott, which said "Staadt West Indies."  No! It clearly says Staadt Wisconsin, which makes much more sense and is specifying that he was a resident of Wisconsin.

1 comment:

  1. Marie,
    Hello again. This is my family too, so I am trying to understand all that I am reading.
    My Great grandmother was Mollie Boenitz (Bennett) Barr. She lived here in Chase county, Kansas with her parents before marrying my ggreat grandpa, JF Barr. Her dad was Carl Boenitz and mom was Henrietta Hegwer. There is talk of an uncle Trugott Hegwer in old family histories too.
    I would love to talk more and learn lots more.
    Keep in touch!
    Kathy Barr Schmitz